Back in March, we set out on a food trail across Singapore to curate a list of food recommendations for Challenge, an online publication for the Public Service Division. After an initial round of food tasting, we narrowed this list to 12 food spots. Our team then embarked on a three-day shoot to review, photograph and shoot these stalls and eateries.

Day 1: Central

With fresh spirits and grumbling tummies, we kicked off our food adventure at Zion Riverside Food Centre.

As it was our first stop, we found ourselves grappling with the task of having to take photos, jotting down notes and filming – all at the same time.

For Erin, the videographer, and Lei, the photographer, it was their first time shooting food as a subject. They had to think on their feet to find the right angles and good lighting. Since we didn’t bring our own props for the shoot, we improvised with what was available.

Thankfully we had Fei, our design director, to direct and advise us during our shoots.

Jarod, our chopstick master, also perfected the art of holding up just the right amount of noodles so we could capture delectable shots of the tom yum noodles.

Lei directing Jarod, our trusty hand model and spicy food eater

After ordering two bowls of tom yum fish soup noodles and having numerous retakes, we slowly got the hang of things.

Once it was time to eat, our food was no longer piping hot… but it was still delicious

With our bellies filled (we would soon regret this), the team pressed on to visit four more food spots dotted around the central area.

The team went green taking public transport

From juicy lechon to aglio olio, we ate to our heart’s content. Suffice to say, none of us had space left in our stomachs for dinner.

Day 2: West + East

With a day of shooting behind us, the team began to find their rhythm. We started off our journey to the West (AKA Taman Jurong).

But upon reaching Taman Jurong Food Centre, our spirits were momentarily dampened when we discovered that the lor mee stall we planned on patronising was closed.

Luckily, we had another delicious recommendation to try out: char siew shao rou rice. This was a popular stall in the food centre, so we were fortunate to place our orders before their signature roasted pork was sold out

The temptation to sneak a bite before the shoot ended was very real

With satisfied bellies, we ventured down south to try curry rice, then east to indulge in delicious tarts, and finally Geylang for Nasi Kandar.

But when the Nasi Kandar was served, we were stunned: It was an extremely generous portion – fit for five hungry people. We were, on the other hand, a team of four very full people.

To complicate matters, the sheer size of the dish was one of the most challenging shoots for Lei, who had to shoot it in a way that looks visually pleasing and not messy.

The generous portion of Nasi Kandar that we were given
Day 3: North

Finally, the last day of our shoot! Now we knew which angles and compositions would get us the best shots.

Our first stop was a stall that sold seafood minced meat noodles.

At the coffee shop, we made a beeline for the table with ample natural light. This strategy promised good lighting – which greatly elevated the quality of the shots we took.

Our design director, Fei, giving art direction for each shot

After digging into the scrumptious bowl of noodles, we proceeded to another nearby location to visit a stall that sold ayam lemak chilli padi. It was simply delicious.

And finally, our last stop was a rosti shop tucked away in a coffee shop.

As usual, we secured a table with natural lighting. But as the sky was cloudy, we had to scramble to get our shots whenever the sun peeked out from behind the clouds.

Mere moments after Lei’s last shutter, a bird decided to mark the end of the photoshoot by leaving a splatter of white on her wrist.

Whether you consider that moment to be lucky or not, we were thankful to have completed three intense days of shooting, travelling and overindulging.

With our shoot finished, we were excited to head back to the office to piece the final story together.

Curious to see what we ate? Check out the article here! (Warning: it might induce serious hunger pangs!)

Happy bellies, happy team
Lessons we digested:
  1. Try this photo hack: Tell the stall owner that you’ll be photographing the food and they’ll help you style the food (and even throw in some extra ingredients at times).
  2. Pick the right table: Find ample natural lighting so you can spend less time editing the shot.
  3. Pace your stomach and space out your shoots: You might think that with the four of us sharing food, we would not overeat. Well, that was far from reality.
  4. Gather a team with diverse taste-buds: On this shoot, only Jarod had a high spice tolerance, while Erin could not eat seafood. But with a diverse palate, you can overcome such limitations.
Text by: Erin Liam  |  Illustration by: Fei