When was the last time you ate at a restaurant without pausing to take a photo of your food first?
Quick, check your Twitter feed or Facebook photo albums: how many of those photographs are of memorable meals or great restaurants? If the answer is “a lot,” you’re not alone.
As for me, I can’t remember a time when I went to a new restaurant without checking the menu in advance on the MunchPunch site, reading reviews from trusted critics and previous diners who share their experiences on online journals. Some Twitter friends have even weighed in on whether I should order the truffle pasta or the mushroom risotto. The once intimate act of dining has now become fodder for the social networks.
That Internet-based developers have recognized people’s voyeuristic approach to dining is apparent with the mushrooming of social network sites and apps dedicated to food.
There’s Foodspotting, an app that lets you take photos of the dishes you ordered, upload the photos on your Foodspotting stream, with a corresponding rating, a brief description and the coordinates so interested followers can also visit the restaurant. Then there’s Glam Media’s latest foray into the growing online obsession with food, via Foodie.com, a social network dedicated to foodies where the conversation revolves around food, food and food. Not much gossip here, but you may just find a good recipe for chicken piccata that your Italian friend has recently uploaded.
Now that’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. Online foodies can cull content to suit their specific needs.
Into baking but not into savory dishes? Then head over to BakeSpace, a warm community for the oven obsessed. It’s not only for sharing favorite cupcake recipes; the site also helps you create your own cookbook and market it to other BakeSpace members. Even people in the business of food can log on to FoodService.com, where restaurateurs can network, rant, rave or share.
For the trigger-happy foodies, popular toy camera app Hipstamatic has recently released a filter meant for taking photos of food. How’s that for ubiquity?
Apart from the thrill you get by virtually sharing a good meal to followers and friends, this social network also makes hunting for food while traveling a joy. You don’t have to stick to tourist traps or blockbuster queues at guidebook-approved restaurants. You can now eat like a local, thanks to location-based social network sites and apps. Because just like most experiences and encounters, dining, too is more fun when discovered off the beaten path. •
Four apps and sites to check out to score recipes and suggestions on which new restaurants to visit and what new dishes to try
1. Epicurious (https://www.epicurious.com) or Epicurious app (iPad, Free)
Hobbyist chefs, housewives or newbie cooks might want to check out this recipe-filled site. Each recipe has a degree of difficulty listed, as well as several versions of the dish, along with a review by people who’ve tried making the dish.
2. iCookbook ($4.99)
If you’ve ever tried using your iPhone or iPad as a cookbook, you’re not alone. iCookbook features rated recipes updated regularly. The app can help you create a meal plan for the week or plan a menu for that dinner party you’re hosting. It not only prints your chosen recipe, it can also read it out for you when you are hands-deep in batter or dough.
3. MunchPunch (https://www.munchpunch.com)
We don’t know when it happened, but MunchPunch has become an essential
tool in the Filipino diner’s life. Whether you are checking out delivery menus or looking for a restaurant to try, MunchPunch’s detailed info lets you make an informed decision on where to chow down next and how much budget to set aside.
4. Yelp (iOS, Free)
One of the first food sharing apps in the scene, Yelp is still one of the best apps to check out when looking for nearby dining haunts, complete with ratings and searchable lists according to budget, distance and restaurant hours.