Sunday, July 17, 2011

After Seven Years of Blogging and e_ting: My 7 Links

It's my first time participating in any real "blogger" activity on the internet, and I thank Connie of Connvoyage and Aaron of Aaron's Worldwide Adventures for tagging me (and Erin of Our Tasty Travels for pointing me out to Aaron!) and getting me involved in Tripbase's "My 7 Links" project.

The idea is to go back to your own posts and find one to fit each of the 7 proposed categories, then 'tag' 5 more bloggers to do the same, to "share lessons learned" and bring old posts back to see the light of day. So, without further ado, here are my 7 links.

The ingenius start to our meal at Singapore's FiftyThree
Most beautiful post: Singapore: FiftyThree

This was a hard one, because unlike many (food) bloggers, I don't own a snazzy camera and nor do I have the talent of taking beautiful photos. My pics are mostly for documentation purposes, so I can remember what I ate, and can show you what it is that I'm describing. A picture does say a thousand words, especially important when your writing is as mediocre as mine. I attribute any beauty to this post to the chef who put the dishes so wonderfully together, as well as natural daylight!

Most popular post: e*ting's Hong Kong list

This didn't come as a surprise at all, as people like lists, and the whole purpose of putting my Hong Kong food recommendations together was because I was getting asked on a daily basis about where to eat! As I say in the post, it's not comprehensive and it's a work in progress, so hopefully I'll be able to keep it up to date.

Most controversial post: Restaurants taking legal action against bloggers?

My blog doesn't usually get a lot of comments, so in terms of controversy, it wasn't between me and readers, it was because I'd posted an email forwarded to me written by a disgruntled chef leaving a restaurant, who made particular claims about the restaurant and its management. Upon reposting, I received a comment from the restaurant's lawyers, who said I'd made a defamatory statement. Now, of course the statement was not mine, but legally it seems that spreading the defamatory statements also makes one liable. I took the email off, as I'm not cool enough to have my own lawyers, but for me, the question has always remained - to what extent are the media, as mere messengers, liable for reporting things that were sent to them? A journalist would contact both sides of the dispute and try to get a response, but if, after a while, the respondent(s) hadn't replied, or refused to, does it stop the journalist from reporting it? No, I don't think so.

I really shouldn't be comparing this blog to a product of journalistic excellence, but as an editor in real life and a passionate blogger in my virtual one, I find myself facing these issues on a daily basis and still unable to find a clear answer. Anyhoo, it hasn't stopped me from blogging my mind and I hope to be able to keep it that way.

Most helpful post: Noodles, liver and tofu - A mini Sham Shui Po food crawl

At a certain point in my earlier days of blogging, I decided that if I was going to stick this blog thang out, I would make it useful, and not be one of those, "snap a pic, say it's yum" kind of blogs. When I moved back to Hong Kong, I felt this even more strongly as I read blog posts, newspaper articles and magazines that were communicating interpretations of my city without having asked a local's opinion. It's not wrong to interpret things your own way, but it's sad that they didn't know the story behind these things, so I felt sort of responsible for not being out there, on the internet, when they were doing research. All this means that I'm continuously looking for ways to make my blog useful. Be it background info, addresses, Chinese translations - I want you to be able to use my posts and experience places as I did, as a local (I am sort of a local...!). I've been good recently about posting addresses and maps, but astoundingly lazy about translations. This is one that I can think of that has pretty much all the elements I want in it to make it useful - background info complete with Youtube video, Chinese translations, pronunciations, descriptions and photos, plus the usual maps and addresses. I did miss the opening hours though - but as I found out later, they're all open daily pretty much all day - phew!

A post whose success surprised me: My favourite Hong Kong food posts of 2010

I did this more as a round-up for myself and to thank the many friends I've made the past year because of Twitter and blogging. As a person who isn't always likable and is a bit of a social idiot, I'm more than grateful to technology for bringing me new friends, and was happy to know that you (or whoever reads my blog) celebrated it with me too!

The spread we had one time at Man Fu Lou, an awesome hot pot restaurant in Beijing
A post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved: My dad's Beijing tips

I found it surprising that my dad's restaurant tips weren't more popular. After all, he and my mom were the two driving forces behind my gastronomic obsession and are still my main source of knowledge for Chinese food history and good places to eat in the big bad lands of Mainland China, given their frequent travels.

Looking down at the Central dai pai dong when they just reopened after the area was refurbished
The post that I am most proud of: More on dai pai dong

If we go way back to the early days of blogging, you'll remember the word "blog" was derived from "weblog", a log on the web. It was basically an electronic diary, kept like an analog diary to document one's life. As the nature of the web and blogging have changed, the blogosphere's focus seems to have as well. Blogs are now often businesses, with their own conferences and places in a (good?) PR's address book. While my blog is still strictly non-commercial, I have undoubtedly been affected by the shifting landscape. But when I thought about the post I'm most proud of, it wasn't a restaurant post with me trying my best to decipher ingredients, cooking methods and service, it was a post on dai pai dong, or street food stalls, something that matters to Hong Kong. In that way, my blog is still very much a diary - here I'm logging what I'm learning about my city, and the blog, as a body of "work", documents this journey.

Gah! Well, that was a rather rambly (even more than usual) and introspective one. Hope it wasn't too hard to get through.

Now, onto my four five tagged blogs (it was supposed to be five, but this was all I could get over the weekend!), all wonderful blogs with fantastic people behind them, who have some connection to Asia:

Fernando Gros
Aromas y Sabores
Life As A Bonvivant
Gourmet Traveller
Simply Cooked


  1. This is extremely interesting--not too long at all. :) I hope someone tags me as well. I will have a look at your Hong Kong restaurants list as I am always looking for new ideas.

  2. Sarah, you're now the fifth tag! Woot! Look forward to reading your links :D

  3. Yeah!! LOVED your links and thanks for the shout out - glad Connie tagged you too! :D It's great to get some more crossover with the culinary travel blogs -- there are some awesome resources (like you) out there that many people elsewhere in the world haven't discovered and I hope this project bridges that gap! :)