Saturday, December 19, 2009

WHY would you want to be a Food Blogger?

Why would you want to be a food blogger? Is it the prospect of a free meal? Is it to impart your knowledge and love of all things food inspired? Is it to connect with people? For me, it is about the total EXPERIENCE that sharing, preparing, and enjoying food brings. It could be the comical traffic jam on the way to the restaurant, it could be the bungled order, it could be food I've never tasted, it could be the view or the company, all of it being an aside to the food. I fell into the food blogging thing quite out of the blue. I love food, most people LOVE food, it is not uncommon for my discussions with friends and workmates to totally revolve around food we have eaten or made recently. But again, for me, I have found that through blogging, I have connected to so many new and interesting people which I may not have done without putting my experiences out there. By sharing my disasters, and triumphs, I have found that people I know well, show me a side of them I didn't know existed (food passion), and others I don't know at all, tell me they could feel my experience by reading my blog. How fantastic is that?

Pondering all this brings me to a wonderful experience I had recently when invited to Saigon Saigon Vietnamese restaurant, at Glebe, for dinner by the owner Susan Lay. Now as you all know, we were invited through the blogging community to the fab Jenius book launch of "I ate my way through Vietnam". That in itself is what I'm talking about. During the event, I met so many fascinating people, and found that most were connected by the food blogging "thing". Sponsoring this event was Saigon Saigon Vietnamese restaurant. Previously unconnected, Jennifer and Saigon Saigon also became so, through the food blogging "thing". Meeting with Susan on the night was delightful and sampling the food from Saigon Saigon was an absolute pleasure!! YaYa and myself really enjoyed talking to her and her sister who was helping promote the restaurant on the night. They were both vivacious, interesting, and fun so it was an absolute pleasure to receive an invitation to eat a meal at Saigon Saigon with Susan recently.

Now, in my past life (pre-kids) I used to frequent Glebe Point Road to eat, or for pre-work coffee. I hadn't managed to visit Saigon Saigon, but have been told that in its previous incarnation, it had a HOT PINK feature wall, no less! It has been running in its same position for the last 6 years, but has recently undergone an incredibly sexy reno with deep red walls, and soft lighting that literally cocoons you as you enter. The trickle of water from an inside water feature immediately greets you, as does a happy staff member, so you enter with a feeling of goodwill immediately.

I will say at this point that we arrived at 6pm so were the only ones in the restaurant on a Friday night thus far...if you entered at say, would be greeted by the lively chatter of full tables, the clink of cutlery and laughter which would immediately get you pumped to get seated and get started! This popular eatery has also doubled its size in its years of trade and with its new look, has bought in a new breed of clientele. It used to be a more casual local eatery, now it brings diners from further afield and with different expectations. At Saigon Saigon they are aware that they are now performing on a larger stage and have stepped up to the mark accordingly from a cheap and cheerful family run concern to a very stylish and slick operation.

Saigon Saigon is a vibrant and buzzing eatery whose very "redness" draws you in from the dark. Now as I mentioned, we were invited to eat with owner Susan Lay, and she posed the very same question to YaYa and I..."why do you food blog"? She was genuinely intrigued as to what it gives us - as to this point, we don't advertise on our blog so its obviously not commercial. This started a very long and involved conversation that covered all sorts of life and love questions. We dissected each dish, dishes we had eaten in the past, dishes we were to make in the future, our families, our working lives and even Susan's famous game nights at her home!

What we thought would be a quick dinner turned out into a fantastic night of the aforementioned "connection" and fun. We were there when all the other diners arrived, and were still there talking when most of those diners had finished their meals and left! What a great night we had. Now, I guess at this point I should begin to mention the food we shared. Don't think for a moment that all that talking diverted our attention from what we were eating! We were eager in our anticipation of the first dish and started with young coconut juice, and a Pineapple/Mint combination which were very different, but both delicious! Whilst waiting for our meals to arrive, we opened up a conversation about a theory that in any group situation, it would be possible to find our six degrees of separation! By this time

we were certain that we would have someone in common, or have a connection to someone in a high positions - even royalty. Susan won that round! The first dish to arrive was a delicious Lotus Root Salad with Duck, tasty and fresh, it was a delight. We followed this with a Salmon Clay Pot. Succulent cubes of salmon in a beautiful soy stock. Vietnamese Pancake....crispy outer coconut and rice flour crepe amazingly filled with fresh salads and meat. Beef Luc Lac arrived next which was peppery and YUM. The accompaniement was tasty Tomato Rice. Each dish was explained and enjoyed and by the time desserts came, we were so happy and content (also by this time we had been introduced to some friends of Susan's who arrived for a late dinner, sitting next to us, this added another unexpected and fun element to the dinner) none of us felt we could continue.

However, as often happens, our eyes can distract our tummies and when the deep fried banana fritters arrived, we all tucked in heartily! Then quick as a blink, the deep fried ice cream appeared, followed by Taro Sticky Rice all accompanied by bowls of sago and coconut milk.

On went the conversation comparing the methods of making deep fried icecream, (YaYa's family ran a well known local restaurant for many years and this was also on their menu) before we cracked it and demolished it. I am not usually a fan of this dessert, but I was really nicely surprised and enjoyed it more than the others! At this point, we simply HAD to stop the eating. So, at the end of such a fantastic experience YaYa and I shared with Susan, and with our theory put to bed (Ya Ya and Susan had mutual connections back in their uni days and we had already established who had the connection to royalty, all in 2-1/2 hours), I ask you reader, NOT why be a food blogger, but WHY WOULDN'T you be a foodblogger if it allows you to experience all this??????

Chuc uan ngon mieng or "cheers! enjoy!".

Saigon Saigon restaurant is located at 95-97 Glebe Point Road Glebe. 9660 3888.

Check out their website on and make sure you visit soon!


  1. The food was lovely and highly recommended but even better was meeting like-minded people with intelligent conversation. Live long and prosper!

  2. That food does look very delicious indeed! Sadly I missed out on the book launch but it sounded like lots of fun!

  3. those banana fritters were so yummy. susan is such a lovely person to talk to isn't she. glad you enjoyed the meal :-)

  4. Why? Because you love to eat good food and take beautiful photographs, oh yes and write! Is there any other reason? :D

  5. Hmmm, banana fritters .... I have a craving for Vietnamese food lately. :)