I know I sound like a broken record about this, but the Qatar food scene when I arrived in 2007 was dramatically different to the smorgasbord we have today. A handful of hotels with dining options and a smattering of quality standalone places made up the “scene”.
Today we are almost spoiled for choice and it seems a new eatery pops up on my Instagram feed every day.
Hand in hand with this growth has been the flourishing foodie scene and all that brings with it…
Here’s my guide (by no means exhaustive ahem…) of the eight kinds of foodies you will find in Qatar:
- The Food Blogger:
Yes, yes, this is where I find myself. There has been an explosion of Qatar-based food blogs since I started my humble cheese blog four years ago – in all languages and catering to all audiences. From full on cooking blogs to restaurant reviews and micro-blogging, it seems everyone is in on it here. You will identify this group but the studied silence that descends when a dish hits the table – followed by the furious clicking of smart phone cameras, the whispers of “do you mind?” as someone repositions a plate or asks for so some ambient light. Often found hunting in packs.
Most likely to say: “Wait! I need to SnapChat this!” or “Is this dinner a plus one situation?”
2. The Blagger
The red headed stepchild of the Food Blogger, these are those who pride themselves in being able to score a free meal because of their “Influencer” Status. They have been known to pre-emptively send their “Rate Cards” to hotels and often offer a “group rate” for their shining five star reviews (with a SnapChat and an Instagram post thrown in) in exchange for a hefty fee and a table for them and their mates. I’m on the record about the growth of this sub section of the of the Qatar blogging community and while I don’t begrudge anyone a free meal (hell, I’ve had many!) or making a buck or two, believe me readers and followers have a right to be wary.
Most likely to say: “Don’t you know who I am? I’m a INFLUENCER” and “Would you like to see my review rate card?”
3. The Bruncher:
Loves food and loves to enjoy it with friends. Fridays are sacred and spent in big groups at various hotels around town. They have their favorite haunts (and their regular tables) but will also branch out and try something new. Has a fabulous wardrobe.
Most likely to say: “Shall we get an UBER?” or “The foie gras station at (insert hotel here) is incredible!”
4. The “Expert”
One word: tedious. Not sure you have ever met an “Expert Foodie”? Don’t worry they will tell you ad nauseum about their expert status in everything from organic vegetables to obscure eastern Greenlandic cuisine. They are also want to tell you loudly that there is “no such thing as authentic XXX food in Doha” because they once tried it in (insert country here) on their four day holiday there in 2009 and they now know everything about it. These guys can also be a bit of a food/wine snob and will also correct your pronunciation.
Most likely to say: “Pretentious? Moi?”
5. The Deal Hunter:
Love these guys. Armed with apps and vouchers, they know where to get the best deals in town on any given day. They also know every happy hour and special offer. These guys love food and know that you don’t always have to pay the Doha Standard Price for such things. Make friends with these people.
Most likely to say: “Wait, I have a voucher for that!”
6. The Hipster:
Yes folks, they walk amongst us in Qatar, decrying the shortage of cold press coffee and making repeat hate visits to IKEA for mason jars. Never met a food trend they didn’t like. They claim to know every back street dining joint in Doha and love to espouse their local knowledge and how they just “love to dine with the people”. Also, can we stop trying to make cauliflower rice a thing?
Most likely to say: “Is this single origin?” or “Seriously, Doha needs more food trucks!”
7.The Homecook Hero:
Everybody has a dish from home or their travels that they miss. Some amazing foodies in this town have turned this into a lucrative side business. Thanks to the power of social media, you can now buy everything from a freshly baked pie, to elaborate cakes, to fresh and clean Vietnamese spring rolls, Indonesian food and even a huge dish of luscious seafood paella. If you are keen for a taste of something lovingly home made, head to the MIA Park Bazaar every Saturday or join the Doha Foodies group on Facebook.
Most likely to say: “This? Oh just something I whipped up this morning!”
8. The Genuine Foodie:
Really, this is all of us reading this post. We love to eat it and find new and interesting adventures at home and abroad. We might take a photo of it and post it on our social media channel. We might also recommend it to our friends. We are generous and open and never The only criteria for this “foodie tribe” is a they must love food.
Most likely to say: “OMG this is incredible!”
As I said, this isn’t every tribe or even sub tribe on Qatar’s burgeoning food scene. To be fair, I identify with nearly all of these groups (except the Blaggers and the Hipsters)
Drops mike. Leaves the stage….
Its a nice article, I do follow your blog actively and have been quite impressed with your reviews many a times, however I fail to understand why a prominent food blogger like you would write something like this. Recently it seems like more than food blogging certain food bloggers in Qatar have become like a “FOODBLOG POLICE” defining what is right and wrong in the food blogging world in Qatar.
I would really like to know has someone hired them to define the laws of food blogging or has someone requested them to do a research on this or they have a personal grudge with a few bloggers in Doha – Qatar which they are trying to show through their posts on social media and sabotage their reputation with all the parties involved with them.
Please do understand if a food blogger is charging for a review and it is wrong “According to certain food bloggers in Qatar” then what about the people who charge for Instagram posts or snap chat posts, according to me they should also not charge for the posts cos again the concept is the same, a pic might be wrong in showing whether particular dish is palatable or not. In a pic the dish may look very enticing but in reality it may not be, isn’t this being bias with the followers on any kind of platform
Rather then the bloggers deciding what is right or not, it should be the end users like hotel or restaurant owners who should be deciding whether it is right to charge or not and whether they are willing to pay for a particular service or not. What is the point in a few bloggers being like a “FOODBLOG POLICE” deciding the norms of the food blogging culture.
Any food blogger is not associated to a company or a brand so its up to their personal discretion to charge in cash or take a free meal or a free stay at the hotel. Food Blogging is not a corporate world and each blogger is an individual and each person has the right to do what he or she feels as they are not bounded by any corporate culture or rules and as long as the party is ready to provide them with the required remuneration.
Last but not the least if charging for a review is wrong then any kind of freebie associated with it is also wrong. It is just a way different people look at different things and it would be totally wrong to decide on someones behalf.
Hope to have better posts from foodbloggers on different kinds of food rather than having to know what is morally right or wrong according to them.
Rachel Ann Morris
Thanks so much for reading and I do appreciate your considered response to what is very important issue.
I honestly don’t have time to be part of this “FOOD BLOG POLICE” of which you speak, all I want to do is shine a light into the dark and undefined areas. But what I do have time for is to be part of a supportive blogging community that is transparent and open.
You say food blogging is “not a corporate world” – I beg to differ. Many make a living from it and that is great for all of us bloggers! But be transparent. Be up front about who is paying for that meal, that badly photographed Instagram shot, that supposedly “unbiased” review on a social media site. Debate is good. Discussion about these issues is also healthy.
Thanks again for reading and I look forward to more comments and hopefully a blog post or two if you are so inclined!
Pinay Flying High
I’m definitely number 5!! Proud of my vouchers! Hahahaha.
Rachel Ann Morris
I did have you in mind!