This is a long post. You won’t find anything interesting here. This is where I talk about myself, instead of in the posts, which I hope would remain objective to their topic. Hopefully, you reached here thinking you can understand more about the dude writing nonsense on food, because you somehow came to like him (or her…?) after reading some things I wrote.
My foodie background isn’t like most food bloggers. I’m not born into a family of foodies that most recipe bloggers seem to stem their repertoire of recipes from, nor having the passion for photography since taking a photo of my first burger. Local heroes of my country’s hawker food scene, iEatiShootiPost and KF Seetoh are names that I wouldn’t have known before starting this blog. Ask me who Wong Ah Yoke is, or what are the food blogs I should check out, and I would have just looked at you and say “What?”.
Food and gaming couldn’t be the worst combinations of hobbies. One, with the letter that starts with the jee sound, has caricatures of the hardcore gamers dunking Dorito chips and a constant supply of Mountain Dew into the sustenance hole, fueling the shouts of “Go, go, go” and a strong emphasis on efficiency of time. While the other, much more healthy and down to earth, often with a relaxed approach to time (unless you are working in a professional kitchen).
But in my country, finding good food isn’t a problem. As a country that is only as big as some cities, a 5 minutes walk will bring me to Kopitiams with at least 10 stalls selling fresh local food. Give me 15 minutes to take a bus, and I can go to a nearby mall or hawker center to find cuisines from 15 regions. Expand that to half an hour to an hour, and we’re talking the city center with Michelin Starred restaurants, good international brands of restaurants finding home in South East Asia, or local businessmen hoping to bring international culture into this island country. “Eating” has been called my country’s national past time. Singapore has also been said to be a country of foodies. What I’m trying to say is, I have the patience and eating preferences of a 3 year old, but despite that I have found myself to be eating very decently because of the place I was born in.
That couldn’t be said for other countries, like say, the United States. There, unless you live in a city, cooking is an essential skill and not something you do necessarily because you like it. Food becomes part of survival; a chore.
I wouldn’t want to say that I am the antithesis of food writers and bloggers, being the essential villain of a non-existing story of food writing. But it is partly true that this blog is in part born out of pure, unadulterated hatred for eating less than desirable meals.
Maybe it is having a mother who could care less about portion control and only having 3 reliable recipes. Maybe it is the places that don’t give me a proper sandwich when I ordered one. But if I were to pinpoint one single moment, it would be China.
It was an 8 day trip to China, part of a cheap package tour. Scenery, delicious local food, pretty souvenirs, all promises of what we will get. In this roughly week long trip, I got to know what it means to be a food tester. Each catered meal was a slight variation on the previous, having some lightly stir fried vegetables, some tofu, egg drop soup, wood ear mushrooms, and stir fried chicken with celery. It must have been some sort of a prank. Because I swore I ate the same meal every single day for lunch and dinner, sometimes with an addition of one or two “local delicacies”. An introduction to Peking duck brought me an overly salty dish, with dry meat and no signs of the crispy skin that it was synonymous with. Restaurants we were brought to either only have tourist groups customers, or we were the only one in it. To make things worse, in one of the meals I found an aluminium string in one of the dishes. Somehow, I have managed to eat imitation Chinese food in freaking China.
Because of the tight travelling schedule that goes with packaged tours, and the guilt that comes from wasting edible (in a broader sense of the word) food, there was hardly time to look for actual local food. A relief from all of that was from a local fast food chain selling Roujiamo. Unlike any of the food establishments before, locals were patronizing here. The food did not hold back in its flavors, hitting just the right amount of salt, and the fresh fragrance of the spices gave my palette something new and different.
I tasted authenticity. In a fast food restaurant.
Coming back from the trip, I found myself to be more picky about food. While I wouldn’t consider myself a foodie yet, I started this blog many months later on a whim. The name “Just a Fat Boi” embodies what I was when I started this. I was no foodie. I was no journalist or writer. I was not a chef. I don’t know what many food were supposed to taste like. I certainly didn’t know shit about how food was connected to cultures. I knew how certain food were made, but close attention to the details aren’t something you can ask me for. I only wanted to eat things that are not terrible. I was just a fat boy.
As the writings continue, and my obsession with watching food videos and recipes becoming an addiction, I find myself intrigued with food. I find myself wanting to contribute to the world of food. I also find myself wanting to work for the food industry, though I haven’t quite found suitable opportunities in that department.
Here in my blog, you will find me writing anything about food that intrigues me. It might be a review, something related to food history, some kind of guide; any sort of food related topic. There is no specific topic, because my goal is that I want to be able to absorb any and all information about food. I don’t only want to know what a dish tastes like. I want to know how it is made. In what other countries can I find this? What did it look like in the past? How did it go from this place to here, on my plate? Where is a place I can find the best place of this thing, and where is the worst? What are similar dishes of different cultures, but called a different name? What makes them different?
I can’t promise you that I have the best skills necessary to produce these content, but I can promise you that everything you find here is done with earnest research and fascination with the topic of food, and all opinions will be an honest one.
Thank you for reading this all the way to the end.