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I hope that by putting good Johor hawkers and restaurants on the World Wide Web, more people will come to realise that Johor is truly a food paradise. Tony, Johor Kaki

Interview with Tony of Johor Kaki
What should your visitors be expecting while researching your blog?
Tony: I write from the perspective of a man in the street. I am no chef, food critic nor food connoisseur at all.

I am just an ordinary food lover who pens my experiences in a blog.

I try my best to describe the food in detail and as accurately as possible. I express my opinions about the food based on my personal preferences but the detailed descriptions also allow the visitors to decide for themselves if the food is for them or not.

I pen down my observations about the people and places connected to the food, to give the visitor a deeper idea about the food.

As they say, “a picture paints a thousand words” and since I also love photography, visitors will find too many photographs in my blog posts.

What is your definition of an ideal/perfect meal?
Tony: To me, an ideal meal is any meal that is lovingly prepared.

It doesn’t need to be Michelin Starred or have a 1-year waiting list. It doesn’t have to accord me bragging rights.

It could be mum’s or pop’s cooking. A quick and easy meal I cooked for myself. A partner’s cooking. A friend’s cooking. A hawker’s cooking.

Old style chwee kway (rice cakes) from the old hawker at the street corner. The all-in-one-mouthful 一口飯 nasi lemak wrapped in banana leaf and old newspaper from the friendly makcik at the dusty street side stall.

Just any food prepared lovingly is a perfect meal for me.

Because it’s a gift.

Food from which Asian country do you like the most?
Tony: I like Singapore and Malaysia food the most because of it’s diversity. Say, if I am in Thailand and visit a bustling food street, there are many stalls but almost all are selling Thai food. If I go to Hong Kong, a food street will mostly sell HK Chinese food. In Singapore / Malaysia, on the same street, I can get Chinese, Indian and Malay food all together at once. That’s why they are more special to me.

What advice would you give to other bloggers who just started their own food blog?
Tony: If you are getting into food blogging for the long haul, understand clearly why you are getting it.

There are many reasons for getting into food blogging and equally many reasons for getting out or giving up.

It’s essential to have a true love or passion for food. Only when one has passion can one endure and overcome the many ups and downs that invariably come during one’s food blogging journey.

For example, if “glamour” was the motivation, it’s hard to continue when there is no “glamour”. But, if you truly love food, the motivation is always there.

What do you wish to see more or less of the food blogging community?
Tony: Restaurants or their appointed Public Relations agencies are actively inviting food bloggers to tastings for marketing purposes. It is entirely possible to build a food blog based only on invited tastings and press releases.

I feel it is important to balance invited tastings with “discovery tastings” i.e. go food hunting and discover good food stalls, especially those that do not have the money and savvy to market themselves.

Editor Review of Johor Kaki

Johor Kaki blog is maintained by Tony, a food lover from Singapore, who built his passion and hobby to a whole new level. His blog is featured on many big sites around the web, and Tony managed to get his name and brand out there and become one of the most popular food blogs in the region. He gets 5 million views a month, and has very popular social media channels. He describes his experiences eating lovely food in Johor, especially those prepared by hawkers.

Visual Appeal – 76%

The site looks average. A big header and nice image show us Tony in some funny situation, entertaining at the first glance. The use of a standard theme hosted by Blogspot.com platform provided free by Google is not at all visually appealing. The site has two long sidebars showing off his awards and interesting features, with large number of archives that you can explore.

Images in his articles are vivid and sharp, fine looking to the eye. By the design side, it could have been better organized with menus and modern elements such as javascripts and jQuery.

Originality – 86%

The blog gives first hand info of how food is prepared with nice images and explanations. Not a truly unique idea, but Tony is one of the pioneers in this niche.

Tony’s interviews with chef owners give readers an inside look of the owner, his behavior, and the way they treat food, and prepare it. This is useful as readers get the feeling like they have been into the restaurant by themselves, and had a conversation with chefs/owners.

Practical Tips – 89%

JohorKaki displays lovely meals and experiences eating yummy food in Johor especially. His policy is – if he likes the meal, he asks owners of the shops/restaurants to write about them, and take pictures. So every article he writes about the food served in those places makes one crave the beautiful food. Also, every article is written with some info about the place, the owner, staff, and the meal that is going to be served. Careful instructions, with lots of bright and vivid images are added, which can be used as recipes easily. The readers get info about the restaurants, and Tony’s opinion on the food, the ambient and overall experience.

Web Usability – 74%

Tony’s site is running on the Blogger platform, which is ok for starters in the world of blogging, but he should consider getting an upgrade for his site, with self-hosted WordPress blog and a premium theme. Readability of the texts and articles on the blog is fine, if you’re coming to the site through computer.

The visitors are not able to browse through menus to help in navigating the sites more efficiently. Also, mobile usability of the site is bad, since site is not optimized for mobile users at all.

Tony’s blog, JohorKaki, is a good blog, popular and well written. With some technical advancements and fixes, this blog would be even better, and reach more success.

  • Winner of Best Singapore Food Blog 2013, 2014
  • Winner of Best Malaysia Food Blog 2013
  • Co-hosted Johor Bahru episodes of NTV7 “Foodie Blogger TV Series” in 2013 and 2014
  • Media Feature On

  • National Geographic Traveler Magazine
  • MY Paper
  • Wave Magazine
  • Infinéte Loop Media

Average Score of Johor Kaki – 81.25%

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Visual Appeal

  • Photography 84%
  • Website Design 68%

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Originality

  • Uniqueness 85%
  • Creativeness 87%

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Practical Tips

  • Usefulness 90%
  • Inspiration 88%

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Web Usability

  • Readability 78%
  • Ease of Navigation 70%