I have decided to put the FAQs on one page for easy reference! Wonder why I did not do this earlier?
1. What camera do you use?
Most of my shots are taken using a Canon 450D SLR with a Canon 60mm f2.8 macro lens. Natural lighting is used most of the time but when the need arises a 430EX flash is used. This set up is quite basic but I like to be mobile and not have to lug around too much equipment. Most shots are taken freehand without a tripod.
2. Are the shots touched up with software before posting?
Yes they are. There are many software available which can do this. Some of these are free for download on the internet. Most of the time, I use the colour balancing, contrast, sharpness, resizing and text functions.
3. How do you manage to post so frequently?
Well, first of all, hawker food is cheap and you can afford to eat it everyday. My group of makankakis meet once a week and go to one destination where we try a few stalls. At each stall, we order one dish and everyone tries it and gives their opinion. Then the pics are collected and processed and posted. It only really takes my about 15 mins to post a single blog.
4. Are your visits prearranged?
Most of the time we just arrive incognito, buy the food and start taking pictures. Nowadays there are stallowners writing to me requesting for me to review their food. I always make it clear to the owners that I will only blog it if the food is up to a certain standard. If the food is not so good, I will only give feedback and offer to return if they can make improvements.
5. Is the food Zhnged (dressed up) to make it look nicer?
Well, most of the time we buy it straight from the hawker and maybe ask for extra garnishing to make the food look better. Then I rearrange whatever is on the plate to make it more attractive. I often tend ot ask for better cuts of meat, eg chicken thigh. Some hawkers notice that we are taking pictures and naturally want to make the food look better, I usually try to dissuade them but sometimes it doesn’t work.
6. Do you get paid for the reviews?
By reading forums, notably the makansutra forum, other people’s blogs and recommendations from friends and especially from readers of this blog! Now that our own forum is up and running, there is a lot of recommendations from our forummers
8. Why is most of your ratings either a 4 or above? Don’t you blog the bad stuff?
Most of the time, the stalls are already pre-selected ie these are stalls already highly recommended by other people, so they are of a certain standards. Sometimes I blog interesting new discoveries, these will more often get lower grades if their food is not good. They are included because of the novelty factor. Sometimes a eatery gets a lukewarm review because they are famous but the quality has suffered. If a hawker is particularly bad and the food is not anything new, I prefer not to blog it.
9. Can I join your group of makankakis?
Sure! But you have to be available in the afternoons around 2.30pm, have a good appetite and love food!
10. How do you eat all this stuff and still maintain your weight?
By saving up calories! Most of the time I eat one big meal a day. The other 2 meals are mainly cereal and fruit salad.
11. Where do you find so much time to blog?
I don’t do much else besides my work, my family and church. Don’t watch too much TV, play computer games, go drinking and socializing. In fact this is where I meet most of my friends. Not that I don’t want to, just that my clinic hours are odd. When other people are having fun, I am working. So when I have time off, everyone else is working. So what to do, blog lah!