It has become a ubiquitous sight in local restaurants: armed with their pixel-rich smartphones and expensive cameras, Hongkongers have made snapping shots of their food the most normal of activities, up there with slurping tea and digging around with toothpicks.

There are those for whom foodography is about showing off to friends (via Facebook), and others who - somewhat pretentiously - talk of "food art" and probably blog about it. A picture may well speak a thousand words but surely the danger is that people - both here and in other "foodie" cities - might forget the important aspects of sharing a meal?

If you think back to the days before people descended into a permanent social-networking fug (oh how long ago that seems!) table chatter among diners as they waited for their food to arrive was one of the joys of eating out. And after much oohing and aahing we would set about cleaning our plates. It was a simpler time, when the look of a dish - and, more crucially, its taste - could be stored in our memory banks rather than on memory cards.

Restaurants have started banning food photography by customers. When people are standing up on their chairs to get a funky angle, you know things are out of hand.

Commentators have used the term "food porn" to describe the fixation, but quite aside from any disturbing psychological disorders that may be at play, let's just acknowledge that it's simply annoying.

Maybe what we need from restaurants, then, is a strict parental approach: eat your food without ado or you won't get any pudding.