For the month of April, our Featured Blogger of the Month goes to one of the most dedicated food blogger that we know – Wilbur, also commonly known as Aroi Mak Mak. AroiMakMak.com started off from his love for Bangkok and travelling, and he travels there every year without fail, till he literally became a Bangkok Guru! Read on to find out Wilbur’s all-time favourite food, what inspired him to make a career out of this passion of his, as well as life as a food blogger :)
1) Hey Wilbur! For the new readers out there, tell us what AroiMakMak.com blogs about in general!
Hello!!! For those who haven’t heard about AroiMakMak.com, you really need to set aside some time to start travelling!
AroiMakMak.com is a comprehensive lifestyle and travel guide, your go-to resource for the latest trends, best eats and travel tips of Bangkok, Seoul and Tokyo.
Whatever recommendations found on our website, we have personally tried them and verified that it’s delicious and worthy for you to try as well!
2) We know that AroiMakMak.com started out early in 2012. What gave you the inspiration then to pursue your passion and become a food blogger, especially when the industry wasn’t very developed then?
In 2012, I left my new job of 6 months. At that time, I had just graduated from University of Birmingham. I wasn’t happy with the boss, wasn’t happy with the work I was doing and I felt that I could do something more meaningful.
My heart and inner spirit suddenly told me to do what I was good in. I knew how to create and set up websites. I was very familiar with Bangkok and every friend who visited Bangkok would ask for my itinerary.
That was how AroiMakMak.com was born. At the start, I did not even have the relevant skills on blogging and proper equipment to take good photographs. I did not let that stop me. In life, you just have to take action and make it happen. If you think of this and that, it will never ever happen!
3) What food would you like to try but haven’t tried yet?
I really can’t think of any because whatever I want to eat, I will try to find a way to have a taste of it! Despite the amount of food I eat, I believe there’s much more still to be discovered though!
4) We know you have been to Thailand countless of times as there are tons of Thai food reviews on your blog. What is the best food you’ve tasted there?
Oh, this is such a difficult question because I have to eliminate a lot of delicious food. Well, whatever dish it is, I make it a point to try the best and here are some of my personal favourites, which I will eat again, and again every trip.
Fried Chicken @ Pratunam, Phetchaburi Soi 17
5) Best and worst of parts of being a food blogger?
The public may see us enjoying ourselves eating lots of free food but in actual fact, we pay for our food most of the time. The good part of being a food influencer is that you get to try many different kinds of food.
The bad part is that you will get scared of food very soon too if you have to finish everything by yourselves. Taking in so many food, you ultimately have to find ways to burn off the calories too. So to maintain your weight, you really have to exercise.
Having tried most of the best food around, there will be chances that you will get disappointed many times because the food just doesn’t meet your expectations.
Many don’t see the costs involved in food blogging and the public sees it as an easy job. There’s a lot of task that we do backend plus we need to buy our own equipment, which easily costs few thousands of dollars. We also need to keep up with the technology to keep ourselves relevant to the trend.
6) Tell us something that you think people don’t know about you or your life.
Not many were supportive of the blogging route that I had decided to take. We were taught to study hard, get good grades, go to university and get a good job that came with a good salary.
Yet, I did not really like working for others, be controlled and be made to do something repetitive every day.
AroiMakMak began as a hobby. I did some other freelance work here and there and with whatever time was left, I gave it to AroiMakMak. My life then was always about AroiMakMak.
Many people have free time to watch TV, go to the movies, play games, hang out with friends or go out for drinks. For me, I sacrificed all of that and I chose to face the computer most of the time to update the site. Of course, I still took some time off for friends and family because these people were still important.
What did I do for fun? To me, I felt happy working on articles to help others plan their trips to Bangkok. I also felt happiest whenever I was in Bangkok, looking for content. I knew then I could do this every day even though I felt very tired at the end of the day, after walking almost the whole of Bangkok the whole day. I felt that I was doing something meaningful which would benefit others too!
7) What happens if you hate the food or experience at a place? Do you still blog about it?
Close friends of mine will know that I have high expectations for both food and service. If the food is not delicious, it will never be featured on AroiMakMak.com.
If the food is delicious but the service is really bad, we also won’t feature it because I believe that whatever is recommended, it has to bring the same happiness to the next person who intends to try after seeing our recommendations.
8) If you could only choose to eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Many people ask me to choose one dish to eat for the rest of my life. I simply can’t do it. But well, probably Singapore’s Chicken Rice.
I love food so much that I want to try as many cuisines as possible because every dish is different, it gives you a different taste and texture and some food even has a history behind it too!
9) What upcoming plans do you have for AroiMakMak that readers like us can look forward to?
There are many new websites who just copy information from the different sites and they just compile and call it theirs. By doing so, their information is usually not accurate.
We are updating many of our old posts to keep the information updated and relevant. Whatever information we put up, we make it a point to double and triple check to provide accurate information. This is the least we can do to maintain the trust and support from our followers.
You can also look forward to more videos, which will come alongside with our written contents because people now prefer watching videos compared to reading. We will go in depth into the different districts of the various cities to provide you an easy-guide of what to do there! Stay tuned!
Thanks Wilbur for taking time out to have a chat with us, and giving us more insights on what goes on behind the scenes of a food blogger! It was such a joy reading through your answers and finding out more about you & how Aroi Mak Mak started. We wish you all the best for your upcoming plans, and all the success that you deserve :)
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