The Story of Mak Tok

The origins

It all started on a cold, snowy night in Sheffield in 2014 when I was sitting in my student accommodation thinking of what meal could warm me up. Having already had fish and chips twice this week, I was missing the flavours of my home country, Malaysia. As I ventured out into the cold weather in search of ingredients, I noticed the top-notch, authentic sambal chilli paste that adds so much flavour and is an integral part of many Malaysian dishes was missing. And so, the quest began.

Perfecting the paste

The best and most authentic sambal chilli paste was the one I had growing up; my family's secret recipe. I pinched my mum's recipe and had several attempts at following every step. However, something was not quite right, and through a process of elimination, I decided the anchovies were letting the taste down. Now around this time, I was in touch with Mak Tok, a lovely, kind older lady who I'd met when I'd taught her grandson music. When she heard me lamenting the lack of quality anchovies for my chilli paste, she sent me some superb quality ones right to my door here in Sheffield. That premium quality anchovies took my chilli paste to another level and were the key to making the chilli paste what it is today.

will sara davies dragons den

Mak Tok is born.

With the pastes now tasting like something I had back home, I tested them out on friends. It was an instant hit with everyone, and I loved seeing their expressions trying Malaysian flavours for the first time.

I later spent months trying to prove the concept of selling the sambal chilli pastes in jars before deciding to take a leap of faith and secure an investment from BBC Dragons' Den. After an emotional roller coaster and singing the Mak Tok song, I got myself a dragon in Sara Davies. It's been great to have Sara on board along with her team. To have her design team, get on tv shows and have her fantastic business knowledge has been crucial to getting the business to where it is today.

The future...

Mak Tok is now on a mission to become the UK's number one destination for Malaysian cuisine food products. We focus on food as a force for good, inspiring people to create bold, authentic flavours from their own homes.

As our small team continues on our journey, we look to stick to our beliefs and create new innovative Malaysian flavours (whilst stealing more of my family's recipes!). Built on the foundations of authenticity, we want to provide you with all-natural products that taste better and make meal times simple and deliciously healthy. Follow us on our journey as we look to get Mak Tok to the hearts of everyone worldwide!

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