Amatuer photographers on a quest for Snapchattable food

May 16, 2017 — by Austin Wang and Alex Yang

As we scrolled through pictures and videos of sushi tacos, Hot Cheeto bagels, burgers bursting with cheese and all sorts of rainbow-colored foods on Facebook and Instagram, we couldn’t help but wonder if these gimmicks taste as good as they look. 

After watching a dozen videos of rolled Thai ice cream on our Facebook Feeds, we decided to find out ourselves.

We went to Icicles, a rolled ice cream shop in Cupertino that opened in March, where a constant line of social media savvy teens excitedly took videos of the rolling process. As we entered the cramped shop, our eyes were drawn to the menu on the chalkboard where they listed odd flavors such as “Bravocado” and “Nutella n’ Chill” without any prices.

At first we thought the lack of prices was just another part of the hipster food experience, but after we reluctantly paid $7 for a Gotcha Matcha ice cream, which turned out to be boring, regular matcha, we realized that the hippy-esque atmosphere of the restaurant was yet another gimmick for scamming unsuspecting teens.

As we walked up to the window to watch the ice cream being rolled, we realized that we had made a grave mistake: we forgot to take our phones out to record the experience.

Given the fact that we were paying $7 for what appeared to be run-of-the-mill Haagen-Dazs, melted, refrozen and rolled on a cold metal plate, the Snapchattable experience was worth at most half the cost.

While those around us were putting the trendy rolled-ice cream process on their Snapchat stories and Instagrams, we simply stood there trying to avoid awkward eye contact with the man who struggled to scrape the ice cream mixture off the cold plate.

After receiving our cup of ice cream, we walked to the topping station where we were told we could request as many toppings as we wanted.

Unfortunately, this was yet another marketing scam. We asked the worker at the toppings bar for brownie bites, mint oreos and cheesecake but were left with a meager amount of food. The small size of the cup, which could barely even fit the ice cream, meant unlimited toppings was just another empty promise.

The taste, however, actually exceeded our expectations. Although the flavor wasn’t too different from store-bought ice cream, the rolled ice cream was noticeably creamier and denser, if not a bit too frozen.

Despite our first lackluster experience with Snapchattable food, we decided to try another food trend: the sushi burrito.

As avid lovers of poke, sushi and Japanese food in general, we were extremely excited when we learned that a Sushiritto had opened at the Valley Fair Mall in November.

After an entire week of cramming for our AP exams, we enthusiastically rushed to Sushirrito on a Friday night for dinner.

To our surprise only two of the menu options actually had raw fish in them while the rest of the burritos were filled with other Japanese foods such as seasoned beef or fried pork katsu.

We ended up ordering the Sumo Crunch, a tempura shrimp and crab burrito, and a Geisha’s Kiss, a yellowfin tuna burrito, based on their positive Yelp reviews.

The Sumo Crunch had a surprisingly good combination of

flavors. The salty crunchiness of the tempura shrimp paired perfectly with the sweet creaminess of the crab.

On the other hand, the Geisha’s Kiss fell apart after a few bites, leaving us with a disjointed mess of raw fish and vegetables.

Turns out, sushi rolls taste good because all the flavors are melded in one bite-sized piece, while nigiri and sashimi taste good because the simplicity of the bite highlights the flavor and freshness of the fish.

While the combination of crispy taro chips and the tender tuna made the first few bites of the burrito delectable, I soon realized that the burrito medium hardly did the flavors justice. The large size of the burrito made it nearly impossible to enjoy the flavors as a cohesive bite and the lack of tuna meant my last few bites were just rice, seaweed, and taro.

Overall, these unique food creations didn’t live up to the hype for us, and we aren’t planning on returning for overpriced food and a 10-second Snapchat story.

What we did take away from that experience, however, was that expensive, trendy food isn’t about the flavor — it’s about the Snapchattability.  

But for not-so-social-media-savvy users like us, having a feast for our mouths sounds much more appetizing rather than having a feast for our Snapchat followers’ eyes (and also an extra $5 in our pockets).

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