web analytics

Foodie Senses: Sight

Foodie Senses: Sight – Gyotaku Lunch Box

From the first installment on SMELL, we move to the Foodie’s next sense, SIGHT. What visually excites us about food.

Presentation is a major factor in what we perceive is something good to eat. Regardless if it tastes mediocre, if the presentation of a dish is visually appealing, that alone could sway some folks’ overall opinion of it. Kinda’ like an extremely beautiful woman or very handsome man with a really bad attitude — hey, what the heck, at least they’re good to look at. Right? LOL


There’s no question French and Japanese cuisine are top-of-mind for me when it comes to incredible food presentation, with a focus on attention to detail. From the meticulous cutting techniques, the contrasting colors, to the way the food is arranged on the plate and artistic methods sauces are applied, down to the style of and way the dishware and utensils are arranged.


Again, Japanese cuisine is top of mind for me when it comes to the visual senses, not only in static presentation, but also presentation in MOTION. Case in point, Teppanyaki, made famous by Benihana. Nothing like sitting by a smokin’ hot flattop grill as your personal chef chops, slices and dices your food with the flipping, twirling and tossing skills of a  “Kitchen Ninja”. And carving names and messages into cucumbers, tossing shrimp high into a hat with no misses, and making a smoking volcano out of an onion.

Or it could be simply watching the breakfast cook prepare your personalized omelet to order, adding the requested cheddar, chopped tomatoes, mushrooms and bell peppers to the fresh-eaten eggs as he or she skillfully flips it over in the hot buttered pan.

Food for show.


Food in still photography and video is bigger than ever, no pun intended, thanks of course to the Food Network, the web and social media, with Pinterest alone making up a huge portion of photos from this blog alone being shared there, based on stats.

While most restaurants are happy their customers take photos of their dishes and upload it immediately via “check-in” to Yelp as well as Facebook, some have taken ire to it, due to people being inconsiderate to their fellow diners, from standing on their chair for an above-the-dish angle, to annoyingly excessive and offensive use of their flash.

Thankfully smartphone cameras have dramatically improved in recent years that rival dedicated entry to mid-level point and shoots, almost rendering them obsolete. Where now many of the foodie photos people are posting from their phone cameras on sites such as Yelp are SO MUCH BETTER than they were back when low resolution cellphone cameras were mediocre at best.


One of the things that excites me most visually about food are its vast variety of COLORS. Either the norm or unusual. Carrots in both orange and purple. A white-fleshed watermelon. A blue Kona lobster. Simply adding chopped green onion as garnish to a dish to “freshen it up”.  Blackened cross-hatch grill markings on my flame-grilled steak ’n burgers? Oh yeah. A crimson red cherry topping the creamy white whipped cream? Yes please, thank you very much.


Above all for me, while in every sense it is, especially VISUALLY, FOOD IS ART. From the way the Thai make beautiful floral carvings out of fruits and vegetables, to how skillful, highly trained pastry chefs create incredibly complex and detailed sculptures out of sugar, with the resulting piece worthy of the finest museums.


8 thoughts on “Foodie Senses: Sight

  • March 26, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Pomai, that not hard in Chinese teahouse.  All those dim sums coming at you in

    push carts make almost anyone crazy to not take some thing good looking to try.

  • March 26, 2015 at 10:56 am

    When I at the Genki Sushi the converyor belt moving fast make so hungry for almost

    all the sushis and other food that pass by me.  I could spend a lot eating there but

    self control is on me .  Seeing food can make people buy something if it look so good.

  • March 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Ever notice restaurants menu getting more fancy with pictures to make customers

    order more?   It good sale tactics and it work in lot restaurants.

  • March 26, 2015 at 11:27 am

    @ Vickie  – Yup, I tend to choose menu items that have a nice photo vs. ones that are only in text. Or they can do like Sunny Chinese Restaurant in Kalihi and plaster pictures of the menu items all over every square in of wall space…

    @ Kassy – Ah, yes “robot sushi”, another great example of food presentation in motion. Then you have the art of Nude Sushi….

    Nothing like feeling horny and hungry at the same time, thanks to some visual stimulation. LOL!!!

    @ Amy – Honestly, I’ve never thought of Chinese cuisine as having a high priority on presentation and attention to detail, but more simply on flavor and speed in getting the dishes out. I mean, yeah, if you go to a high end Chinese restaurant you’ll get all of the above, but in general, Chinese is all flavor, speed and bang for the buck.

  • March 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I’m on board with the sashimi plate.

  • March 27, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Pomai, in buffet restaurants the begining the spread at the steamed tables look so

    good which make eyes more hungry than the stomach.  Overload in food on plates

    can’t finish it at time.   Learn to put just a spoonful on plate now and not drink water or

    soft drink till the end.

  • March 27, 2015 at 8:33 am

    “We eat with our eyes”… reminds me of the wax meals that Japanese Restaurants (and later, others) used as displays in their windows and entrances. Not to mention that seldom are the burgers, steaks, etc. shown in TV ads as “big” or “stacked” in person. But do those ads ever fail to get us into the restaurant?

  • March 27, 2015 at 9:09 am

    @ Pat – Right down to and past the last remaining Shiso leaf. lol

    @ Kelike – Ah yes, the good ‘ole “Eyes are bigger than the stomach” crisis. I always feel bad when I can’t finish an entire piece of something I grabbed. Or worse, not even touching it. Shame, shame, shame.

    @ Keith-San – Unlike American fast food restaurants with deceptively stylized menu item photos on their ads, at least with Japanese restaurants (for the most part), the food you actually get served looks pretty much identical to the plastic (or wax?) “sampuru” displays out front. Amazing!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: