Food & Drink
The Food on Your Plate (And Instagram Feed) is the New Status Symbol
Food posts have become a social media currency that is causing us all to gain weight.

“You are what you eat.”

The adage has never been truer in this society whose people now spend an average of four hours daily scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram feeds, documenting their every move for all their followers to see. What we eat has become a social representation of who we are. In the same way that it matters where we’re seen eating (Does one need a membership to dine there? Does it have an insane roof deck view or a month-long wait list?) and what we’re eating (Does it come from an establishment with long queues at its door? Is it flown in from halfway around the world? Does it have excessive golden flakes on it?). People are now flaunting their food as symbols of their wealth or beacons of a lavish lifestyle, one characterized by constant travels and members-only clubs. And if your #foodporn posts tick off at least one of those items above, then food is no longer merely a material form of nourishment anymore—it’s become a social statement.

The more exclusive the food find, the better, in the Instagram world. Although there is no doubt the flavors are interesting and the food items are worth lining up for, they remain icons of indulgence. Instead of stating that you are flying business class on Philippine Airlines, you may simply post a well-curated flatlay of a passport alongside a bowl of arroz caldo and it’s understood. No questions asked.

While “Instagram Food” serves as currency in social media, one simply can’t snap and dash. You're expected to eat the dish after spending five minutes finding the best filter for the photo and adjusting its light. Which leads us to another dilemma: The Instagram Food phenomenon is making us pack on pounds. Similarly, it’s been scientifically proven that just looking at food, already makes a person hungry. Eating with one's eyes is this generation’s version of gluttony.

Below, a list of food culprits associated with the jet-set lifestyle or coveted membership clubs and other exclusive venues:

Arroz Caldo

Where: Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles Lounge

One who has never flown Business Class on Philippine Airlines may not know that the arroz caldo is not served as it is in the photo below. It's served at a bar where passengers ladle their own bowls, with toppings like dilis, egg, garlic, and chopped spring onions available for their choosing.


A post shared by Philippine Airlines (@flypal) on

Noodle Bar

Where: Cathay Pacific The Pier First and Business Lounge

Apart from the Noodle Bar, The Pier also offers a variety of dim sum, which is also as popular. 

A post shared by Kim Jones (@kimcamjones) on

Raisin and Banana Bread

Where: Baguio Country Club

One needs a membership or a referral to enter the gates of Baguio Country Club. Once inside, members gather at the bakery to hoard loaves of raisin and banana bread, among other baked goods.  

The original #RaisinBread and #BananaBread  #ShaunEats #foodporn #BCCexperience ??? #Repost @shaunshine with @repostapp

A post shared by Baguio Country Club (@baguiocountryclub) on

Irvins Salted Egg Chips

Where: Irvins Singapore

There may be countless other imitations of salted egg chips but a true gourmand would know the Singaporean brand Irvins to carry the original. Some stores sell a maximum of five bags per customer.

Chocolate Crinkles

Where: Asian Development Bank

To get inside ADB premises, non-employees need an appointment and must go through stringent security measures. Only then can one head to the canteen and purchase the chocolate crinkles has named the "best in Manila." 

Garrett Popcorn

Where: Chicago, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, and elsewhere

The blue tin cans are icons in itself. This gourmet popcorn brand mixes cheese and caramel in perfect sweet and salty combination. The lines go out the door.

Ichiran Ramen

Where: Hong Kong, Japan, New York, Taiwan

More than the ramenwhich is delectable if you have it concocted rightIchiran lures in its customers with the novelty of having a solitary meal in one's own tiny cubicle, undisturbed by servers and those around.

A post shared by ICHIRAN (@ichiranjp) on

The Last Chukker's Brick Oven Pizza

Where: Manila Polo Club

You need a Polo Club membership to dine at The Last Chukker, well-known for its crisp brick oven pizza, chicken cooked beneath a brick, and paella, among others.

A post shared by Leslie (@shootfirsteatlater) on

Shake Shack Burgers

Where: U.S.A., Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, and more

Dubbed the East Coast equivalent of In 'N' Out, Shake Shack has expanded to other countries quicker than the aforementioned fast food chain had. While it has yet to make its way to the Philippines, a trip to the South Korean or Japanese branches may help sate cravings.

A post shared by SHAKE SHACK (@shakeshack) on

Fried Chicken with Grilled Corn, Mashed Potatoes, and Bacon Gravy

Where: Manila House

One needs a membership at the exclusive Manila House to eat at its various food establishments. Fortunately, you're now allowed to take photos and post them on Instagram, something that hadn't been allowed when the club first opened.

A post shared by Manila House (@manila_house) on

Porto's Cheese Rolls and Potato Balls

Where: Porto's Bakery, California


Even if Porto's baked goods are semi-perishable, Filipinos still take boxes of it back to the Philippines and hand-carry them on the plane.

Highlander Steak

Where: The Highlander Steakhouse, Tagaytay Highlands

You need to be a member of the exclusive golf club or a homeowner at Tagaytay Highlands to have that hefty steak at the log cabin-inspired restaurant.

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Hannah Lazatin
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