Noey Neumark sits on a miniature blue stool – Ha Noi’s classic throne – admiring the bowl of banh da tron (flat noodles) she ordered from a food vendor. Vietnamese food is just so pretty,” she says. “It’s very photogenic.”
As if on cue, she hands over the bowl to her boyfriend, Peter Petracca, who stands up to photograph their meal, occasionally shifting to get the perfect angle and lighting.
They upload the photo to Instagram, where their 5,400-plus followers can feast their eyes upon their latest culinary find. Using the Instagram handle @vietnomnom, the American couple has successfully tapped into the social media sphere by giving people the eye candy they want: colourful, mouthwatering meals, with clever captions and addresses detailing where to find the food. The couple now hopes to hand off their Instagram account to a new successor. They recently moved to Thailand and will move back to the US later this year. But they will continue to publish new content to their Instagram account throughout March.
In Vietnam, food-ordering websites like eat.vn and vietnammm.com have proven popular for discovering new restaurants. But street eats have largely been uncharted. Instagram has emerged as a creative crowdsourcing tool for finding food vendors by clicking and sifting through hashtags like “#Vietnamesefood” and “#feastagram”.
“For foreigners that don’t know what things mean — all these Vietnamese words that describe the noodle type, or things that are in it, or how it’s made — having a lookbook of all the delicious foods in any given place is nice,” said Petracca.
Ha Noi-based travel blogger Sarah Attaway, 24, said she frequently searches for “#Hanoifoodie” on Instagram to find off-the-beaten-path restaurants throughout the city. She said Instagram is an easy way for foreigners to learn the local cuisine, especially in Ha Noi, where some of the best food vendors eschew menus.
“I think that street food is kind of intimidating, especially for an expat. So it’s nice to have some kind of a reference point,” said Attaway, who hails from Arizona, the US. Read More