Having read some very good food reviews in Singapore recently, we as a relatively new food blog in Singapore pondered : what differentiates the good food reviews in Singapore from the rest? Here are our top five qualities of good food reviews in Singapore.
Ability (and courage) to deliver the bad news.
It is so easy to write good reviews. Whether you are writing an employee appraisal form or feedback on a hotel on Tripadvisor, the positive write-ups flow easily. The subject of the review is happy, thanks you and all is well.
Negative feedback is so much harder. You have to be careful not to offend anyone and yet say what you have to say. Be diplomatic and then cover your head and brace yourself for whatever unpredictable response from the subject. Which we why we tend to first read the bad reviews on Tripadvisor. The writer most likely had been through some pain.
One reviewer who does not shun from being blunt is Jaime Ee. Her recent comment on Alma’s decor is a gem: “Alma comes across as a battle-worn weary veteran who’s given up on life. Little is changed from the Italian restaurant Gaia that it used to be – characterless, not quite old-fashioned, contemporary if seen from an 80s perspective. Ok, it’s ugly. “ Read her full review here.
Ability to transmit the dining experience to the reader in words.
A picture is worth a thousand words. But only when it comes to conveying visual perceptions. Dining is an experience involving all the senses and we still need old-fashioned text to convey the mood and atmosphere at a restaurant. We like Debbie Yong‘s description of her reception at Ku De Ta: “RECEP, Recep – table for two. CASUAL,” says the receptionist, eyeing my dining companion’s business shirt and suede loafers with some disdain as she mouths into a walkie-talkie, well within earshot. “We have an $80 minimum spend per person for dinner,” she adds as she hands you an elevator pass for the 57th floor.” Read her full review here.
Relevance – Meeting the need to eat.
A good food review in Singapore has to be relevant to its target audience. It’s main purpose is to help the reader make some important decisions about where and what to eat. Organising this information to be available to the reader at the time he needs it saves time and gastric juices. During this 2015 general election period, the opportunistic publication of “Election rallies 2015: Where to eat ” by Hungrygowhere was a relevant and timely guide for the thousands attending the rallies. They say that a hungry man is an angry man. Such reviews may even have helped to keep the peace by meeting the hunger pangs of the already worked-up crowds!
Ability to taste and then to describe it.
Taste is the main sensory perception that is used in the process of eating. A good food reviewer must have sensitive taste buds and also be able to convey what he senses on his palate to the reader. This is an area where the wine reviewer needs to excel in as all wines look the same and you can’t take beautiful pictures to make up for lack of content. Speaking of wine reviewers, we especially like reading the reviews of Dr NK Yong who writes regularly for the Business Times. Here is a quote from “Why I like the wines I like“
“Very dark, opaque, black-red right up to the rim. Bouquet unmistakably Pauillac, loads of cedar, pencil shavings, tobacco and blackcurrant fruit. Palate a big mouthful, impenetrably dense, very thick, very concentrated, very sweet, very ripe fruit but well-balanced by a smooth and attractive acidity – the kind of acidity you taste when you have a lemon drop in your mouth together with blackcurrant juice.”
Nothing captures our attention better than great photos of food and restaurants. Great photos are not just sharp, technically perfect shots, but pictures that expresses the character of the subject. Our example of this point is a blog which we stumbled upon called “The Food Journalist”. We think that it has many great photos. Go take a look and let us know what you think.