THREE WRITERS got together last week at a bar on Peel Street. Young, talented professionals - one a consultant, one in finance and the other in the legal profession - they're all obsessed with food. So is a young woman in marketing who dined out several days later at a restaurant on Staunton Street. The four writers all know each other - although mainly by reputation - and admire each other's work. But it's unlikely you've read them, because they don't appear in traditional media. The four are food bloggers - or floggers. The consultant, Joshua (all four asked that only their first names be used), set up his blog, Cha Xiu Bao - named after his favourite food - in November 2004. It has the best photography, which he does himself, and is probably the best known internationally. Bernice, the finance professional, started HK Foodie with a friend, Shirley, in May last year. Janine, the legal professional, and Jessie, who's in marketing, started their blogs - Sunday Driver and Sui Mai, respectively - last September. Writing about what one cooked for dinner or restaurants visited may not seem as if it would be of much interest - but all of these blogs make for addictive, vicarious reading. And flogging has brought a measure of fame (if not fortune) to several writers around the world. Thanks to her three-year old blog, Chocolate & Zucchini, Clotilde Dusoulier, a young French woman, has been able to quit her job as a software engineer and now writes food articles for newspapers and magazines. She has also just finished her first cookbook. And Bangkok-born Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim has been featured in The New York Times, Observer Food Monthly, The Sydney Morning Herald and Food & Wine magazine. Hong Kong's floggers haven't got that far yet, but their readership is growing. Joshua's blog started with a bang. During his first month online, he wrote about an eight-day trip to France, during which he ate at 16 restaurants, eight of which had two or more Michelin stars. 'I started the blog because of Fat Man Seoul [which is now defunct] and Chocolate & Zucchini,' Joshua says. 'I thought, if they can have blogs in Korea and Paris, we should have one from Hong Kong.' Although his blogs are mostly about high-end places he visits when he travels (which he does extensively), when he's at home in Hong Kong he covers a spectrum, from beef brisket and wonton noodle shops to a 12-course, nose-to-tail shark dinner he organised last month, where he first met Janine and Jessie. Bernice and Janine started their blogs as a way of letting friends and family know what they were up to, but their readership soon expanded and now includes people from overseas - especially those planning a trip to Hong Kong. '[Shirley and I] started the blog because we're friends and we love to eat,' says Bernice. 'Readership just grew. People were always asking us to recommend a good place to eat. We thought we might as well just write it somewhere - that way, if they want to find something, they can just go to the blog.' All four bloggers say they loved food from an early age. 'I'm Chinese so everything in my family centres around food,' says Jessie. 'Where to eat, what to eat. 'My dad is a very good cook - he had a restaurant in Canada. As good a cook he is, he's not fond of western food - except steak. He thinks salad is for horses. My dad's side of the family is like that. They only eat Chinese food. I never go travelling with them, except in China. If we go to France, we look for Chinese food and it's horrible. They complain about it, but they still go. It kills my mother because she's a very adventurous eater.' Janine took the name of her blog from her alias on a car website. 'Whenever we had family holidays, we'd plot which restaurants to eat at. It's pretty much the same planning Joshua does - he's quite military in his precision. He arranges everything by dates. My mum likes that. I'm responsible for the research. Wherever we go, we fit in restaurants - although not in such a high concentration as Joshua. My mum spawned my interest in food, and that was at a young age.' How often the floggers post depends on how busy they are. On average, they spend several hours each week updating their sites. As well as the cost of dining in restaurants, they pay about HK$200 a year to the companies that host their sites. 'It's not a lot,' says Bernice. 'But when you consider that there are thousands of blogs, it adds up to a lot of money'. The shark dinner Joshua organised was a chance for the floggers to meet in the flesh. 'I was so glad to meet them because now I know I'm not the only one,' says Jessie. 'I'm very obsessed about food. I'm always thinking about what I'm going to have for dinner, what I'm going to have for lunch, what groceries I'm going to buy.' Joshua is similarly obsessed. He's been known to make his way through two sessions at different restaurants with less than two hours break in between. 'I'm obsessed with food,' he says. 'Sometimes when I look at food I can imagine ... sexy things. It's totally sick.'