Jacky Liew 'Shi Gongzi', the Well-Known and First Food Critic in Malaysia

If we say that Jacky Liew is the headliner in Malaysia Food World, he should be worth the title. His food review career since the 80s' and also the feelings of readers given to his article might be the reason to position him as the First Food Critic in Malaysia. There were also Malaysia's university papers that took him as a research object and affirmed those facts.

Liew was born in Malaysia. In the first half of his life, as he had suffered Dyslexia, he never thought that one day he would realize his dream of being a writer. Now, he has even turned food review into a principal job and brought it into the commercial system and is creating the precedent of a gastronomic career in Malaysia. He is also a jury in International Culinary Competition.

Yet his columns are not the primary account that built his fame, but almost a thousand photos of him hung in various Malaysia famous restaurants as the best food guidance for the public. When he reached a place and the communities knew he was coming, the local restaurants would hang the banners to welcome him. Hence, the public also calls him a God of Cookery.

Initially, he was a journalist, then he became the National Business Coordinator in Nanyang Siang Pau in 2006, one of the mainstream newspapers in Malaysia. His other identity is a lecturer in the College of Agriculture and advisor for college journal since 2002. At that time, it was not easy to write columns in newspapers and magazines. So he contributed ideas about food reviews to get the attention of the editor-in-chief.

Jacky Liew

He first wrote a column in the magazine Food World with his pen name Liao Sheng-ran in 1996. Then he went on to write his column in Feminine magazine under the name "Shi Gongzi (Food Master)". And at that time, being a columnist was a kind of status. Since then, Liew became the most well-known food columnist in Malaysia.

Jacky Liew's Achievements in Writing

In his writing career, he got many firsts. He was the first Chinese writer to be summoned by the Tenth Grand Ruler of Malaysia (the King) and wrote royal lifestyle for His Majesty. In 2008, he was awarded the title of Excellence in Social Service (Pingat Khidmat Masyarakat Cermelang, P.M.C).

Later, under the presence of the Eleventh Grand Ruler, he received the honour of World Gourmet Master. At the same time, he was the first to propose the phrase of Southeast Asian (Nanyang) cuisine and the concept of Malaysian cuisines in his book Truly Nyonya Malacca in 2010. It was influenced and derived from the Malay Archipelago, and establishes Malaysian cuisines consisted of three social classes, that is the royal and noble family, national heritage food and five main ethnic groups. He won the Excellent Paper Award at the China International Symposium in 2011.

His idea was cited by International Conference journals and his literary work became the collection in United States, Singapore and Malaysia's national libraries and universities libraries. He was also the first famous writer who invited 119 political figures since 2008 to have dined with them and comments on politics. Because his column gives readers the feeling of caring about society, all politicians are willing to approach him, and he got the affirmation as Malaysian gourmet by the politicians that he invited and the politicians autograph for him as Malaysia food critic Jacky Liew.

Liew Challenged Himself With His Illness

In addition to learning disabilities, he also suffered from hyperactivity disorder. From his biography, he did not regard Dyslexia as suffering but he understands the beauty of Dyslexia. He even felt that as long as he could find a way to overcome it and discover its advantages, he would definitely become a useful person someday.

From then on, he was assisted by his wife Christin Lee to write articles which perform in the way of Christin listen and record down while Jacky speak out what he wants to write. This made his column excellent and unique.

In 2013, Liew started his career in food and advertisement shooting, re-applied the combination of internet technology and big data, by abandoning the old food critic method, and redefines the new food evaluation standard with data extraction.