Ryan Chen (@ryanc_sggluttony)
Ryan is currently an undergraduate at Columbia University in New York who describes himself in a very relatable manner as "just another stressed-out Singaporean seeking an avenue for escapism; I found mine in pigging out!". He found his own unique way to feed his foodie adventures by earning income from his other passions - photography and music. Though Singapore is known for its high cost of living, "the one blessing that we do have is that of an endless, bountiful access to cheap and awesomely delicious local delights," Ryan added.
Ryan started his blogging journey while serving National Service. "There is nothing more satisfying than a lovely serving of wokhei rich Hokkien Mee to break the dreary (and horrifying) monotony of in-camp food," he added. Ryan was also driven to savour as many local gems as possible before they close for good. It is a common narrative these days that younger Singaporeans shy away from the back-breaking hawker businesses that the older generation has carried for years. Ryan wanted to ensure he had experienced them before leaving the country to study in New York, fearful that by the time he returns these Singaporean institutions would have been already etched into the annals as fond memories from the past.
When you started, did you create an elaborate plan or was it very casual?
It started off as merely a personal, Instagram diary to commemorate my foodie adventures; it was meant to make no sense to anyone else but myself. And so it very much came as a surprise as the follower count started climbing.
Do you have any inspirations you look to for your content?
I tremendously enjoy the food vlogs such as Buzzfeed's Worth It series, as well as Mike Chen from Simply Dumpling. However, I have not yet overcome my camera shyness to front my own vlog channel yet so... maybe in the future!
What are your top 3 favourite dishes and which place served it best?
This is a tough one. It's like having to choose the favorite of your own children! If compelled I'd say what first comes to mind
1. Hokkien Mee - Swee Guan
Swee Guan: https://www.munch.app/places/187c6663-05b3-485a-b140-e31f5a0aaf6b
2. Claypot Rice - Geylang Claypot Rice
Geylang Claypot Rice: https://www.munch.app/places/4ce1c569-267a-458b-80ef-bd54cc14f74f
Image credit: @ryanc_sggluttony
Tong Heng: https://www.munch.app/places/44644ee0-80de-4b8d-8a5d-b23b74be95fe
Image credit: @ryanc_sggluttony
But there's so many more I'd love to mention!
If there were a dish that was your nemesis on this food journey, what would it be?
I wouldn't call any particular dish a nemesis... but I would call out what I would deem as a superficial double-standardness in the way many Singaporeans view our local food; while I very much appreciate the cuisines of other cultures (with a particular bias for Japanese cuisine, which I simply LOVE), it seems silly to me that Singaporeans would be quick to call out pricey local dishes as pretentious and avoid them, yet gladly pay the same price for a non-local dish that was probably a lot less complicated to make! That's... just kinda sad.
What advice do you have for those who might want to start food blogging or Instagramming?
To risk copyright claims from a certain athletic brand... Just Do It! Don't go into blogging with the intent of making a career or even side gig out of... do it out of passion and you'll find much enjoyment in the process!
Where can people find out more about you?
You can find me via my Instagram handle @ryanc_sggluttony.