10 Asian American NYC Chefs with Delicious Instagram Feeds

Featured image above: Vegan Liftz

Ask a chef what their biggest obstacle is, and it won’t be customers waiting at the door, or the art of sous-vide, or their mixologist quitting on a Saturday night. It will be the daily grind of social media. As one chef put it to me in an off-handed comment, “I can’t wait to stop taking pictures and actually get back to cooking”.

Food is visual. We eat with our eyes as much as our taste buds. Instagram hashtags like #foodie, #nomnom and #instayum have taken off, and there is no end in sight. From styling, plating and portrait-mode, to engagement numbers, and backend analytics – the chef’s life has slowly but surely become a life in front of a screen. It’s no wonder that many chefs now have someone dedicated to the task – personal social media managers, entire departments, or even agencies (we know one in particular – wink, wink).

But for chefs that reside the outer-reaches of general market cuisines, social media is a blessing-in-disguise.

“Instagram came to give a voice to chefs and to the food they serve.”
– 2-Michelin Star, Dominique Crenn, Wired Magazine.

Sure, finding 101 ways to take a picture of your cheeseburger might sound like a bore. But for the oceans of chefs in NYC, heralding dishes unfamiliar to the American regional scope, social media has given them a open window.

For years, Asian food has made a home on Instagram – demystifying cuisines long thought of as “exotic”. To advocate these chefs who are determined to bring your eyes to their food, here are OUR favorite New York City Instagram Chefs and restaurants, both famous and underground, who are worth following – and are worth a visit IRL too.

1. Bricolage – Chefs Lien and Edward Lin – Vietnamese Gastropub

Michelin Guide 2018, Bricolage has everything – their own dried beef jerky, bespoke cocktails and mouth-watering pork belly. What they do right on Social, is a combination of color, warmth and pics of real-life people, such as the Lien family, children included, at the restaurant.

2. Baoburg – Chef Bao Bao – Thai South East Asian Fusion

Stepping into Baoburg in Greenpoint, BK is like stepping into a noodle shop in Thailand, complete with sunny back patio and plastic stools. Wonder Woman, Chef Bao Bao relies on natural light plus an awfully cute cat and parrot.

3. Junoon – Chef Akshay Bhardwaj – Indian

Make your reservations in advance for Michelin Guide 2018 Junoon’s upscale Indian fare. Shooting typical Indian food is HARD! Junoon social success is due to it’s unexpected presentations – not bowl after bowl of soggy tikka masala.

4. Flip Sigi – Chef Jordan Andino – modern Filipino-Mexican

Flip Sigi has a playful touch with it’s Filipino-Mexican fare. They are good at using tiling effects in their feeds (and it helps that Celebrity Chef Jordan Andino is easy on the eyes).

5. Mokbar – Chef Esther Choi – Korean Ramen Bar

Chef Esther Choi has been kicking a$$ and taking names with her two Mokbar locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Her social style is all about natural light, brilliant colors and some mouth-watering noodle action.

6. Little Alley – Chef Yuchun Cheung – Shanghainese

Get a taste of Shanghai-inspired comfort food, complete with crispy-bottom bao, ma po tofu, and savory soup dumplings. Little Alley’s feed is not only filled with those savory dishes we yearn for but also of Shanghai life and culture, making the experience both yummy and inspirational.

7. Raku – Udon-centric Japanese

These guys don’t play around with their Udon. Cold or hot, Raku serves up delicious, chewy Udon every time – and other stuff too. Minimalism is the name of their game. Clean lines, balanced usage of shapes and colors, all bring Zen to Raku’s feed.

8. Kopitiam – Chef Kyo Pang – Traditional Malaysian Coffee House

Filled with spices, fusion, and flare, Kopitiam’s mission is to preserve the fading recipes of a cuisine infused with global influence. Relatively new, their social is still finding their balance but often we are surprised with an unusual and gorgeous image of Malay food or life.

9. Ho Foods – Owner Richard Ho – Taiwanese Beef Noodle Shop

Taiwanese-cuisine has finally found some traction in NYC. The warm and comforting bowls of beef noodle soup at Ho Foods are responsible. It’s all about the noodles so if you don’t mind bowl after steaming bowl, then this is the feed to follow.

10. Taco Mahal – Chef Danikkah Josan – Indian Tacos

Can you have too many tacos? Trick question. There’s no such thing as “too many tacos”. Not when Indian-Latina chefs like Danikkah Josan are stuffing these incredible morsels with so much goodness. And it’s hard to make a taco look healthy, vibrant and full of life, but Taco Mahal succeeds.

But it’s not just about pretty pictures. What all these talented restaurants and chefs do consistently is 1) stay relevant 2) keep posting 3) learn from your audience 4) engage, engage, engage 5) use Instagram as a gateway into your world, not just a recorder of history.

Did we miss a restaurant or a chef you think deserves mention? Comment. We’d love to see some more delicious pics.

Written by XiaoHwa S. Ng
Digital Strategist