POST NO 200 !!!! : A Brief Retrospective And Q And As

Wow we have made it guys! 200! As always, I am amazed with the support of my readers and it has been a very fun and fulfilling ride as of to date. I was thinking of doing something different to commemorate this milestone. And since I have been asked a lot of questions by friends and readers throughout the tenure of this blog, I think it will be best I do it here! For simplicity purposes, it will be in a Q and A format and split to several topics. 

Why did you start the blog?The blog was never my initial idea. It was from a colleague of mine, Ivan. I was always known to recommend good food to my friends and he asked if I would want to put it down in writing. I initially said no. But after doing this for about 9 months and asking me when I would start writing on a weekly basis, I finally relented and began working on the blog in September 2017 and since never stopped. 
Me and the " real father" of the blog. 

Why do you write the way you write?Some people say my style is very detailed and expressive, but others say its too wordy and long. Each is to is own I guess. But personally, I have seen many blogs on food before I started putting some thought to the TOG. And most blogs are "here is me eating", "here is my selfie" and "4 out of 5 stars". I feel that is too superficial and personally as a reader, I want to know more. Also, I am a lawyer by training, so you know how lawyers are with words. 
Are there usual sources of inspiration?I like watching food videos on Youtube especially from Mark Weins and Food Ranger as I like their descriptive style and sense of exploration. I also read food magazines such as Saveur and Eater and listen to podscasts like Way of Ramen and Mastication Nation. So yeah, you can call me a food "otaku". 
Speaking of Youtube, any plans of setting up a channel anytime soon?Well I have been featured in a few videos, in a collaborative effort with my friend JR Song, but other than that, no plans in the future. However, who knows? Watch this space. 
That one video that we did for the Ghost Pepper noodle challenge.
As you can see, my face is already filled with dread. 

What is your favourite cuisine?I get this question alot. I tend to feature Chinese and Japanese food more frequently as those are the food cultures I am most familiar with. However, I am a fan of good food in general. As such, I am making an attempt to feature more cuisine that has not been having much representation in TOG, especially Indian. If you don't mind me, its time for some idli!

Oh baby!
What is your favourite ramen spot?I get this question alot as well. My favourite spot so far, is Menya Shi Shi Do located in Jaya One. I just love its simplicity and balance. And I knew this place way before its popularity erupted in late 2019. Last time, I can come over any time, but nowadays you really need to plan properly if you want to have a meal there. If not, get ready to be on a waiting list. 
A second best would be Ramen Bankara. And the tsukemen is something you need to try. I thoroughly enjoy it. 
Bankara's tsukemen is some serious eats. 

Any opinions on vegetarian food?Personally, I am ok with anything regardless if its meat loaded or meat free. I do have vegetarian meals from time to time for religious and health reasons. I even tried being one for a few months. It was challenging in getting protein down, but perhaps with better planning, I may be able to go further. And if someone says vegetarian food is boring, they have yet tried LN Coffee. Their cashew pseudo-carbonara is mind blowing. And not to forget T's Tan Tan with their breathtaking vegan tonkotsu. 
Vegetarian food never tasted this good!

Street food or high end?Street food is the way to go baby! Not only its cheap, it is the window to another world as it tells you a story as to how people in that city or country live their day to day. Cuisine is driven by culture, and culture can only survive if it is practical. I do enjoy the finer things in life though, like wagyu beef and caviar laced dim sum though.

A shot of Pudu Wai Sek Kai. To me, this is joy. 

What is your food bucket list?I would really want to try fermented shark in Iceland one day. Many people say its repulsive, which makes it even more appealing!
What is your favourite food pick me up?A good burger or or chien will do the trick just fine. And of course, ramen. 
Salivating right now. 


For the sake of research!
How do you prepare yourself when you write?Honestly, it all starts way before the writing process. The food hunt is probably the most difficult but also the most fun in the prep. I will sometime Google search what is close to me and I will then try it out. At times, the places I selected are usually based on curiousity, especially when I travel. 

Once I find a place, I would try to take photos and notes on the food I had eaten and try to translate what I had eaten into words.  I would then go home and do further research on the place I have eaten, like checking other bloggers or Google or TripAdvisor reviews. After doing that and having a shot of coffee, then I would consider myself prepared and I would then start with the writing. Do note that for some places, I have done revisits before drafting. 
What are your most difficult posts that you have ever written?
Personally, food tour style posts for food markets and food courts. As they will usually involve at least 3 food items and focuses more on a location than just one shop, they can be very time consuming in writing and also on the "research" (ie: eating). But they are the most fun too especially when I have friends tagging along. Not only because its more fun in groups, but also we can share stomach spaces so we can try even more! 

Food is best when shared! Thanks again to June and Tom in tagging along!
How about recipes?
Now this is very different. I would look at the thing I would like to cook first and then see if its practical to be written. Unlike most of my material which can be expressive and detailed, I would like to have my recipes be as simple as possible. And the toughest part is the cooking. As I am a one man gang, everything is done by me. Even when taking photos while cooking, so there have been a few attempts in getting the recipe right before it gets written. Not to mention cooking with one hand and taking photos with another. But the end result has always been worth it. 

I suck in cooking, can you have a cooking 101 post of some sort?The recipes in the blog are quite self explanatory and can be used as a base reference of sorts, as I focus more on technique than steps. However, on a cooking 101 sort of post, I have been thinking about it. I am not a professional chef, but I am quite confident with my way around the kitchen. Watch this space.
Which post that you are most proud of?
The Tokyo Eating Out Survival Guide. I have been to Japan 4 times and twice solo, and that thing stood the test of time. Even after each visit, I look back at the Guide and I would say to myself that it is still ok as it is and it is applicable for any major city in Japan.  Do click here if you would like to get started. Do note it is a series of 3 posts and they are very lengthy but detailed and full of amazing tips and tricks if you intend to plan your own Japanese food binge. 

Definitely no city like Tokyo. 

Any new material coming soon?There is always new material coming soon! However, if you are saying other than recipes, food tours and food reviews, yeah there are a few in the works. P and C for now. 
Any new places that you intend to write about?I am thinking of visiting a few places this year. Thailand and Nepal come to mind. I have been those places before but that was before TOG existed. As such, I would like to pay tribute to both countries' cuisines.  Especially Nepal, as its food culture is severely underrated and almost unheard of. I would like to visit India and Italy as well. But lets see how it goes. 

Having probably the best fried chicken ever from a roadside stall in Kathmandu.
This was taken in October 2016. 

Other than work and eating and blogging what else do you do in your free time?I enjoy watching wrestling and even went to Tokyo to specifically watch the G1 Climax tournament in August 2018. Not the last time I will be going for a live event there. I also enjoy reading and on the weekends I go for Japanese classes. 

A dream come true. 

What are you reading at the moment?I am currently re-reading "Man Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. Alot of life lessons and a great personal reminder whenever I am going through tough times. 
Any travel plans in the future?Kindly refer to the question above on new places to write about, thanks. 
Do you have any family in the food business?I do actually. On my father's side, I have an uncle that is trained as a chef, and I have a cousin who is a pastry chef that is based in Macau. On my mum's side, her family runs a pork soup and yam rice outlet which I have previously featured. Do click here if you would like to know more. 

Childhood memories reactivated!

Alright! I guess that is enough questions for now! Thank you all for all the support and fun times. Catch you all in another 200! And thanks for JR Song for providing me with the picture for the post header! Do check out his channel for reviews on snacks and viral food items. It will be worth your time. Link was already provided earlier.

Thinking about the future of the TOG.