I believe that one can heighten their sensory abilities not only through keeping themselves physically fit but also through regular meditation, and Qigong practice. Meditation, practiced consistently, helps us to still our mind, concentrate better and improve our overall awareness. It will definitely enhance our sensory abilities in sight, smell, and taste.
Being involved hands-on in the Food & Beverage industry, I personally feel that to be a responsible and reputed writer on food and beverage, the most important prerequisite is to acquire well-developed sensory abilities of not only in the taste bud but also their senses of smell and sight. This advice will certainly be helpful to those wannabe connoisseurs in social media trying to stake a claim for themselves as popular food critics.
In Chinese cooking, there is particular attention to 色， 香， 味 – meaning colour, fragrance and taste. So when we are served the food, the first thing that attracts us is the 色 （Sie）- the colour, presentation and the texture. Next to look for is the alluring aroma 香 （xiang) – the wonderful assault on our nostrils. Last , and most important, is the 味 (wei) referring to the taste – that tastiness that gives us that alluring sensation, leaving behind a lingering lovable aftertaste and makes us having the desire for more.
Many years ago, I was in Hong Kong and dined at the famous Jumbo Restaurant, that “iconic, sprawling floating eatery, with traditional decor & Cantonese cuisine.” The food was delectable as reputed, the presentation was classy conforming to the requirement of 色， 香，味 。 Unfortunately, the service of the waitress left much to be desired, not only he rudely ignored our request for cut chilly but also impatiently strewn the cutlery on the table when serving my wife and me, creating the annoying clatter in the process. This prompted me to sarcastically comment that the restaurant should be given the accolade of 声 （sound – noisiness), in addition to 色， 香， 味。 So, the standard of service by the restaurant crew and management is one vitally important criterion in the overall assessment of its rating beside the quality of their food.
Chinese cooking also follows the principle of the five elements in taste – 酸 （Suan）， 甜 （Tian), 苦 (ku), 辣 (la) and 咸 （xian) – meaning, sourness, sweetness, bitterness, spiciness and saltiness. So, in their cooking, they play around with these five tastes and look for the correct mix or proportion to bring out their uniqueness. And, taste is more a personal preference, some like it more sweet, some loves the fiery chilies, while some prefer it salty, sour or even bitter. So, the niche is in getting it right – the concoction that draws in the crowd, literary saying.
To be a successful food writer, one has to be versatile and creative in the language, aptly describing their personal experience in the food and drinks that they are sampling and reproducing them vividly through their creative writings.