In recent years, food reviewing has become more and more popular among Vietnamese millennials who consider social network platforms such as Instagram and YouTube part of their life.
The popular photo and video-sharing social networking service Instagram has quickly become a ‘food heaven’ for many Vietnamese food reviewers to introduce their works to the world.
Vu My Linh, a Hanoi-based food reviewer, named her account nofoodphobia, a word she coined to describe her special phobia – the fear of having no food.
Linh now has a follower base of 61,300 on her two-year-old account, where she publishes one post a day, a frequency she says is much enough to make her followers “lost” in a land of colorful photos capturing foods from restaurants to streets.
“Being a food reviewer, I have the chance to try different kinds of food, access many different cuisines from Vietnam to China, South Korea and the Europe,” Linh shared.
“The job has also earned me a small income from restaurants which invite me to review their dishes, and I will spend this money on my street food experience, or on delicacies at cool places that I want to recommend for my followers,” she added.
The 22-year-old food reviewer did not hesitate to express her expectation of making her account a professional page for food reviewing with plenty of eye-catching and mouth-watering photos.
Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh City-based Nguyen Huu Quynh Nhu started her iamfoodtester account around three years ago just because she wanted to have a place to release a huge amount of food photos she had captured before.
“It didn’t look good if I just posted the photos, so I began to mention the places of eating and my reviews for the food in every post,” she recalled the early days of iamfoodtester.
Nhu now has over 37,700 followers on her Instagram, which is frequently updated with new reviews.
Many of the followers consider Nhu’s account a reference whenever they want to eat something in Saigon.
In the meantime, another Vietnamese food reviewer, Dao Hong Phuong Anh, attracts fans as she provides reviews for not only food in her country but also in the U.S., where she is doing a BA course in programming and completing a master’s degree in business administration.
Anh has been running imdatingfood over the past years in both countries with the help from her friends.
Sharing with Tuoi Tre News during her summer break stay in Vietnam, the 21-year-old said she has kept her work as a passion because it makes her happy and feel “useful” when helping people getting to know good places to eat.
Her Instagram account has had some 41,400 followers.
From award to main job
There are also Vietnamese food reviewers, like 24-year-old Vu Trong Ninh, who take their job seriously, rather than a just-for-fun hobby.
Ninh started sharing photos about his daily meals, his regular coffee shops and his travel trips on Instagram two years ago, and soon determined to consider this a career.
Ninh was listed among the top four influencers for food in Vietnam at the Influence Asia 2017, an award by the Singapore-based influencer marketing company Gushcloud in honoring individual or group achievements in the social media influence industry across Asia.
“It was then that I realized what I have shared does have an impact on young people, and from that point on, I am always aware of what I do and put my heart into it,” Ninh told that via email from Hanoi.
Since October 2017, Ninh has considered food reviewing his main job.
The 24-year-old now posses a follower base of 73,800 on his Instagram account ninheating, and 128,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel Ninh Tito.
“I will pursue this job for long because it took me hard to make up my mind and this is also the job that I am really passionate about,” he confirmed.
According to Ninh, his main income from the job comes from restaurants which invite him to try their dishes and pay him for reviewing.
“During the first year, I only used money from my own pocket for the food I reviewed, and currently I have got 30 percent of the expenses sponsored by eateries,” Ninh shared.
But the food reviewer has had to go a long way to reach this point, he admitted.
“You have to build up your reputation and reach a certain position in this industry, before you get invited by eateries,” he added.
However, Ninh said he does not only wait for invitations from restaurants, but also has to explore good places to share with people on his own.
“Once you consider it your main job, you have to keep it constantly stable and fresh, which requires you to publish new posts every day,” he said.