Meet Edo Liotta: The Creator Behind Rating Authentic Italian Restos in SG
January 13, 2023
When we think of Italy, one of the first things to come to mind is pasta, right? Italian cuisine is globally popular because of its luxurious and fine restaurants as well as its fresh produce and ingredients, from herbs and vegetables to meat and oil.
In Singapore, there are endless Italian restaurants, whether you’re in the mood for a fine dining atmosphere or a more casual family style setting.
The Beat Asia sat down with one of the rising influencers in the Lion City to learn more about Italian cuisine and his career in creating online content. Meet Edoardo Liotta aka “the mozzarellapapi” or simply Edo.
Life of a Content Creator
With more than 32,000 Instagram followers, Edo is a viral online content creator known for his review series of Italian restaurants in Singapore. He “rates Italian restaurants so you don’t have to.”
Edo started doing video reviews in February 2022, alongside his day job as a writer and editor at a media company. He documents everything he eats in a week or over the weekend. Just like a judge in a competition, Edo also creates his online reviews using different criteria.
“[F]or the Italian [food reviews], the main thing I will look out for [is if] it is authentic [or] if they did anything really strange to it. The next thing is if they use good ingredients, obviously if it tastes good. I like to look out for regional specialties. People [might] think that all Italian food is the same, but actually if you're in the north and in the south [of Singapore] and in different cities, the food is very different. So, I like to look out for restaurants who also showcase all the different kinds of food there is,” Edo explained.
Edo was inspired to create a series of Italian restaurant reviews because, as an Italian, most people would ask his opinions or thoughts about what and where to eat authentic Italian food in the city-state.
As a content creator, Edo assures that he provides honest-to-goodness reviews for his viewers. His purpose is not only to gain viewers but also to educate them about the different types of Italian cuisine and regional foods.
“[T]here's a lot of Italian restaurants in Singapore, but not all of them are good. Not all of them are authentic. A lot of them are actually American Italian or fusion. I thought I would do [a] series so I could just let people know where you can get authentic food, what place is good, what place is not good. ‘Cause I think actually a lot of people don't really know what real Italian food is like,” he shared.
Edo aims to produce reviews that are as truthful and forthright as possible. Initially, he would walk into restaurants completely anonymous, pay for the meal, and rate them. At present, he is also willing to collaborate with restaurants in exchange for complimentary meals.
“[B]ut I will still tell them that I'll be honest. For example, if I really don't like a place, I just won't review it. Even if they give me free food, [it] doesn't mean that I'll just say something is good [even] if I don't believe it's good. If I say something is good in my video [it’s] just ‘cause I genuinely think it's good,” he added.
All throughout his food tasting journey, Edo also talked about his best and least favourite restaurant experiences. He shared that his dining experience with Japanese-Italian fast-food chain Saizeriya is a thumbs down, although he commended their affordable food prices that were as low as S$4. Since everyone knows Saizeriya is not an authentic Italian restaurant, he had already managed his expectations before his visit.
On the contrary, Edo much touted iO Italian Osteria and Etna for è delizioso and authentic dishes.
When it comes to the best Italian recipe in Singapore, Edo would likely pick this oven-baked flat leavened Italian bread called focaccia from Etna.
“It's a specific type of focaccia. It's very authentic and really delicious. You know how most focaccia is actually thick? This specific type of focaccia is thin crust, but it's very flaky and doughy in a good way and they put a specific type of cheese [called] stracchino cheese on top,” he added.
When asked how he would describe Italian food to his viewers, he uttered two words – simple and homey.
“I think Italian food is…supposed to be a very homey cuisine. It’s not like fine dining where you just got a small thing on a plate, you know. It’s actually very like warm and cosy food. The second thing is that Italian [food] is very simple which is why it’s important to have good ingredients because it’s just like a pasta, sauce, and oil, and that’s it. So, if [your] ingredients are really bad, you can’t really hide it with anything. So, it’s two, it’s simple and homey.”
If Edo seems like a pro when it comes to rating Italian restaurants, that’s because he grew up in an Italian household.
Sometimes people assume he is not even a real Italian, despite the fact that both his parents are full-blooded Italians, just because he grew up and lives in Singapore.
“I grew up in [an] Italian home. I used to go to Italy twice a year. Now [since the pandemic], I just go to Italy once a year. You know, I still am quite close to my Italian roots even though I grew up in Singapore. So just because I didn't grow up in Italy, I think it doesn't mean that I don't know what real Italian food is.
Considering the significant number of Edo’s followers on Instagram and TikTok, he shared that some of his videos have received a few million views, including his “house rating” and “Wait, You’re Singaporean?” series.
In his “house rating” series, he “used to go around different mansions in Singapore and from the outside [he] would rate them.”
“If you go on my TikTok you can see the, there's a tab for it. There's a lot of neighbourhoods and mansions that people wouldn't normally see. So I went to all these places that people didn't know about, and I showed all the huge houses that are there,” he added.
Edo’s creative series doesn’t stop there. He also has other content, like fun prank videos with his Filipino aunt.
“I also have a series with my auntie, she's Filipino [and] we do videos together. She also has been in my family for over 20 years, so she's basically like a second mom for me. I think a lot of those videos went viral because, you know, people love to see the relationship we have, we're very close kind of thing.”
Due to the increasing number of people who have access online, “bashing” is not new in the internet culture. Edo believes that people who bash or leave negative comments about him online are likely not familiar with his content.
“I think some people don't know, so they'll just say like, ‘Oh we can't trust it because for sure [he’s] sponsored and he's just saying this ‘cause he's been paid to say it.’ But, actually, that's not the reality,” Edo said.
What’s Next for Edo?
For 2023, Edo delightedly shared that he branched out into music and plans to release his own songs, aside from posting more content online including restaurant reviews.
“I guess two things, one is music, as I’ve already mentioned and then soon, I’ll also be doing my YouTube channel where I can do maybe more long-form videos…I really want to start doing food and music, and almost everything on my YouTube channel.”
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