Food bloggers transform Hong Kong food writing
by John Cheng
Exquisitely presented dishes are placed on the table in a fine dining restaurant. The food smells as inviting as it looks, yet none of the diners make the tiniest attempt to enjoy the feast before them. They are too occupied with taking pictures. For several minutes, the only sound is of the snapping of camera shutters.
This is a typical scene from the world of food blogging, where cameras and smartphones are whipped out before the food is touched. After these dinner gatherings, reviews will be uploaded the very next day. Every day, food bloggers repeat the cycle of visiting different restaurants, taking photos and writing online food reviews.
It has become a way of life for Supersupergirl, currently the top ranking food reviewer on Hong Kong’s leading online food review platform OpenRice. The food enthusiast who works in creative publishing often scouts the city for new restaurants to try out. At other times, she attends food tastings with fellow OpenRice reviewers. After a hectic day of eating, Supersupergirl goes home and blogs about her foodie adventures.
“Eating good food is partly luck, at the right place, at the right time and moment the food is served,” she says. “Try anything on the menu. If it’s new, try it out as you might be surprised; if there is something you don’t like, try it out as well.”
Supersupergirl has been a foodie since childhood. She started writing on OpenRice in 2006, inspired by a bad food experience. “I went to this restaurant in Discovery Bay and I drank this smoothie. What happened was they blended the plastic lid into the smoothie,” she recalls. “I was really angry so I went home and wrote a bad review.”
Many food bloggers start off as food enthusiasts like Supersupergirl. Through blogs and online food review websites they gradually gain fame and popularity. More and more people have joined the ranks of food bloggers in recent years, changing the way food reviews are written and received in the foodie heaven of Hong Kong.
It can take years of experience in the media, the food industry or both, celebrity or impeccable connections to become a food critic in the traditional media. In contrast, anyone can become a food blogger.
“The so-called online food critics are no different to ordinary people. You can become one if you open an OpenRice account. No job interviews required, you just need your taste buds,” says Lung Siu-yeah, another popular local food blogger.