Kathmanduities love their food. We have already established that fact. Whether it is hanging out with friends or going out for a business meeting, as city dwellers, we find that most of our activities revolve around restaurants and cafes. So, perhaps, it was only about time that our love for food spilled over Instagram as well. Nepali ‘foodgrammers’ are experiencing a steady rise in their popularity these days.
These are youngsters who have turned their love/ necessity for eating into a bit of an Instagram trend among the Nepali cyber users. You have the likes of Mr. foodie, foodiesisters, Nepal.Food, just to name a few, all offering options for those eager to discover some of the best eatery joints ranging from across different price ranges and locations right here in Kathmandu and sometimes even beyond. What’s more, people are listening to them as well. Their food dedicated Instagram accounts tend to receive such good feedback that all three mentioned above are planning to expand to blogs and YouTube channels as well.
The Week caught up with Nepal Food to talk about its experience of running an Insta food dairy.
With more than 50,000 followers, Nepal.Food is the most popular Nepali Insta food diary around at the moment. Yet nobody is quiet sure who the account belongs to. He (yes, we can reveal, the account is run by a dude) explains that he was never really into social media to begin with. It was apparently when a friend of his discovered that he already had a habit of taking pictures of his food and also that his phone gallery was full of meals he had had, she convinced him to start an account. This was only a year ago. Now with thousands following him, he shares that conversations about food and restaurants have become even more frequent and entertaining. In fact, it’s his favorite part of running the account.
How do you choose and feature restaurants?
I hate cooking but trying new cuisines has always been an interest of mine. As any youngster in Kathmandu, I tend to frequently go out and eat with my friends so that’s pretty much it. My account doesn’t have any concept. Usually I finish work at five, so after that, I just take snaps of the food I have tried and enjoyed in my daily life.
I remember back when I was perhaps in 11th or 12th grade, there weren’t many options for us foodies. There weren’t many restaurants and the good ones were at Durbarmarg and they were expensive. But now we are spoilt with choices. We not only have variety in the cuisines available, there are even joints just dedicated to waffles or churros. Further, the culture of going out to eat has also increased. It’s great for us foodgrammers.
What do you think helped increase the number of your followers?
I didn’t resort to any promotions, advertisements or special methods. Initially, I used to post two photos a week but then I started uploading multiple photos in a day itself. After doing that, there was a noticeable spike in the number of my followers. So I believe the frequency of your posts helps build the momentum.
Also as a foodie, I was very loyal about sharing crucial information about the restaurants I featured. From the very beginning, I made it a point to mention prices, locations and my experiences. People really enjoyed that. They used to let me know about it via messages and I used to respond as well. I think being interactive also helps a lot.
How do you take pictures?
It is crucial for the food to be aesthetically pleasing so I give a lot of thought to the presentation aspect. I don’t have fancy camera equipment, but I’m studying filmmaking so I guess I also have an eye for this kind of thing and that really helps. Your effort shows in the pictures and they tend to garner more likes than those photos that have been randomly taken. When I scroll through other Nepali food enthusiasts on Instagram, I think they all would do well if they paid a little more attention to this aspect.
What do you think about the business prospects available for Nepali foodgrammers?
It’s been a couple of months that the restaurants have been getting in touch for collaborations. So I have had a good share of free food so far. Since I always used to be on a lookout for new restaurants anyways, this helps me too.
Even at times when I don’t have the time to go to a certain place, there have been a few who have asked me to post pictures from their restaurants for some money. I don’t entertain those offers. If I haven’t been to a place, I don’t feature them. Otherwise, places where we do have a deal, I get about Rs 1000 per photo.
Similarly, recently when I was traveling to Butwal, I asked for suggestions on where to catch a meal. I got many replies, some restaurants from the area even got in touch. This will be my first out of valley food posts soon.
The restaurants are interested because they obviously spot an easy promotion opportunity. Now I don’t know a lot about business prospects yet but we could get there someday. I’m looking forward to expanding this with a YouTube channel and it should be up in around a month’s time.