Interview with Food Blogger - Girlmeetscooking.com

Celia Hu

Celia Hu

Girlmeetscooking.com is a personal blog, documenting my adventures with food.  I develop my own step-by-step recipes, as well as give my personal opinions on restaurants I've visited.  It's also a mini travel guide, as food is a crucial part of any journey.  Through my travels, I absorb culinary traditions from across the globe - it's a great way of educating my palate and of exploring diverse cultures, one bite at a time.  The most important criteria for my restaurant reviews is an honest voice, because I personally stand behind every comment I make. How / when did you get into food writing? Do you do anything else food related?

 
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Celia Hu pic

Celia Hu pic

I started Girlmeetscooking.com a year and a half ago; firstly as a cooking blog to encourage people to cook more often at home.  Most of my friends in Hong Kong work long hours in finance or law and don't have much time to cook.  So I created easy-to-follow, quick recipes that can usually be achieved within 20 minutes, so anyone can have a nutritious home-cooked meal.  Through my recipes, I want to instill the idea that you don't need a Cordon Bleu education to cook well and that everyone can be a master chef in their own kitchen.

Who have you written for?

Two years ago, when I first decided on a career change, my dream job was to write for a lifestyle magazine.  I'm incredibly thankful for the opportunities that I've since been given, and am now the Editor-at-Large as well as co-owner of Foodie magazine.  I've also been featured in HK Magazine and SCMP, two of my go-to publications in Hong Kong.  Being a food writer gives me extraordinary access into the F&B industry and I've grown to really love and respect the trade. I've also been involved in television production, a childhood dream of mine.  This past January, I filmed The Amazing Food Challenge with the Asian Food Channel in the Philippines and I've also done a couple more cameos in local and international food-oriented programs.  My dream would be to have my own food / cooking show.

Is it a hobby/job? Is it possible to earn money as a food blogger in HK?

Food blogging paved the path to my job as a food journalist.  Having said that, I think the HK blogging community is still too juvenile to fully comprehend the importance of reputable bloggers.  A balanced voice should be encouraged, rather than cheaply executed fluff pieces that are written for promotional reasons.  With Hong Kong's high rent, I don't think it's possible to earn a living solely as a food blogger, but blogging is a great way to build up a portfolio of your writings and viewpoints.  I hope one day, Hong Kong's blogging scene will be sophisticated enough to rival those of North America and then we'll be able to afford to give food bloggers the credit they deserve.

Where are you from/how long have you been in HK?

I was born in Beijing and immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, when I was seven.  I've been calling Hong Kong home for the past 8 years and love the juxtaposition of cultures here.

Celia Hu cooking

Celia Hu cooking

How has the food scene evolved in HK in the last year?

The food scene has really flourished in the past few years.  When I first arrived in Hong Kong, the best restaurants were in the 5-star hotels.  Today, restaurateurs are taking more risks, and stepping out of the conventional "box".  They are more daring with unique restaurant concepts and there's also a sizable influx of investors streaming out of the banking sector to endorse new projects; as finance loses its lustre in the post-2008 era.

How are you promoting your blog?

I don't do much promotion for my own blog.  I do have a Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram feed, but I don't believe in being a slave to social media.  I’d rather have my blog reach a select group of people who are passionate about food, then spam a large number of people who have no interest.  I also don't believe in adding 50 hashtags behind each post!

What are some of your favorite food businesses in HK?

I like to support the small, grassroots vendors who are running a food business with passion and heart.  The F&B industry is not for the faint-hearted and can be brutal and highly competitive.  Some of my favorite local food businesses include Twins Kitchen and Sook. I'm also working on a restaurant concept with a few friends, opening this summer, so I guess I can also say I'm dabbling in the restaurant business!

Anything missing from Hong Kong's food scene?

Food trucks and authentic Northern Chinese food!  In North America, gourmet food trucks have become an integral part of our lifestyles.  And being a Beijinger, I miss all the savory pastries and robust meats that we have in the North.  It'd be a dream come true to have a food truck that sells hipster Beijing duck "tacos" in Hong Kong!

What is your favorite cuisine?

My favorite cuisine has to be Chinese, because of its diversity and range.  China spans a massive, diverse geography, reaching across various climate zones, with cooking techniques and ingredients specially adapted to each unique environment.  Throw in the cultural diversity of the country's 56 ethnic tribes and you've got a pretty interesting mix of cuisines.  Also, I am in awe of how Chinese chefs can do the most intricate knife work with only a simple cleaver.