Questions asked by readers, fans and haters, now answered. Send your questions to me via the contact button and I will answer them as best as I can.
Do you get paid by restaurants to write these reviews?!
Unfortunately, the answer is no. This blog is fuelled by passion and interest on a hobby level. The best I get from an invited tasting is simply a free meal, though some meals and larger and more expensive than others. In return, I take photos as best as I can, conceptualize and write an article about the experience. I also blast the photos from the review onto my Instagram to provide some free marketing. I think it’s more than a fair trade.
What makes you think you are qualified to write these reviews?!
I’m not. But then again, who is? When was the last time you met someone who received a phD in eating various cuisine around the world?
Essentially, criticising food is all about comparing food item A at Restaurant A and Restaurant B. If restaurant B is better, that becomes the new benchmark, the cycle goes on. Of course, it’s not always that simple, because sometimes Food item A at restaurant B is overall better, but lacks a special flavour that Restaurant A does better.
Anyways, my point is, years and frequency of eating at different places would probably determine how well a person know his food.
At the end of the day, very few people have travelled to every place on earth and tasted everything to be able to compare ‘authenticity’, so a good part of food reviews are simply personal opinions. That said, personal opinions are very important, because if you have opened an Italian restaurant in Shanghai, you are not primarily targeting Italians looking for authentic italian food, you are looking at the majority of people in Shanghai, who may or may not have had authentic Italian food, who may or may not like authentic Italian food.
So, back to the original question. I don’t consider myself a ‘qualified food critic’. However, that is the point of me writing this blog, to continue eating, documenting, comparing, to become a better taster and writer.
I also happen have had a successful award winning Singaporean restaurant in Shanghai, of which I designed and created completely, from concept to recipes. Sadly I closed it in 2017 after a 2.5 year run, because I had decided to leave Shanghai for a new beginning elsewhere.
What determines which restaurants get reviewed?
Restaurants sometimes contact me and invite me for a tasting. I will usually oblige and do a write up.
Other times, I visit popular restaurants anonymously and also record down the experience.
Other, other times, are simply random places I’ve visited that I felt were amazing and should be shared.
Do you only give good reviews?
There’s been some debate about ‘moral ethics’ in food reviewing. Some people only write about places that are good, and simple do not write about bad places, but instead drop the bad restaurant a note privately for them to improve.
I understand the notion behind this, but don’t agree completely. In nearly all my reviews, good or bad, I have always, always stated good points, and also areas of improvement, pointing out weaknesses. For example, in my seemingly glorified review of Capo’s Tomahawk Steak as best steak in Shanghai, I pointed out that their steak knives were as dull as a librarian. (sorry, librarians!)
I feel that as a form of reporting, we should point out good and bad. So even if a restaurant is bad, it should be made known, so people can avoid wasting their money and calories. So no, I do not only give good reviews. Even my best reviews have pointed out bad points in a restaurant.
Let me give an extreme example, if you ate at a restaurant and received food poisoning. Would you tell everyone that you had food poisoning from that restaurant, or would you keep quiet and let your friends visit to see if they get it too?
Send your questions to me via the contact button above, and I will answer the most popular ones here!