We had the good fortune of connecting with Tracy Goh and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tracy, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I wouldn’t call it success, however I believe that having a true connection with my brand and the food that I create speaks for itself. I know that others can sense the connection and are therefore drawn to the brand.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am the chef-owner of Damansara, a Malaysian food business and future restaurant in San Francisco. Nine years ago, personal issues prompted me to leave my digital marketing profession to pursue what I had been dreaming about for years – to recreate the flavors closest to my heart and sharing with others. It began as an underground supper club operation, which then grew into frequent pop ups at rented venues around the city. I have a healthy growing community of long-term supporters and customers. Being a small business owner in the food service industry has its challenges, of course. As a sole chef-owner, I have limited funds and other resources, so it’s down to working with what I have efficiently and creatively.
I learned that my core strength is knowing how to effectively interact and connect with my target audience. Being myself and putting my real face forward has been working great for me and my brand.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m an immersive experience kind of host. I’d ask them to bring comfortable walking shoes, an extra layer and take them on walking tours and urban hikes. Starting from North Beach, my first neighborhood in San Francisco, I’d take them to my first dive bar, Specs’. Then the obligatory landmarks like Lombard St., Fisherman’s Wharf etc. We can eat at the mom and pop places in Chinatown where they have “hidden” menus on the walls, written in bold Chinese calligraphy. If it’s market day, I’d take them on a historic street car ride to eat through the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. I also like to take visitors to the Mission District to see the murals in Balmy Alley, then stop by Tacos El Grillo’s truck for lunch. If it’s their first time in SF, we will explore the Avenues for the obligatory Golden Gate Park, Park Presidio, beaches and the Golden Gate Bridge, but it’s really the diversity of food options around the Avenues that’s my jam: falafels from Sunrise Deli; saké and yakitori at Izakaya Sozai; shrimp katsu sando from Bread Belly; cochinita pibil and panuchos washed down with margarita at Taqueria Los Mayas just to name a few.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am very fortunate and grateful to have met some wonderful people when I first came to the United States in 2012. Somehow almost every new friend and acquaintance I came across in my first 3 years in San Francisco were more than welcoming and supportive. They even saw my calling in food entrepreneurship before I could wrap my head around switching my background in digital marketing for an apron. There are so many to name, and they’re in different parts of the world. I can only summarize by saying the real ones are the earliest 2011-2013 Instagram food enthusiasts who encouraged me to pursue my dream and even came to eat at my 1BR apartment supper club! I must say that after I decided to fully commit to one day opening a brick & mortar, La Cocina (lacocinasf.org) came along and opened up even more doors for growth. On top acting as an incubator and providing mentorship for my infant business, the organization became a safety net throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They go above and beyond to provide WoC owned small food businesses like mine with income opportunities, financial support, and take care of our mental health too. It’s been such a relief to know that I am being backed by this amazing organization.

Website: damansarasf.com

Instagram: @eatwithtracy ; @damansarasf

Image Credits
Aron Pruiett, Limitless Media

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.