If you are tied between choosing a dish that tastes good as opposed to something that only looks good, which one would you pick? They both can be equally delicious, or equally crappy. But, if you do have a fair bit of exposure to food that has only one of the two elements, you may have faced plenty of occasions in which you had to choose. Visually appealing food promises a memorable Instagram post but may or may not offer a memorable gastronomic experience. However, critically speaking, the food which tastes good may not always look nice. So, what do you do now?  

In the latest example of how to choose between taste and visual appeal, delivery kitchens, which have seen a surge in popularity during the Coronavirus period have had to ensure that the visual appeal of the food — the presentation — is top-notch. A lot of money is being put in to ensure that the packaging is good.   

In food review columns, people mention packaging in the same breath as much more important aspects such as the flavour of food. Now that the pandemic has changed the way businesses operate, visual appeal is not secondary to taste. It goes right on the top with everything else such as hygiene and flavour.  

But does that mean we should no longer consider taste superior to visual appeal? Well, a solid presentation can increase the customer’s desire to order. However, at the end of the day, it all comes down to taste. When you taste the dish, whilst you imagine what aromas are wafting in the room and what spices the dish is made of, you cannot stop the adrenaline rush. It points to the fact that you are hooked. Whether it is a pot of biryani which you had not eaten in ages or the sudden appearance of kebabs which you had just been reminiscing over, it is the taste of the dish which you circle back to. It is the flavour bomb in the dish which you can never forget, once eaten. It means that the taste triumphs!  

Photo: Dionysius Samuel

The visual appeal may be able to impress you initially, but the taste is what you take home with you!