Thoughts about Food Blogging

Food Blogging : 3 Years Ago and Now

6th January 2011. Written by Xin Li.
There is this thing that is bothering me all this while, I think I would like to share this with you without any ill intentions. It is just a personal opinion of mine. While I have only started blogging at the beginning of last year, I had been following quite a few food blogs since 2007 during my junior college days.

Pulau Tekong, Singapore

One thing food blogs definitely did for me is that it got me more excited about food and aware that of the various differences between this restaurant and that and which is one more worth it for the money you decide to part with.

Rasapura, Marina Bay Sands

It has been more than 3 years since, and in this short 3 years there have been a lot of changes in the food blogging community. It has become much livelier and colorful than before.

Some of the blogs I used to follow seemed to deviate but food blogs are after all personal, I find that alright as long as is not unethical.

Marina Bay

One trend I have picked out is the focus on food. I realized I am seeing less and less hawker food and most food posts nowadays are multicourse meals, fine dining…simply put, many took place in a restaurant, hotel or “atas” establishments. If there is one blog that always have hawker food, it will be ieatishootipost.

L'Angelus, Singapore

It gives me the impression like there is some sort of unannounced competition going on. As if to see who gets to dine in most sought after dining venue in Singapore first or trying to beat each other in terms of price, extravagance, stars etc.

DB Bistro Moderne, Singapore

I remember when I decide to skip most of the local food shows on TV because a whole lot of them only screamed “It is good! It is awesome!” I remember a scene in a local food program when the host accidentally commented that it wasn’t that great before he changed his tone and started praising it.

Advert-like Food Programs

Moving away from TV programs, I started surfing food blogs or food reviews websites, hoping to find some good honest opinions. However, not all of them seemed truthful to me, there was one that really resembles “classified ads”, I am astonished that it actually advertised itself on Facebook (not to mention the many “thank you so and so for this invited session”).

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These are just some of my observations, no harm intended. Like I mentioned before, food blogs, like food reviews, it is an opinion, not a fact. It is like art or jokes, some like it, some don’t like it.

Since I am in architecture, I shall use a building as an example. The Reflections at Keppel Bay, it is designed by renowned architect, Daniel Libeskind. Some love the form of the building praising it has “carefree and organic”, others crudely described it as “bananas sticking out of the ground” and there are people who adore it simply because it’s a Daniel Libeskind.

Reflections at Keppel Bay, Singapore

Regardless, I think it just makes this place a more colorful one to be in, as it gives me different kinds of perspectives to appreciate an object. This is the very same for food. Unexpected treatment of an ingredient or that traditional take on food, both offered a different kind of perspective towards it. Hence, I look forward to more discoveries and explorations in world of food.

Fruit Paradise - Banana and Mango


6 comments:

  1. I think it depends. Sometimes the more we are into food (and the scene/industry), the more we feel it is okay to spend a bit more because we really are curious to try some of the dishes on offer. Oftentimes though, these are from rather high-priced establishments. And if the foodies/bloggers are willing and can afford to pay, I think it is up to them.

    No doubt it can be a turn-off if there seems to be a tacit competition going on, the sort of name-dropping I've-been-to-so-and-so and I've-spent-this-and-this. It joins the league of freebie thank-you-so-and-so and threatens to throw the whole blogging scene into sheer mockery.

    Sometimes no matter how "pure" or how "true" one wants to be, he/she will still be associated with this group called food bloggers. And in this group you have the white sheep and the black sheep. I know I've used to be more agitated about this but after a while I realised it's no use - there are still so many who see/understand so little and are taken in by the victimised whims of the pathetic. So what to do? Just keep sticking to what you believe in and what you've always set out to do. I can see yours has always been an interest in food - the same way I can see in people like Daniel, Lorraine and Charlene - and not about all the fame, money and yes, page hits (for the money). It's all for a shared love for food; blog or camera or none.

    The end of CKT may be near, and I myself have not visited hawker centres for a long while (in part because of my ocation and attire). Maybe in the weekends, we could try out some of these. There's a really good grill stall I've been wanting to try, but the east is a bit far. For me, I'm not ashamed to say I love my duck confits and pastas and will pay money for good ones; but at the same time I still go for my sabar menanti nasi padang, ed's fish soups and zam zam murtabaks fixes. It depends on what you're in it for that matters.


    Stay true to yourself, and it will shine :)

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  2. Is there a "like" button for this? I concur with your every single word & sketches on this, xinli.

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  3. I quite agree with your opinions here.

    I think I would count myself as one dishonest blogger as my reviews tend to favour a restaurant/eatery if there is a nice ambience, despite sometimes the average food I had, let alone not so good service :p

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  4. I guessed most who has blogged will experience what you have posted (in a way or another). Food blogs have always been defined to be personal, subjective and controversial but to be on a web space, it will definitely be shaped by your readers and the foodie clique you have encountered.

    I learnt alot through my 3 years of blogging and have definitely experienced "competition" between food blogs, so much so of getting sarcastic remarks or hostile treatment when seen in the same dining place.

    Being bias with my reviews, I guessed that is inevitable as it is not just the food that makes an eatery good. As what Amasou Umasou has highlighted, ambience and service play another big role. Moreover, it also depends greatly on who you are dining with. Hence, I thought readers should also take food blogs with a pinch of salt. Ultimately, we can't guarantee that the food is cooked by the same people and that being served by the same crew. To make it even more ambiguous, liking is subjective and there is no general rule to follow.

    At the end of the day, we are blogging for ourselves and maybe rewards (for some). Depending on which side of the coin you are add, it is done either as a hobby or part of a work routine. =)

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  5. To Harris:
    Thank you for the encouragement and faith you have in our blog.

    If there is one hawker food to look for, I would definitely be a good Hainanese Chicken Rice. I also love rojak and prawn mee. Perhaps its nostalgia that made sort of misses them in the blogosphere and compared to years back, it is as if good food are only found in high end restaurants. However, I would be lying if I don’t admit that I also don’t mind paying more for a duck confit at BSC again.

    I think the reason why people enjoyed fine dining or visiting high priced establishment (something I finally experienced after visiting Sakurada) is the experience. It is indescribable. There something intriguing about it whether its food or visual impact or ambience that makes people willing to fork out money for it. Simply put, I think it is like paying for an overseas trip to see another world. It’s the bragging and competition part that is unpleasant.

    And you are spot-on on the description about the sort of tacit competition I am referring to. That is the attitude that is quite disturbing to me. Nonetheless, unpleasant it may seem to me, I thought there is nothing wrong about it as they have every right to do it as long as there is no harm involved or whatsoever as the blog is after all, personal.

    Oh well, there is not much we could do about others but we are pretty much in control of our own. Glad to meet people like you, Fen, BellaV, Daniel, Lorraine, Charlene, Jer lin =), I could feel a genuine enthusiasm towards food!

    To ice:
    Haha thanks! I have been keeping these thoughts in my mind for quite a while. I always wanted to express them (in words and sketches) one day.

    To Amasou Umasou:
    Heh you are honest to make that comment. Like what Fen mentioned, blogs are personal. I don’t quite like some style that some bloggers had adopted but it is personal.

    Like you I am “dishonest” in the sense that some places I also tend to favor some places for its ambience (sometimes, the ambience and service made the food taste better too). It is a human thing. In fact, to put it in another way, you have instead, been truthful to your own feeling towards a place. Hence, I don’t see you as dishonest =).

    I enjoy your blog for your exploration to the cafes you have posted. I would want to visit the Plain one day.

    To Fen:
    I agree with what you have written here, therefore I didn’t think Amasou Umasou has been “dishonest”, in fact he has been honest with his feeling, I think dishonesty comes in if the blogger gets paid for it and sugarcoat the whole review against conscience and not doing the readers and restaurant an honest feedback. Food is subjective and the dining experience is more than just food, very much like appreciating art or architecture, there is an environment to consider. There are simply too many variable factors and we considered them differently.

    It is unfortunate that some bloggers have 走火入魔 to engage in a silly and pointless “competition”. I thought we started out to share the food hoping that it will bring people together.

    Thank you very much with your comment I will keep it in mind ;)

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  6. I agree with what you've said, now a lot of food blogs are turning from food blogging to food publicising. They've turned themselves into mini-PR firms and majority of their posts tend to be invited reviews, which creates reviews which are not objective.

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