Thursday, December 3, 2015

My life as a food writer

This is me on the job in Port Dickson, at The Verte, taking a photo of a salmon bagel

For those of you who don't know, I've been working as an in-house writer under HungryGoWhere for almost a year now, and I'm always asked plenty of questions about my unusual job. It's fun but it also takes up 90% of my time, so just like any other job, it has its pros and cons. Here are some complex answers to some of the simple questions a lot of you might have for me!

Q: Do you get to eat for free?
A: No, nothing is ever for free. :( When I eat for "free", I'm usually expected to write about or post it on social media, and my company pays for the meal usually, so no, it is not free.

Q: How many articles do you write in a day?
A: I think 2 is probably the most I've written in a day. It sounds like very little but from start to finish, I might spend as long as 5 hours on just one article because maybe 5 out of 100 pictures need to be chosen, edited, and resized, then I need to find missing details online, make sure listings are made for whatever restaurant/eatery I'm writing about (which includes addresses, hours, GPS cords, and phone numbers), make sure I follow the house style, etc. So it really isn't like writing a blog post, where I might make grammatical errors and blab about things that may not even be accurate. I would like whatever I write for my job to be reliable, so that when people look for food, they can trust me - basically.

What the salmon bagel really looks like

Q: Can you write about my restaurant?
A: It depends on a lot of factors. The content is worked on ahead of time, so first you'd have to give me a week or two to bring it up with the editor, find a slant (reason) for an article to slot you in, then write about 50 other places that were already in the pipeline, and then see if we have time for you. Secondly, if it's not negotiated with my company (not me) for money, which means you expect me to write about your restaurant for free, then you might have to wait even longer. Sometimes you just have to be lucky. I've only ever written about places for free when it's incognito (which means they never approached us) and they happened to be within the vicinity we were exploring (location-based article), or have the type of food we wanted to write about. Or, your restaurant has to be new.

Q: What are your working hours like?
A: Any time. I work from everywhere. On good days it's 10 to 4, then some days it's 10 to 11 at night. Other days it's the whole weekend and then back to work on Monday. It's tough, but for the most part I do like it. People in the food industry are nice because they're not hungry. Unlike the fashion industry *jab jab jab* ahaha

Q: What's your pay?
A: Actually if you asked me in person I'd probably answer you truthfully straight-up because I don't have anything to hide and people's memories are not exactly 100% retainable but I don't think I'm allowed to state it online. Ha-ha.

This is just a glam shot of a rose latte from The Daily Fix off of Jonker Street

Q: If I ask you where I should go to eat, would you be able to tell me?
A: Yes, of course! I know tons of places to eat now. But I'd really like you to use or the app instead, so you don't have to WhatsApp me and then wait for a reply. But if you can't find what you're looking for on the site, then by all means please ask me. ;)

Q: How are you not obese being a food writer? (sometimes this is worded in ways that's not even a question)
A: I go to the gym whenever I can, but I also get a workout on-the-job, because who has to walk around to get you the top 10 nasi lemak in KL? Who has to find some of the best cafes near Jonker Street? Who had to walk all over Pudu like 3 times just to find prices? That's right, me. And sometimes we walk to places that we don't even get content out of. We walk in the rain, when the sun's beating down on us - we're pretty relentless actually when we're determined to find what we need. I also try to not to eat when I'm not on the job.

Q: Where's your office?
A: KL Sentral. So I usually take the LRT to work, depending on whether I have to run around or sit in the office. But I hate the LRT. Sometimes it's okay, but I've gotten sick twice (for long periods of time too) already, and I really hate not being able to sit down at all from Masjid Jamek all the way to Ampang. I know, I could be more thankful but it also takes me almost an hour to get to work by LRT. Some people have really bad BO, and I feel like there's almost no point in me wearing any perfume because it's gone by the time I get into office. And I've yet to get sexually assaulted but I'm hoping my demeanor clearly says that I will break the face of anyone who might touch me inappropriately. :D

One of my most favourite dishes of 2015: Naughty Nuri's pork ribs!

Here are a few things I'd like to share about my job.

1. These are some of the best places I've been to eat - slant-free.
Rocku Yakuniku for their miso-barbequed bacon.
Naughty Nuri's for their pork ribs.
Sambal Hijau and Chunburi for their variety in nasi campur.
Kam Kitchen for their Indonesian curry butter prawns.
Strangers at 47 for their amazing savoury AND sweet crepes - they are the experts for this, trust me.
Bookmark Coffee for their latte art (ask for anything and they won't even bat an eye).
Ippudo Bar for their seared salmon rolls with mentaiko on top.
Muar town for their you tiao, pork porridge, otak otak, chwee kueh, KL-cut-in-half prices for food, extremely friendly nice people who are so proud of their little town, and 200k semi-lows (semi-D bungalows).
Parit Jawa for their asam pedas, hands down.
Char Siew Yoong for their char siew (obviously).
Vishal's and/or Moorthy's in Brickfields for banana leaf, depending on whether you want it traditional or Malaysian-ized.
Betel Leaf for their gobi Manchurian, in the words of my editor, "This will change your life".

2. When I say it's good, I mean it. So don't ask me where to eat if you're not gonna go because then we'd both be wasting our time, and why waste time when you can use it to eat? (I swear I've never sounded more like a food writer saying that)

3. My job takes up a LOT of my time, so I barely have enough for family and friends, let alone myself. I don't know how having a blog is going to work out but this is kind of my attempt to do something for myself that I love, and that is to write.

So that's my job in a nutshell - if you wanna learn more about what to eat and where to eat it, please please head over to because it's really quite underappreciated for all that it truly is. So go check it out, let me know if you have any questions or comments - I will do the best I can to answer them. :D

Ciao for now

1 comment:

Ashy De Leon said...

Oh hey there sexy lady