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.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
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

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas