Ninong Ry: The Viral Filipino Chef People Love
Are you one of his inaanaks?
ILLUSTRATOR Presslee Olazo
2020 was a year of BIG changes, to say the least. For many of us, it's also forced us to cook more at home, and also, realize how complicated home cooking can actually be. Perhaps that's what makes Ninong Ry's content, launched in the same year, especially satisfying in all its chaotic energy. It looks exactly like what home cooking is, an antithesis to other food trends like minimalist cakes, stark clean tutorials, and easy jazz incidentals: messy, spontaneous, loud, and delicious.
Who is Ninong Ry?
Having debuted only last 2020, Ryan Morales Reyes, better known as his online moniker, "Ninong Ry", is seemingly an overnight sensation. However, like famous personalities, there is a strategy - or rather, a recipe to his increasing cyber fame.¬†
Watch any of his home cooking videos and you'll notice a common theme: well-lighted backdrops, ASMR-level sounds, and his unique version of a popular Filipino dish. The kicker is this: his unadulterated, almost careless way of cooking that makes the viewers think, 'hey, maybe I can cook this too'.
Ninong Ry's Most Viewed Video
If you've found yourself in a rabbit hole of scrolling endlessly through Facebook, and you happen to enjoy watching home cooking videos-chances are high that you've come across Ninong Ry's very popular videos. His most popular video, which features a not-so-new take on crowd favorite kare-kare, has amassed a total of 557 million views on Facebook alone.¬†
You can watch the video here:¬†
Ninong Ry is a culinary graduate from De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde¬†
Even so, don't let the bravado fool the untrained eye. Ninong Ry might be cooking like no one is watching, but don't mistake his confidence for being amateurish. He is, after all, a culinary graduate from De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde, and was previously a head chef at an unnamed restaurant. His ingredient knowledge and recipe creations are complex and calculated.¬†
As with many online content creators, the real challenge is sustaining the quality content long-term, and for someone who has loved food since he was a child, Ninong Ry makes his motivation, like his cooking style, come across as effortless. It helps that his persona is just like the videos he creates: down-to-earth, relatable, and fun. His unfiltered reaction when he accidentally drops a huge chunk of pork into a plate can be extremely relatable albeit a little crass but to the general public? Extremely hilarious.¬†
It's one of Ninong Ry's many appeals: he makes the viewers laugh as much as he makes them salivate over his creations. His video titles alone are click-bait-worthy for any Filipino who needs to de-stress after a long day. Take his video on this particular chicken inasal recipe: boneless chicken inasal saka chicken oil saka chili garlic. hirap mag isip title, which, by the way, has over 128 million views on Facebook.
You can also watch this YouTube video with over 1.2 million views entitled, "Sakto Lang Crispy Pata para sa puso mong palaging pinapaasa".¬†
Ninong Ry's About page in his YouTube channel sums up his style in a nutshell: Luto lang. It's roughly translated as "just cook". His uncomplicated approach to cooking clearly speaks to his millions of fans. His Facebook Page has garnered over 4.1 million followers. To this, the viral chef expresses his endless praise and gratitude; if Ninong Ry knows something other than Filipino food, it's his continuous exploration of the online platform.
Ninong Ry's Inaanaks
Great content will only get you so far, but having a close relationship with your fans will last forever. Loyal fans now identify as "Mga Inaanak ni Ninong Ry" (Ninong Ry's godchildren) and they have a dedicated Facebook Group where they can post their fan art, food pics, and even their recipes inspired by the beloved Ninong.¬†
Considering Ninong Ry's source material, which is his love for Filipino food, the rest of his inaanaks and foodies, in general, can rest assured more mouth-watering content is on its way.¬†
On the same note, international food magazine¬†Chef's Pencil has named the Philippines as the no.1 underrated foodie destination in 2020, but with the likes of Ninong Ry who's on the path to giving our native cuisine the exposure it deserves-underrated won't be the case for long. His legacy goes beyond the online sphere, as Ninong Ry inspires a Filipino cook in all of us, unafraid of imperfection in our quest to cook something delicious.¬†
Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!
Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here.