Finsta: food insta

After attending Sachi Sushi, a local Japanese restaurant, one of the users running the account decided to share a photo of her meal. The four friends post food on the Instagram account that ranges from gourmet meals to homemade snacks they’ve made in their own kitchens.

Emma Lam

After attending Sachi Sushi, a local Japanese restaurant, one of the users running the account decided to share a photo of her meal. The four friends post food on the Instagram account that ranges from gourmet meals to homemade snacks they’ve made in their own kitchens.

By Macie Calvert, Monte Vista High School - Danville, CA

Ramen, pooled in hot, oily broth and dusted with slivers of scallions. Mango Bingsoo topped with whipped cream and glistening with syrup. Matcha-brushed Taiyaki soft serve. Blintz. Sea cucumber soup.

     No, this isn’t heaven. It’s the main feed of @foodpiggerz, an Instagram food blog run by four Monte Vista seniors. The account grew from a four-follower joke to a platform of over one thousand followers in less than a year, with over ten thousand views on certain posts. 

     “We have a friend living [far away] who always sends us pictures of their food when they eat, and we got inspired,” senior Emma Lam said. “It originally started as a joke because we were bored… now it has evolved.”

     The account has both a global and local following. Nearby restaurants enjoy being featured on the account, but many Monte Vista students as well as people from other countries entirely are fans of the platform. 

     “We eat at a lot of Asian restaurants, so we end up posting that,” senior Madeline Rubendall said. “It’s not very time-consuming and it’s fun. And it’s something we can do even when we’re not all together.”

     During the tedium of quarantine, the account became a way for the friends to interact with each other when they couldn’t eat lunch face-to-face. They’d post photos of their food so that the others could see what they were eating that day, from homemade mango pudding to boba to gourmet oysters. 

     “It was like we were all eating lunch together even when we couldn’t,” senior Irene Oh said.

     Even now that sitting down and eating with one another is possible, the friends take the account seriously and have begun to manipulate the Instagram algorithm to maximize viewership.

     “We make our account interactive so that our followers can become more interested in the things we post,” senior Karis Choi said. “For example, with our captions, people can respond and have fun with them, and we have a lot of fun mascots when we reach a certain number of followers… we always reply to comments.”

     Ostensibly, snapping pictures of food seems like the quintessential Gen-Z stereotype: shallow and frivolous. But in the world of @foodpiggerz, photos are the one means of communication that anyone in the world can appreciate. 

     “Social media makes it easier to interact with more people,” Lam said. “For example, to [maximize viewership] it’s better to post at certain times than others because a different part of the world is awake.”

     The page has a global audience, with viewers from as many countries as there are cuisines represented on the account. Choi, Lam, Oh, and Rubendall often utilize emojis in their captions so that followers who don’t speak English can still understand them.

     “Some of our fans are in the United States, but we’ve gained a lot of Australian and Korean fans,” Rubendall said. “If we post food from a certain culture, in our caption [we include] some information in that language… I think we attracted a lot of Korean followers that way.”

     Because the account has attracted viewers from all over the world, sharing photos of food doesn’t seem shallow or pointless to those behind @foodpiggerz. In fact, pictures are the one thing that anyone who loves food can appreciate, even if they’re from halfway across the globe.

This story was originally published on The Stampede on February 19, 2022.