Boston-native Jennifer Long has always loved food photography and posting pictures of yummy eats on her Instagram, even if it meant making her boyfriend wait until she got the perfect shot before digging in. Eventually, she decided to turn her passion into Boston Food Bae, a page dedicated to all of her beautiful food shots in and around Boston (with a soft spot for Asian cuisine). Long took a break from snapping food pics to dish on how she became a Yelp elite, her love of street food and which apps she uses to make her food look so delicious.
Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account?
I was born and raised in Boston! I graduated from Boston University and currently work for a tech company in the Financial District. I’ve always been obsessed with food, especially Asian cuisines like Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Chinese, Taiwanese, the list goes on and on! I was fortunate enough to grow up with amazing parents who actually knew how to cook (mainly Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine). My parents would always try out different recipes every week, and I’d help out in the kitchen. I remember having friends who would ask to come over just to eat my parent’s food.
I also fell in love with shows like MasterChef and anything on the Food Network. I eventually started writing reviews on Yelp and became a Yelp Elite in 2017. I started to take so many photos of food and was THAT girlfriend who didn’t let my bae eat until I was finished. I posted so much food on my personal Instagram that I decided one day to just make an account dedicated to my foodventures, and the rest was history! I started my page as @jenniferlongeats but then changed it to @bostonfoodbae since I wanted my page to be more Boston-based and fun!
Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.
There’s honestly so many amazing food in Boston, but here’s my top 5:
Spicy Niku Udon from Yume Ga Arukara (@yumegaarukara): if you haven’t been to Yume Ga Arukara, you are MISSING OUT. I visited Japan twice so far and I’m always on the lookout for delicious ramen & udon spots in any city I visit. The udon at Yume Ga Arukara is hands down my favorite dish to eat in Boston.
Bootleg Benedict from Bootleg Special (@bootlegspecial): Bootleg Special doesn’t hold back on flavor, and you’ll find that out for yourself when you try their Bootleg Benedict!
Sake Don from Tora Japanese Restaurant (@torajapaneserestaurant): this is a must for those who love sushi and of course, raw salmon!
Poké Bowls and Spam Musubis from Big Poke in Lowell (@bigpoke.dtl): this is my absolute favorite spot for poké in Greater Boston. Lowell might be a little far for some, but I guarantee you that it is worth the trip.
Lobster Ravioli from Panza (@panza_northend): I always go back every year to get the lobster ravioli from Panza, it’s absolutely worth the wait. Every time I see lobster ravioli on a menu, I have to order it, but the one at Panza is still my all-time fave!
What do you think the next big trend is for restaurants?
I’m not exactly sure what the next big trend would be, but I’d LOVE to see more of a street food scene in Boston. I’ve visited Japan, Taiwan and Korea, and I’ve just fallen in love with the street food. Even though there’s definitely a lot of upscale restaurants in Boston, I’m personally not much of a dine-in type of gal at the end of the day because I like being able to walk around and taste different types of food from all sorts of vendors and restaurants.
Instead of just ordering one entree and getting full from it, I like the idea of trying small bites from different spots and just exploring the beautiful city of Boston!
Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?
David Chang (@davidchang) of Momofuku: he is such an inspiration and I admire all the things he’s done to get to where he is now.
Joanne Chang (@joannebchang): it’s amazing to watch an Asian and female chef + restaurateur killing it in the food & beverage scene in Boston!
Chris Coombs (@chefchriscoombs): he creates the most beautiful dishes and I’m always drooling over his food posts – his presentation is ON POINT.
Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow and why?
@forkingwitharmani: I absolutely love Armani because he is the biggest sweetheart. My boyfriend and I met Armani and Nic (Armani’s bae) at a cooking event at Boston Public Market and we ended up being cooking partners. Even though we didn’t get much cooking done that night, we have been great foodie friends since. His photos are GORGEOUS and you can’t even tell that he’s only using an iPhone/Galaxy phone!!
@nomnom_boston: I love @NomNom_Boston’s page because she is the QUEEN of flatlays and her IG is “aesthetic AF”. Her photos are absolutely AAAMAZING!
@cyneats: Cynthia is a badass foodie from California and I have always admired her photos ever since I started my Instagram page. She incorporates her food blog with working out and being fit, which is why she still looks amazing after eating literally all day long. I’m all about that “Workout to Eat” motto!
Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.
Diverse, Chill, Evolving
Which restaurants haven’t you been to but you’re eager to try?
Kim’s Tofu, Oleana, Yume Wu Wotare, Barcelona Wine Bar, 9Zaab. There are still so many places I need to try!
What’s your food photography philosophy, and can you share your top tips for taking awesome food photos?
I started my Instagram using just my iPhone, and I used Portrait Mode a lot back then, which is definitely what I suggest for those who are starting out. However, I began to experiment more with DSLRs because I was always obsessed with getting better quality shots. For me, the angle is EVERYTHING. You just need to find THE angle, and your food will come out looking absolutely amazing.
I mainly use Lightroom (Mobile) and VSCO when it comes to editing my photos – I like to make sure my photos are clear, well-exposed and vibrant. My best advice would be to take food photos in natural lighting and to find out what your unique “style” is!
A Few Of Your Favorite Things:
Favorite neighborhood for food: Porter Square
Favorite new restaurant: Yume Ga Arukara (@yumegaarukara)