Jan 17, 2019

Masarap o hindi masarap? No food review has ever been more straightforward. With more than 170,000 followers on Facebook and over 220,000 on Instagram, Masarap ba? has already garnered a cult following that takes the account’s pronouncements as gospel truth. And why not, since the accuracy of reviews is close to perfect? The honesty and the humor, which can sometimes be amiss with self-proclaimed digital influencers, are exactly what Filipino diners need in this juncture. How exactly does he or she do it? Kat Abaan Jr. answers some questions:       

What inspired Masarap ba?’s conception?

Mahilig kasi ako kumain so lagi akong nagbabasa-basa ng mga blogs noon; kaso lagi akong nadi-disappoint dahil hindi naman pala masarap. Ganda ng pictures, haba ng sinulat, pero bola lang pala. Later on, nalaman ko sa friend ko na blogger na ini-invite pala sila usually ng restos—so siyempre nakakahiya nga naman magsabi ng hindi masarap kasi nilibre sila. Ayun naisip ko, gawa ako ng super simpleng anonymous na Instagram account. Using my own money, direct to the point! Sa captions naman, ganoon kasi talaga ako mag-describe. I never thought na lalaki siya talaga.

Why do you choose to be anonymous?

Para honest pa rin ang mabigay kong reviews. Kapag kilala na kasi nila ako, for sure, sasarapan na nila ang luto at lalakihan ang servings. Gusto ko normal paying guest pa rin. Very private lang din talaga ako. Hindi ako show off, gusto ko low profile lang. Allergic ako sa selfies at ootds.

How do you choose the food that you feature?

Very ramdon talaga kung saan ako mapadpad and depende sa budget ko rin. Nowadays, medyo dine-dedicate ko ang oras ko sa paghahanap ng mga bagong local sellers so medyo nagre-research din. But usually talaga, I just go with the flow. Parang destiny, naks!

Sa ngayon din, I get a lot of requests from “ka-kultos” so pinagbibigyan ko talaga lalo na kung may bago sa popular fast-food chains or grocery item. Hindi daw kasi nila kakainin hanggang walang go signal from me.  Ganoon sila ka-loyal.

 

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(Read: Dine-in or take-out, this resto’s lechon Macau retains its crackling skin and tender meat)

What is the process behind declaring food as masarap or hindi masarap?

Wala naman siyang strict na step-by-step process—ang boring ng ganoon. Instinct lang talaga siguro; well-trained na ang dila. [It’s] difficult to explain, pero it’s like a “knowing.” Wala lang siguro kasi akong doubt sa utak ko. I just know kung papatok siya o hindi. Dala ng years of experience na rin sa culinary, plus pagiging well-traveled. Medyo “feeler” din ako sa food. I don’t know kung weird pakinggan, pero maliban sa panlasa, nararamdamam ko din kung masarap or hindi, based sa nagiging feelings or emotions ko while dining. I’d have visions in my head or recall vivid memories of events and flavors. Likas na matalas ang memory ko sa panlasa. Sobrang fun siya for me.

What’s your stand on advertisers who approach you to feature their product?

Medyo marami sila, but I usually decline. I rarely agree. And sinasabi ko talaga sa brands na I decline, dahil hindi masarap. Buti hindi naman sila nagagalit.

Can you share brands that you’ve helped and became extremely popular because of your posting?

Dream Cake ng Le Sucre Lab, cookies ng Two Bakers PH, laing ni Bulaylay Laing, zero-sugar peanut butter ng Gng. Bukid, and cassava cake ng Mango Grill Manila.

Sa mga kilala naman, sobrang nag-trend yung Chick ‘n’ Cheese hotdogs ng Purefoods, IndoMie instant noodles, Nestea Milktea, pati na rin ang muling pagsikat ng Lil Orbits.

What do you wish to attain with your posts, especially looking at the future?

Magpasaya pa rin and at the same time makatulong lalo na sa mga upcoming local talents. Dati kasi, nagsimula sa puro restaurant features lang. Ngayon, gusto ko mas maging meaningful, not just another food blog; kung hindi isang channel para makatulong sa mga startups na wala namang budget pambayad ng ads or endorsers. Gusto ko rin maging positive role model para sa iba, na mayroon pa rin mga taong honest and who stick to their principles.

 

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(Read: Indulge in bagnet, salted egg, and bone marrow without feeling too guilty)

How do you handle bashers?

I consider them as my biggest fans. Effort eh! Mindset lang talaga.

What’s the pinaka-masarap food item you’ve featured?

Oh no, ang hirap! Depende kasi sa mood talaga. Pero sa ngayon, unang pumasok sa isip ko yung Roast Beef ni @benedictokitchenph. Nakakalaway. Mas mahilig din kasi talaga ako sa savory. Not much sa sweets.

 

 

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TAGS: 2018 food trends food food blog masarap ba where to eat in manila