Tracy Goh was born and raised in Damansara Utama, near Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Food was a medium of love and played a central role in family bonding. Her working mother insisted on cooking wonderful family dinners after 10-hour work days. The Goh family also enjoyed food-motivated road trips where Tracy’s father would drive for hours to taste the freshest seafood in a fishing village or a popular noodle soup from a hawker cart. Growing up among Malaysia’s multicultural population, Tracy’s early exposure to a broad variety of cuisines had cultivated her sensitive palate and an appreciation for complex flavors from a young age. Her cooking skills however, were limited to electric rice cooker meals and cup noodles until she left home to study in Australia in her early 20’s.
While studying abroad, Tracy learned to cook simple meals from online recipes and many international phone calls with her mother. She eventually graduated from dorm room cooking to more advanced recipes. Her culinary exploits reached a new level when an opportunity to live and work in San Francisco presented in 2012. In an attempt to meet like-minded food enthusiasts in a new country, Tracy posted photos of her traditional cooking on Instagram under the @EatWithTracy handle and invited curious but eager strangers to experience Malaysian flavors in her one-bedroom apartment. The small dinner parties quickly turned into frequent pop-ups with 20 to 60 guests at rented venues. Tracy realized that she could be filling a gap in the market for Southeast Asian cuisines. She began to focus full-time on promoting Malaysian cuisine in the Bay Area. By the end of 2018, Tracy had served several thousand guests in more than 500 pop ups held around the city. Support from the local community became the impetus for opening Damansara, her first brick and mortar Malaysian restaurant in San Francisco.