Good Food or Good Vibes?

Slipping on her cream colored, floral sandals, Joanna finally finishes off your outfit. Her DSLR camera is charged from the day beforeready to shoot. Different from her usual attire (a plain tee and denim shorts), the laces of her skirt and black top perfectly matches the occasion. Joannbenjamin-browns-15a finds her three friends already sitting down after arriving at The Benjamins. Decorated in an industrial-retro fashion, the cafe is colored with chalkboards, brown and beige walls, and soft lights that settle the ambience. They begin to examine the menu. Of course, it is imperative to order the old and famous ‘Over the Top’ milkshake, a $16 diabetic and exaggerated shake topped with more junk such as cakes, nutella, cookies, and pretzels. Then, she orders a mere 200 gram Canadian pork chop for $25 as her main. But how many meals at a food court could she have bought with that whopping $41? Why do people still go around finding these trendy eateries? Is it for the quality of the food? For just the Instagram photo? Or, is it for the ambiance and service?

“The prices were too high for the quality of the items. I felt like I could recreate most of the items on their menu,” says Joanna Effendy, a sophomore at SAS who recently had lunch at The Benjamins.

In addition, April Yoon, another sophomore, simply states that the food was “decent.” Nothing extraordinary. Is it worth blowing more than double the amount you usually spend just to taste “decent” and “average” food at these aesthetic cafes and restaurants? How about devouring a generous bowl of char kway teow for just $2.50 at a hawker stall?

Pasta from “The Workbench” ($13) or Char Siew Noodle from the Newton Food Centre ($2.50)?

The $24+ breakfast options at Wild Honey, an all day breakfast restaurant, often simply contain egg, bread, and additional sides. Personally, I feel that my mother could make an equally-delicious meal with the same ingredients. The atmosphere of these cafes and restaurants seem to build the quality of the food rather than the actual food itself. Meals taste better if they are enjoyed at nice atmospheres. Food, of course, is important; however, other factors like the ambience come into account. Singaporeans and students at SAS also enjoy the looks of the foods and desserts at these places.

Gooey, chocolate syrup drizzled onto a strawberry-topped waffle: Totally insta-worthy. A colorful plate of golden, grilled hotdogs, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, and seasoned greens: Totally instagrammable. But a bowl of fishball noodle soup or plate of chicken rice? Not so much.

April Yoon says, “I go because of nice photos, good vibes, and usually-interesting or good food.”

She never forgets to take photos of her meal before she takes a bite. Constantly updated with new photos every second, the hashtag #food on Instagram contains 190,416, 631 photos as of today. Food photography is said to be pretty recent phenomenon. To take well-crafted, mouth-watering images of food, many people visit these aesthetic cafes and restaurants in Singapore.

“These photos look appetizing. They stand out and enhance my instagram feed with color,” says Jacqueline Lee. She had uploaded her meals from the Pompompurin Cafe and Sunday Folks. “I really like how the photos bring out a very relaxed atmosphere,” she continues.

Visiting these aesthetic eateries multiple times a week would be too excessive. No one wants to be left with an empty wallet. However, when wanting to escape from the usual, taste diverse foods, experience new atmospheres, and – of course – rack up some quality photos and bragging rights, these venues become memorable occasions.

Author: Mi Le Jang

Mi Le Jang is a second-year reporter of The Eye. She is a Junior at SAS, and it is her 13th year at SAS. In her free time, Mi Le enjoys shooting and editing videos, making art, and being with her friends and family. You can probably find her hanging in the media lab alone, but she can also be contacted at jang30003@sas.edu.sg

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