ChatGPT writes better food reviews than some humans

Plus 23 East Asian breakfast cafes + new openings

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A Bite-Sized Summary:

  • Feature: ChatGPT can write menus, but can it replace reviewers?

  • List: 23 Hong Kong, Chinese & Taiwanese breakfasts in Melbourne (premium only)

  • Just Open: cooked-to-order yum cha at Hong Kong Dim Sum, Doncaster East

  • Just Open: Lakhey reinvents Nepalese in the CBD

  • Deep Dish: Jamaican ackee & saltfish is made with a poisonous fruit

Here’s a hard truth: you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a food story produced by some online publications and artificial intelligence. That’s not because AI can write like a human, it’s because so many people write like robots. AI doesn’t need time. It doesn’t need to be paid. It created the above sketch from a one-sentence prompt and spurted out a menu I want to order from. It won’t “steal” my job, but it’s interesting to consider the bittersweet role that systems like ChatGPT can — and will — play in food media. In this dispatch, as well as continuing the Alt-Breakfast Series and sharing new openings, I let curiosity guide a deep-dive into ChatGPT and its implications for food media. I’d love to know what you think. Hit me up on Instagram, or reply to this email.

Sofia x

FEATURE: I asked ChatGPT to write a menu & restaurant review. They didn’t suck.

So it turns out that artificial intelligence can spit out a decent wine bar menu, review a restaurant better than at least one popular publication and regurgitate a press release into a news story. But will it replace food writers and public relations agencies? And how can small hospitality businesses take advantage of it? Hit the button to find out what ChatGPT means for the industry.

BTW, these skewers are an AI image of a dish from a menu that ChatGPT generated.

OFF MENU: 23 Hong Kong, Chinese & Taiwanese breakfasts in Melbourne

Is congee the ultimate porridge? Has Hong Kong elevated french toast? Do you find beef noodle soup bowls more wholesome than acai bowls? Then you’ll love this list of 23 places for a memorable Melbourne brunch. Premium subscribers only. Sign up here.

JUST OPEN: cooked-to-order yum cha at Hong Kong Dim Sum, Doncaster East

Kong Choi Leung has been a dim sum chef for more than 50 years. He’s the patriarch of Hong Kong Dim Sum, a family business that started out selling handmade dim sum from a chest freezer in the garage. As of just days ago, the family opened another shop at 982 Doncaster Road, Doncaster East. It’s yum cha with a twist: fill out the order form at the table, pay at the counter and then visit the condiment station when your order comes out fresh. There are also huge freezers of packaged dim sum to recreate the experience at home.

JUST OPEN: Lakhey reinvents Nepalese, CBD

Modern Nepalese is having a moment. Melbourne has gone from momo-only territory (Nepalese dumplings) to two contemporary restaurants. Lah Bros opened in Windsor at the start of the year and as of this month, Lakhey is gracing the CBD at 392 Little Collins Street. Chef Sashim Bhetwal is reinterpreting his cuisine for a Melbourne audience, incorporating native Australian ingredients into dishes such as goat sekuwa (roasted) with saltbush and cured egg yolk, and the below spiced barramundi with karkalla in a puddle of “no waste” broth.

DEEP DISH: Jamaican ackee & saltfish

Name a Jamaican dish that’s not jerk chicken. Here, I’ll help: the national dish is ackee and saltfish. Saltfish is usually dried, salted cod, while ackee is a knobbly, segmented, reddish-orange Caribbean fruit. It splits like a flower blooming at the bottom to reveal pale yellow, flesh-covered pods and can be poisonous if the wrong part is eaten, which is why most people use the canned product. The fruit and saltfish are sauteed with spices, tomato and peppers. It’s generally a breakfast dish, served alongside something carby like plantains or bread. As far as I know, the only place to try it in Melbourne is at Mama Blu’s Food Co. in Elwood.

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