Village Park Nasi Lemak. Photo courtesy of Omnomgnome.

When a beautiful plate of food arrives on your table, what’s your first reaction? Do you pick up your fork or reach for your phone?

Posting food photos onto Instagram is now so common that it’s evolved into a new form of food review. Groups of friends often pause before a freshly served meal: re-positioning it, snapping it and selecting a filter before uploading it. But now, some restaurants are now taking issue with the ritual of food photography – to the point of leading a ban.

This week, French news sources revealed how various restaurants in Paris (including at Michelin-starred La Grenouillère) frown upon “food porn” and discourage customers from taking photos because it interferes with the restaurant experience. It’s not just Paris: there are restaurants in New York that concur it’s annoying too.

Closer to home, one café in Penang, which happens to serve French food, has the same policy. According to owner of La France in George Town, cameras (including phone cameras) are not allowed to be used in the café – as clearly stated at the entrance. “The reason is simple: we are a café, and when people take photos, it disturbs other customers,” owner and manager Ginny Sim said. Clearly, some bloggers were not dissuaded.

Since it’s not a common ban in Malaysia, the policy may come as a shock to first time patrons of La France, especially as George Town’s reputation for food tourism grows. Penang recently topped Lonely Planet’s list of foodie spots in the world.

While the urge to photograph your food may be too hard to resist for some, it might also prove a temporary relief. Just imagine: when the food arrives, you can actually go ahead and eat it. What do you think: should we stop sharing our #foodporn?

Ling Low