the hinata diaries

Monday, February 12, 2007

Picture shamelessly lifted from without permission. Don't scold, hor?

Every Singaporean has them.
No, not the Esso tiger tail.
No, nor the pile of individually paper-wrapped toothpicks lifted from your favourite restaurant.
By them, I mean those distant and not-so-different relatives who you only meet once a year at Chinese New Year, at the odd wedding or granny's birthday bash. You greet each other with the usual questions - "how's the spouse", "how're the kids", "how is school" - all designed to enable the questioned to respond politely yet generically, and for the questioner to nod equally politely and generically in return, a timeless and well-rehearsed ritual that generates no pain, but often affords little pleasure as well.

What most Singaporeans would readily admit is rarer though, is finding the family member that you enjoy catching up with at such occasions, each conversation rekindling memories of shared friends and experiences, or resulting in the discovery of new interests in common.

It was thus that my cousin (or specifically, our parents are cousins) and I both discovered the other was a closet foodie. Hoong An spotted my grinning mug on Chubby Hubby's site, in the photos from the food bloggers' dinner at Sage, and in turn revealed that he was embarking on a great foodie project in a professional capacity.

Fast forward to today, the offical launch date of

At first glance, is one of those "why didn't I think of that before???" sites. It offers a respository of member-contributed food reviews, a search function to help you find your grub of choice in your neighbourhood of choice, and an online list of all the credit card promotions offered by restaurants. Plus cool interviews (currently with local theatre personality Jonathan Lim) and a really cute Ask Auntie section. Sign up as a member and you'll be alerted of dining promotions over email, and can also contribute reviews for a chance to win a weekly cash prize. You'll also be able to login to your account, create a profile, list your credit cards (and so have an instant overview of all promotions applicable to you), access your list of favourite places, and read bookmarked reviews from your friends, favourite reviewers or even (ahem, ego bloating now) your own personal admirers.

In our little island, where people are either always calling up their friends for dining recommendations, or being called by their friends for the same, may just reduce everyone's phone bill (Singtel, M1 and StarHub beware!) and make discovering a new eating place that much easier.

Functionality (and there's plenty of it) aside, I love for its honest approach to commercialism. It aims to help food establishments get their promotions across to a hungry and often cost-conscious public while refraining from endorsement disguised as objectivity. (We all know sites like these, yah? When you only realize that upon the third reading that the product being reviewed as God's gift to foodies is mysteriously stocked only by the site's advertising sponsor.)

Reviews are instead contributed by members and are both fun and interactive. As a member, if you were impressed by the review and want to try the restaurant, you can add it to your list of favourite places for future reference. You can give the reviewer props, or even add him or her as a food buddy.

So hope you guys will check the site out! It's not every day that three young professionals quit their jobs to serve the greater purpose of food and feeding, so support support yah? :) I'm personally really excited about the prospect of a new online food community and am looking forward to reading the various user reviews.

To Hoong An and your team, congrats and all the best!


  • Interesting. There's alot of food blogs in Singapore now....

    We've listed you at Cheers.

    By Anonymous Harro!, At 10:02 PM  

  • Heyloo. you've been busy too huh? havent seen you around.

    By Blogger shaz, At 7:02 PM  

  • Hello! Haha, agree with shaz, haven seen your posts for some while alrd. Hope you've been doing well and im waiting for more of your foodie posts! :}

    By Blogger zhengning, At 5:19 PM  

  • Hi, check out
    Its an online portal for impartial reviews on restaurant, nightlife, spas in singapore

    By Blogger feng, At 4:40 PM  

  • i think there's an upcoming one as well,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 9:39 PM  

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