ieatishootipost on Channel U

video

Here's the link to the video on youtube

You can also read the online article at xin.sg

When the reporter from Channel U asked me to pick a place where we can stage the interview, Ya Kwang immediately came to mind. I chose Ya Kwang because Jason decided to introduce Cze Char dishes right after the first blog post on their Kway Chap. It was during that meeting that I discussed with Jason about the possibility of introducing a Lobster Noodle dish that was available outside of a hotel or fancy restaurant. It became the first of many unique new Cze Char dishes to be introduced our local food scene.

So after 10 months of blogging (on this and other blogs), the print media finally took notice and featured their Crab Bee Hoon on the Sunday Times last week. I thought this was a good example of how blogging is changing the way eateries are being marketed in our day and age.

Personally, I feel that restaurants have not fully realize the potential of blogs to make or break a restaurant. Of course, blogs are still very much in the infancy stage compared to the main stream media when it comes to marketing. However, as the experience in the Malaysian elections have shown, it would be a mistake to simply ignore the blogs. I think it is only a matter of time before PR agencies are hired by the restaurants to manage bloggers. This would be a whole new ballgame for the PR agencies because they will be dealing with a group of people whose nature is to fiercely defend their right to independence and free speech.

On the other hand, consider the impact that a group of 20 or 30 food bloggers reviewing the same eatery all at the same time. All we need now is a nexus whereby they can all be mobilized simultaneously. It's an uphill task trying to get a whole bunch of individualistic "cats" to behave like socialistic "dogs". There have been food bloggers' dinners organized in the past to try to bring food bloggers together, but these have only been a "blue moon" affair. The community of food bloggers in Singapore still tend to remain fragmented. Some would perhaps argue that it should remain this way. Though I believe that blogging should retain its independent flavour, I also see the marketing potential of some form of association. I am trying to plant the seed for such a nexus by creating a special segment in the forum where Singapore food bloggers can get together to discuss food blogging issues. It's a start but there is still a long way to go.

One of the emerging players in this whole equation is the blog advertising agency Nuffnang whose ads are supported in this blog. Nuffnang is emerging as the de facto association for bloggers by organizing gatherings and forums where bloggers can all congregate to discuss contemporary issues. The next logical evolution is for Nuffnang to segment its registered bloggers into the various categories and mobilize them to provide reviews of different products. I think that would be an attractive proposition to advertisers. Currently they are already doing product advertorials but on a wider, less specialized scale.

Anyway, enough of theorizing, back to the appetizing.


500g Lobster Tang Hoon $60

For this occasion, we wanted to do something that would look impressive on TV, so we went with the Boston Lobster again. Nothing spectacularly imaginative, just substituting Crab for Lobster in his already popular Crab Tang Hoon dish.



This dish combines one of my favourite carbs with my all time favourite seafood. Korean Tang Hoon is one of those magical foods that I simply fell in love with when I first tasted it in Sydney. (My hometown of Eastwood is almost like a little Korea!) And I fell in love with Lobster the first time I had it in Phuket. Not only because they are nice to eat (and very exclusive), their are probably the prettiest and most photogenic of seafoods. The bright red colour never fails to make a good picture, and the shell and tomalley (that green stuff in the head) always imparts the savoury taste of the sea to starchy staples of any kind. So it was a impressive no brainer. 4.5/5

Conclusion

I would like to apologize to the 11 Lao Shis (10 from St Andrew's and Kang Lao Shi of RJC '86-'87) who have tried their utmost to teach me mandarin. I tried my best but as you can see, I have not made further progress in the last 20 years. And if it makes you feel any better, I am still occasionally waking up in the middle of the night thinking that I am sitting for my Chinese Exams the next day. So I hope it shows that I really did try. And to the rest, please give me a break, my Chinese is not "Half past six", its a proper D7!

Thanks again to all the readers of this blog. Your comments and constant encouragement continue to fan the charcoal fire and keep the satay grilling!

Update 1 Nov 2008

Please note that Jason has sold his business as of 1 Nov 2008. We wish him all the best as he ventures down under!

Ya Kwang Dai Pai Dong
709 Geylang Road
(Lor 37)
11am to 11pm daily
98170006
Lobster orders before 7 pm




Here's the translation of the Video provided by jems based on the transcript: Thanks jems!

Some bloggers like to make use of their online blogs to introduce food they love to eat. There's this particular blogger who sets out to eat all the local hawker food and blog it on his blog as a food directory for netizens.

Dr Leslie Tay loves food and also loves photography. He combined these two interests one and a half years ago, started an online food blog, going around Singapore tasting hawker food, took pictures and uploaded them onto his blog, added his critic, categorized them into various categories for easy lookup for the netizens, averaging a hit rate of 8000 a day.

Some hawkers even voluntarily requested for Dr Tay to blog about them, hoping that it will help to boost their business. Dr Tay said, " Some said it does not affect much. It's very hard to say, but for most of the unique ones, I give full marks, or rather not full marks, but 4.75, most of them will see a significant improvement in business."

There's a stall situated at Geylang which is famous for its Crab Beehoon and Lobster Noodles, after Dr Tay's introduction saw an increase in business by 50%. There are even Indonesian netizens who after reading the blog, specially flew into town to try his food. Ya Kwang Da Pai Dang's boss Jason Tan said, "When they were here, they were carrying luggage, to come and eat my Lobster Noodles, I just find it very amusing, Dr Tay's blog can evoke foreigners to come try my stuffs."

Other than introducing good food, Dr Tay also from time to time suggests to the hawkers how to improvise and create new dishes, for example this Lobster Tang Hoon. Netizens also discuss in his forum how never to waste calories on yucky food.



56 comments:

sumosumo said...

les, ur chinese really CMI.....

not that i was any much better.

i think any boy coming from a school with Saint in the name, chinese usually C6 standard. or lower.

TAG said...

All I can say is you are better off speaking teochew instead of Mandarin. Camera shy maybe ?? But then I realise most Saints I know during my school days most of them Chinese CMI. Well as long as the message got thru thats what matters.

Miss Loi said...

LOL irrefutable proof that bloggers write better than they speak in real life? :D

ieat said...

Miss Loi, not good to tease people like myself who provide people like yourself with the extra tuition business!

vb said...

Wah!!! Never mind the lousy Mandarin, look handsome of TV can liao!!!!

SCS butter said...

Well done! not sure what you were trying to say thou.....

yi said...

haha your mandarin is indeed cmi .. but your blog is fabulous

i thought you would be a little obese from all the good food but you turned out to be very well proportioned ..

WokkingMum said...

I was very excited to 'see' you on news! I kept slapping my husband lap, telling him that this is the doctor with that yummy 'black' blog. :P He visits your blog for ideas on where to go makan with his sub-cons. :)

Anonymous said...

Kudos on making it on the news...always liked ur blog, clear cut and neat....Cheers Mate from Brissy

liverpool1965 said...

you not alone lah...my chinese highest grade was D7....

ieat said...

Ok so smart, liverpool chinese also not good...... birds of a feather.....

liverpool1965 said...

what bird? what feathers? :)

Anonymous said...

what i got from the 2 min plus..

how dr leslie marries his love for food and photography. thru his blog, introducing the food all over singapore. categorizing the food directory making it easy for those who visit the site to explore.
Average number of visitors ard 8000..

Some hawkers invite dr leslie to sample their food and to blog abt it hoping it'll boost their business.
"Some may not have much influence (change in business) but for some of the more unique foods or those that give good reviews like 4.75 out of 5 stars, there will be great influence on the business"

One such example is ya kwang where there was an improvement of 50% of business. even some indonesians who read the reviews flew in especially to try the food.

"customers come to the stall with their luggage to try the lobster noodles. i find it quite amusing. dr leslie's blog has to power to get foreigners to come and try my food."

dr tay not only blogs about the food but would sometimes also suggest how to improvise or create new dishes (eg the lobster tang hoon)

thru the forum and discussions, visitors to the blog share how not to waste calories on yucky food..

ieat said...

Wow thanks for the translation! Excellent! Now liverpool and smart can understand it.

In case you want to read the transcript in Chinese, it is found here http://www.xin.sg/article.php?article=18213

pedant said...

I thought Dr Zheng Chunmao's (very descriptive name ;P ) Mandarin is more than competent, judging from that 2 min clip and his interview. Got the point across without being too fluent. There are ministers who are less comfortable with the language.

Regarding the idea of a "union" of sorts for food bloggers, I don't quite see the point. "Socialistic dogs", IMO, wouldn't want to be united together as a marketing target/tool for advertisers and restaurants. As you said, the independent, spontaneous and unregulated nature of blogging is what draws visitors to the sites and should remain the case. A restaurant/advertiser-sponsored review by the nexus of bloggers would raise questions of impartiality and independence. Just my two cents, and I don't blog so can't speak from their perspective.

Anyway, great work with the blog, especially uncovering gems like Ya Kwang and the tweaking of recipes/menu.

christine said...

Awesome, Lesley - Ya Kwang is on my To Do List for the weekend! And thanks Anon for the translation :)

ieat said...

Thanks pedant for being so gracious about my Mandarin! :)

What I had in mind with the bloggers is that they remain independent but somehow be mobilized to review certain eateries as part of the media launch event. They will certainly add a new dimension to the existing main stream media.

smart said...

Dear Anonymous, You are the fisrt Anonymous I appreciate, now I understand what the fuss is all about. However pls do give us a pen name so that I can personally thank you. Khim our expert can help you register.

smart said...

Christine, If you are going to Ya Kwang on weekend pls call Jason first. Also read all of Dr. Les blog on Ya Kwang n decided what u want to order.Reason: with the recent Sunday Times article n Monday's Channel U Ya Kwang can be over crowded.

juney said...

hi there..me and my sis have been reading yr blog since a yr ago! Haha..can be considered as yr younger 'fans' alrdy. So when i spotted u on TV i was so excited n kept asking me sis to come over to look! :P

Keep up the great job n do blog more ok..we check frequently for updates!

Raymond said...

As a foodie, I have been reading your foodblog and find it pretty interesting. Interestingly, found out that you were a Saint as well...I was there from '78 - '83

Mandarin was like an Alien language back in those days and I remember it was quite common to score a 7..if you got a 5...u were like WOW!..ANyway one of the exceptions is the male on site news presenter on Ch U...He was a SAINT as well..my classmate..

ANyway enjoy ur blog and keep it going

Ray

Camemberu said...

Congrats on your first (is it the first?) TV appearance!!

Your Mandarin not bad la, but can almost see you mentally translating from English! hehe

Have to agree with Pedant. I think one issue is whether or not some bloggers even welcome such "invited reviews". But for those who do, the marketing platform would be a boon.

Actually PR agencies have already begun engaging bloggers as social media. There is no one-stop shop/nexus for traditional media either, so similarly, the bloggers are approached/cultivated on an individual basis. I'm not sure how effectively though. Budget restaurants could side-step using PR agencies to reach bloggers on their own with this marketing platform.

The Dictator said...

i totally agree that bloggers can influence the business of a food stall. It is now possible for a not-so-good food stall to be packed with people. The power of internet!

Damien said...

A blogger could be invited for a review, however, if the food is not up to par, the blogger should have every right not to post.

Time will tell if the blogger is truthful/credible or not and his/her readers will be either his/her greatest fans or critics.

Those invited reviews, whether by the press or other forms of media usually connote to paid advertorials? Correct me if I'm wrong.

For most of Ieat's reviews, he pays for the food, take pictures of it and then shares his experiences.

Most invited reviews are based on goodwill, thus, the owners do not charge, however, if the food is mediocre, I do not think it'll ever see the daylight of this blog :)

Holy Drummer said...

I agree with Damien.

Leslie has numerous posts that 'never saw daylight'. Anyway, when kakis join in the review, it is only fair if we go dutch, which is usually the case, save for invited reviews.

BTW, I'm going to Ya Kwang again on sat for Mother's Day lunch celebration - can't wait!!

P.S: More adoring fans are emerging for ieatishootipost.sg - fan club in the works? LOL

Anonymous said...

the blog has opened up a whole new world of dining options for my frens and I...a zillion thanks......we have come away with more hits than misses from the stalls/rests/outlets we've tried...just a thot here on yr crediting YaKwang's Lobster tang hoon with being the "first of many new Cze Zhar dishes to be introduced in the local food scene"...... well, new to YaKwg perhaps, but local food scene...??? MelBen and Uncle Leong's at AMK have been serving up Crab Bee Hoon and other sea-food combinations since Adam, and, no, you won't classify them as fancy joints.....so such dishes are not exactly new Cze Char dishes, and Ya Kwang hasn't quite blazed the trail as suggested....
thots fm a blogfan.

ieat said...

Has Boston Lobster braised with Korean Tang Hoon been served at Melben? How about bacon and crabmeat La Mien?

Melben and Uncle Leong has good seafood, I just haven't got around to blogging them yet.

Anonymous said...

Too much hype and hoo-hah on "rojak" food with all sort of combinations.

go to Ya Kwang once for dinner, food ok but not something wan to go back with any pull effect. for me, the taste and flavour there is homecooked type. Nothing distinctive.

Jason is a nice guy and he tries to serve a good meal

Anonymous said...

ditto..uniqueness does not equate to quality nor taste....in any case, if the blog welcomes comments, you should be open to ppl airing their views, and not expect readers to concur your recommendations...dun need to get so uptight abt YK la!! Incidentally, Melben is an established player with a huge following, er...won't need any blogging to get a lift of 50% in their business !!
Cheers.

Anonymous said...

dear smart,
no need to thank me personally. i did it to relief stress.. hehe.. jems did a great job translating! mine was cannot make it.. haha.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, why are all of you comparing Jason to Melben??
Melben has been selling seafood for ages and Jason is a innovative chef trying to provide a good meal.Instead all of you are expecting him to be better than Melben just because he is noted on the blog and Melben is not..
Why are all of you so eager to mention Melben??
Any ulterior motives??

meng said...

Had dinner at Ya Kwang last nite with a couple of friends, food is good but nothing to shout about, the clam noodle was good but too salty. The crab tang hoon was so-so, found the tang hoon too soggy, but the sauce was pretty good.

Overall quite good and reasonable price but too salty esp since we didnt order rice. It would be better If the saltiness of the clam noodles was toned down.

Will consider visiting again.

sumosumo said...

meng = jason will customise his dishess according to your tastebuds.

i find that his food is generally less salty and oily than some other chze char places....

but if still too much for ur liking.. u can ask him to tone down.

also i fancy that singaporeans in general need to tone down their tastebuds... most che char stalls drown thier dishes in gravy and salt and oil....

to me , ya kwang dosent do that. i cant say i m an expert, but for those items i tried, i thikn so far so good. not excellent, but good.

sgfoodparadise said...

The proprietor of YA KWANG, Jason Tan = Mr YaKwang, a.k.a. Leslie Tay's good friend and makan khaki right? If he is, then the fidelity of these reviews...

sumosumo said...

sgfood- i m not here to defend les or anyone. but get ur facts right first before you start insinuating.

did leslie review Ya Kwang's food first before they became friends? or is it the other way round?

anyway at the end of the day, all the opininos here are just opinions.

the readers of blogs should have the common sense to let their own tastebuds do the judging of how good the food is. whether that tallies with the comments of someone who blogs about the food, is based on their own judgement of how good the food is.

The Dictator said...

yup, opinions are just opinions and i think yakwang food is not nice. simply over rated

jems said...

I am suspecting that the standard of the food at Ya Kwang is dependent on whether if Jason is the one doing the cooking. He was busy serving when I visited so it was apparent that he did not do the cooking that day. The teriyaki ribeye beef and fried kailan were both a tad salty. The only dish that stood out for me was the clam noodles.

Nicholas Foo said...

Hmmm here’s my take on this debate:

Regarding the issue of Joe’s Thai Cuisine’s ‘invited review’: I think that blogging about invited reviews are acceptable. It gives unfancied and ordinary food sellers an opportunity to perhaps ‘shine’ and gain some positive publicity, if the review is generally optimistic. Over time, foodies would compare themselves the Actual vs. Claimed food standards. If the food sucks, the people who will visit that joint would only be the unaware/uninitiated first timers.

While invited food reviews can probably be trusted, the inverse is true of the possible claim in earlier comments.

I read with interest leslie’s description of Ya Kwang. Quotes:

‘This must be THE DISCOVERY of the blog!’

‘Ya Kwang immediately came to mind.’

Suddenly, these meaning and motives of these sentences has change entirely;

This extensive and saccharine-sweet publicity of a single food outlet is quite encouragingly intriguing, yet amusingly peculiar.

I personally think the blog's very visual layout and edgy approach to food review is worth commending.

But if Jason Tan from Ya Kwang is indeed Mr. YaKwang, as pointed out by sgfoodparadise, dr tay will not reminisce about the taste of lobster’s flesh melting in his mouth; but rather, he will experience the feeling of having eggs on his face.

“In purity and according to divine law will I carry out my life and my art” - Hippocrates

Cheryl said...

I have been reading the comments and i have to say that food is very subjective. We're not exactly here to critic on the friendship of Mr. YaKwang or Dr. Leslie. It is on the onus of Dr. Leslie to write fair reviews and i believe that the number of readers of his blog speaks for itself the trust they have in his reviews and their enjoyability in reading them.

No two tastebuds are made the same. Each stall has it's own fair share of supporters and detractors and i think it is unfair to discount dr. leslie's credibility if the stall has it's detractors, especially when it has it's own fair share of supporters which does not consist of dr. leslie alone.

We can't force everyone to share the same likings as we do and neither can dr. leslie. And i feel it isn't right to allow speculations distort our impressions because we pass on unfair judgement onto people who don't deserve it. So why not we just focus on what this blog was created for: food. This way, we won't have to dwell on nitty gritty details which impairs one's judgement on the integrity of others (:

nicholas sze said...

mr nicholas foo - i have no idea what your ramblings are about.. though you try to make it sound deeply philosophical, thought provoking and profound... i find your use of the language unwieldy and awkward and your ranting bordering on the psychotic.

get with it.

this is a food blog.

not practical criticism.

read.
eat.
comment.
good?
no good?
move on.

ieat said...

Thanks for all your comments.

Let's clear things up a bit.

Jason is Mr Ya.Kwang. I don't cover it up it is there for everyone to read. A lot of the people that I review become my friends later on. Liverpool, damien, Aston, Jason are among them.

The reason Ya Kwang is mentioned so many times is because, my family eats there a lot and Jason is opened to my suggestions for new dishes. So when we try something new and it turns out good, I just have to share it with everyone.BTW there are lots of dishes that did not quite work out and have not been blogged.

I would do the same for any other eatery who is willing to experiment because I think we would all like to see more new dishes in the market for us to enjoy.

Yes, taste is subjective and that is why I would advise everyone to contribute their comments and personal experience with the eatery being blogged, in this way everyone can better decide whether to go eat there or not.

In the end, the blog is about finding good food and making new friends. It's all supposed to be fun so I look forward to more of your contributions and I will continue to strive find new find new and interesting places to eat.

monoslayer said...

went to Ya Kwang for lunch last week..

very very bad service by the PRC gal.. very disappointed..

ordered crab tang hoon, chk wings n kong ba bao..

crab tang hoon n chk wings were pretty good but the kong ba bao was a complete waste of money not to mention calories..

very bad experience there.. dun tink i will go back in the foreseeable future..

Rick Tham said...

Quote: 'ieat & itreat said...
sumosumo, if you are talking about upstarts with good food, service and attitude, then Ya Kwang comes to mind. But the dynamics of the food industry is not so straightforward as demonstrated by the Ya Kwang case study.

29/1/08 18:45'

@ "http://ieatishootipost.sg/2008/01/empress-place-beef-kway-teow-teochew.html?showComment=1212472860000"

Friend recommending own friend's food and service on whats supposed to be a food blog. how naive we are if we still believe in its accuracy and transparency.

Cheers.

sumosumo said...

this has been discussed countless times before, rick.

let your own tastebuds do the judging. if someone tells you something is good, u wont know it till you tried it for yourself.

if its good, u agree. if its bad, u disagree. very simple.

Christopher said...

i didnt know that food blogs had to be transparent and accurate.

i thought only audited annual reports and charities needed that.

ieat said...

Perhaps the forum might be a better platform for this issue to be discussed in more detail. Rick, you are most welcomed to start a thread there. I take all feedback seriously and if a suggestion is good I will implement it: ieatishootipost.proboards.com/

jks said...

Wait... so this place is no more?

ieat said...

Jason has migrated to Perth.

Anonymous said...

So does that mean that Ya kwang dai pai dong had closed down?

ieat said...

Yes

Anonymous said...

Hi ALL,

The chef Jason from Ya kwang had left Singapore and migrated to Australia. The stall has been take over by Desmond.

Anonymous said...

I am recommending Yan Porridge House,located at Fengshan Food Market, Bedok North Road, #01-224

Your best recommendation for affordable frog leg porridge that can comes in various sauces right from plain to dry chilli type. If u r not in frog leg porridge, others include prawn,venison meat, chicken. Economical, tasty,worth the price for one person to entire family or group of party friends.

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie

Thanks for your blog on the food Ya Kwang. I was told to look up for Jason in Perth and I went there in Oct/Nov 2009 to meet him.

Of all the stalls about 10-12 asian food stalls there, Jason's stall, which just opened few months in Perth, was full of customers. Busy was he but he still find time to serve me and my family. He served us Singapore Laksa, Fried Prawn Noodle, Prawn Noodle Soup and Oyster Omelette.

How do I comment on his food? Great to have a chance to taste his food. I'll surely visit the place again.

Nevermind what others' comment, as long as I like it, that will do. I enjoyed good food.

joyce said...

Can anyone tell me where in Perth is Jason's stall? Would love to go there. Thanks.

Holy Drummer said...

Hi Joyce,

Shop 10A
Spencer Village Shopping Centre
200 Spencer Road
Thornlie WA 6108

I'm planning to go down under in May to visit. Can't wait!!! =)

Jyoan said...

wow, okay, I used to hate Ch U... :PPP So never saw your appearance on there then.

I guess food blog's influence on food is still not as big because there is no large united group of food bloggers.

In beauty, skincare, cosmetics etc, however, the phenomenon is huge. Blogs and Youtube can sell out products ISLANDWIDE within days of launching!

And it doesn't even requires that good pictures. Results are more important.

haha, seems that girls are still more united and part with money more easily.

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