Amateur bloggers spice up Singapore's food scene

With a big digital camera slung around his neck, Leslie Tay could easily have been mistaken for a professional photographer as he took shots of sizzling grilled pork chops on a table.

But he's a medical doctor, and Tay was simply checking out another restaurant for his food blog http://ieatishootipost.sg/, one of Singapore's most popular personal websites for foodies.

Tay said his blog, launched in 2006 with the aim of listing the best places to find local delights, averages around 10,000 hits daily.

"Basically the blog is all about the best food in Singapore," Tay, a slim 41-year-old father of two, told AFP over lunch at a restaurant in the Joo Chiat district famous for its local cafes and food stalls.

Singapore is fast gaining a reputation for luxury western restaurants, thanks to growing affluence and a large expatriate community, not to mention 10 million tourists visiting the island each year.

Two European restaurants in Singapore have made it to the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list and high-end dining is getting a further boost from two new casino resorts that opened this year.

But most Singaporeans still swear by the city-state's unique blend of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Indonesian cuisine, and many of them rely on amateur critics like Tay to tell them where they can find the best dishes.

Known as "hawker" food after peddlers who went around Singapore when it was still a poor city of immigrants, it includes chicken rice, chilli crab, prawn noodles and satay - bite-size, charcoal-barbecued meat in bamboo skewers.

Bloggers like Tay have emerged as gurus on what's good and bad, what's in and out, as food-obsessed Singaporeans follow their illustrated reviews and head for the deepest corners of the island to find a particular stall.

The bloggers compete for public attention alongside more established commercial websites like http://www.makansutra.com and the mainstream media.

With just five million people and, by one count, more than 10,000 eateries and food stalls, Singapore is spoilt for choice.

A good review from a blogger like Tay can result in a sudden surge in customers. The doctor says he has had food sellers paying surprise visits to his medical clinic just to thank him personally for good reviews.

"Consumers are drawn to reviews by bloggers because they feel that they can trust other consumers more than brands and their advertisements," said Daphne Kasriel, a consumer affairs editor with market research firm Euromonitor International.

"The whole point about the Internet is that it empowers people and they feel they have a voice," said Kasriel.

Aun Koh, another Singaporean blogger who attracts monthly hits of over three million to his blog http://www.chubbyhubby.net/blog/, concurs.

"They weren't doing it because some editor was paying them a dollar a word. It was a pure grassroots movement that was just so marvellous to discover," said Koh.

"And it's just grown and grown tremendously. The beauty of the Internet is that it has helped this disparate community come together and allowed each person to find his or her own voice, by starting his or her own blog."

Banker Calvin Ng is among the latest to join the blogging fraternity after having been inspired by what he read on chubbyhubby.net and ieatishootipost.sg.

"I think it's kind of cool to blog about what you have eaten and somewhere out there, there is someone reading it," said Ng, who recently created http://chilliornochilli.blogspot.com.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London