Check this out: (From left) Lee, Dr Khor, and Law showing the group's brochure to a yong tau foo seller at a coffee shop in Komtar.
THEY verily live to eat, all 60,800 of them and counting.
A Facebook group of Penang food lovers formed since July 2012 has swelled into a gastronomical social movement, complete with standardised food review postings and ground rules for issuing critiques on eateries.
The PG Food Hunter A-Team has even managed to obtain discounts from 10% to 20% for group members at 35 restaurants and pastry houses in Penang, said founder Dr Joeson Khor.
With so many members, the group has reviewed a vast number of Penang food haunts, and Dr Khor said they were planning to build a mobile app and website with the reviews.
Their database of good food in Penang is attracting the interest of the state government.
“We received RM13,000 from assemblymen Chow Kon Yeow, Ng Wei Aik and Teh Lai Heng
to compile the reviews for the benefit of anyone looking for good food in Penang,” Dr Khor said.
Tourism Development Committee chairman Danny Law praised the non-profit group in a press conference, saying the state government would play an active role in developing the database.
“This is a fine example of the people leading the way. I checked out the group’s postings and am impressed with the constructive criticisms that members give when they review food outlets,” he said.
Dr Khor and his team of 15 administrators plus an honorary panel of six legal advisors run a tight ship.
“When members post pictures of the food they sample, they must also rate the quality in terms of service, portion size, price, hygiene and environment on a scale of one to five,” said Dr Khor.
Group members are not allowed to call for boycotts of any food service provider and are discouraged from making harsh remarks.
He said three warnings would be given to those who post rude reviews or comments and the committee of administrators would permanently remove members who persist in being abusive.
The administrators would also take note of restaurant owners who lodge complaints against unfair reviews, and remove such postings if the complaints are justified.
Dr Khor, who is a jeweller and advisor of Penang Goldsmith Association, said that since he formed the group, he had struck out 15 members who went overboard.
Local businessman Datuk Lee Wing Kong joined the group in January and organised a gathering where 500 of the group members came together for a dinner in March. In May, 250 of them, including a family from Japan, gathered for a durian feast in Gertak Sanggul.
“About 80% of our members are Penangites, 15% are from other states and 5% are foreigners from all over the world,” Dr Khor said.