Reunion: Ben Hon
Ben is a Brooklyn-based food and travel photographer whose life revolves around two passions: food and people. Within the realm of gastronomy, he doesn't just capture the dish before him — he creates a visual narrative that celebrates both its artistic composition and the rich culinary tales that give it life. These narratives extend beyond ingredients to the creators of these dishes, be they chefs or restaurant proprietors.
In each photograph, Ben imparts more than just a visual feast; he shares the heart and soul of his subjects with his audience.
While he initially embarked on his photographic journey in the realm of food, Ben's artistic lens has ventured far and wide, capturing behind-the-scenes moments and product stills for renowned culinary entities like The Food Network, Bon Appétit, and Beautiful Cuisines.
His talents have also found synergy with prominent brands such as Google, Remy Martin, Ben & Jerry's, and many others. Through his travel collaborations, he has traversed the globe, taking him to enchanting destinations like London, Italy, Finland, and New Zealand.
What's your favorite dish that evokes nostalgia?
That would be Cantonese BBQ (roasted pig, charsiu, roasted duck) over rice. Whenever I would come to Chinatown from New Jersey as a kid, that's what I would order. That and dumplings. Even today my number one choice is Cantonese BBQ over rice. It's so comforting.
What's your go to place/restaurant for group or reunion meals?
Wu's Wonton King. It's such a cozy and lively place. It's BYOB, and they don't charge a corkage fee. You're eating family style with 10 to 15 people. You're ordering things like a suckling pig and a full king crab — just a feast. It's all on a lazy Susan, which reminds me of when I was kid and would go to banquet dinners.
A lot of restaurant industry people go there, both Asian and non-Asian. Everyone's there for the same reason: to eat, drink, and have a good time. Every time I go, it's a blast.
What are some of your favorite food cities? What are some restaurants in each that taste like home?
New York, Los Angeles, and Vancouver are my top favorite food cities, and I love so many places in each. In New York, I'd recommend Lou Yau Kee, Noodle Village, Shanghai 21, Wu's Wonton King, and Tonii's Fresh Rice Noodles. My go-to places in L.A. would be Pearl River Deli, Tam's Noodle House, Jim's Bakery, and Ho Kee Cafe. Finally in Vancouver, I'd say definitely check out Lido Restaurant and HK BBQ Master.
What do you do for inspiration?
I get inspired when speaking to chefs and other photographers. Engaging with chefs provides a unique opportunity to delve into the nuanced inspirations that breathe life into each meticulously crafted dish. Similarly, conversing with photographers unveils a captivating exploration into their distinctive styles and the thought processes that guide their approach to every photo shoot.
What's something you're obsessed with right now?
I'm currently obsessed with mastering the intricacies of videography and lighting, and am driven by an insatiable thirst for continuous improvement. Each day unfolds as a canvas for refining my skills, and a relentless pursuit to elevate my craft and unlock new dimensions in the world of visual storytelling.
I'm also obsessed with the wave of Modern Korean restaurants popping up in New York. Some of my current favorites are JUA, Octo (Korean/Chinese), Kochi, Atoboy, and Lysée.
Follow Ben on Instagram.