Top food apps

Swipe smart: Crowd-source tips and tricks on your mobile device.
Swipe smart: Crowd-source tips and tricks on your mobile device. Photo: William Meppem

Not so long ago, mobile food applications were all about having a cookbook in your pocket (thank you, Jamie Oliver's 20 Minute Meals). Now, it's all about location, sharing and citizen reviews - we love to crowd-source tips and tricks.

Take newcomer Wild Food Map, which locates edible plants with geo-located people power. Co-creator Adrian O'Doherty hopes his NSW-based app will be more than a search engine to find free food. "For us, this is about sharing stories around wild food and foraging. It's really important to build a community," Doherty says. With this in mind, here are the must-have apps bringing power to the people, from paying a bar tab to finding a great ristretto.

ABC Vegie Guide

Get green thumbs with the ABC's guide to growing your own fruits, herbs and vegetables. Climate-based planting guides show you what's best to grow and when; keep track of your garden by logging what you've planted and the app will tell you when it's time to harvest. iPhone, free.

Aston Club

Have a history of leaving your credit card in a bar? Time to get Aston Club, a real-time bar tab in your phone. Once you've signed in, open a tab, click your credit card and tell your waiter your tab number when you order. Then skip the queue on the way out. Card details are stored securely and you set the dollar limit, so no breaking the budget. Next round's on you. Android, iPhone, free.

Delectable

This handy app functions as a wine diary. Follow friends and internationally renowned wine experts, compare notes, or search grape variety or region for your next drop simply by taking a photo of the bottle label. iPhone, free.

Modernist Cuisine at Home

It's hard to justify spending $100 on an app for your phone, but as an alternative to the $500, 20kg print version, it's a bargain. Slick video tutorials explain tricky techniques alongside more than 400 step-by-step recipes, an integrated glossary and the option to scale portion sizes. This might just be the best portable cookbook yet. iPhone, iPad, $99

Tastemade

Shoot and upload your Anthony Bourdain moment with this video production app. Like YouTube, but for eating, this Los Angeles-based project takes food blogging to a new level as you shoot, edit, lay music and publish bite-sized videos. iPhone, Android in production, free

Substitutions

Whatever your dietary requirements, this app will help you navigate the supermarket with a shopping trolley full of tips and alternatives. Gluten-free, lactose-free or allergic to aniseed? Use searchable lists to identify the ingredients to avoid. Android, iPhone, $1.

Yelp

Giving Urbanspoon a run for its money, San Francisco-born citizen review platform Yelp burst onto the Melbourne scene three years ago. It has an international presence but the focus is local, with users encouraged to check in, connect with friends and guide others. It's not just for eateries; use it to find grocery stores, bottle shops, even a dry cleaner. Android, iPhone, free.

The Wild Food Map

Foraging for food is fun, sustainable and, best of all, free. Wild Food Map, an Instagram-Google Maps mash-up, helps communities share free local fare. Go to wildfood.in, zoom to your location and free food is yours. Or if you know of a great spot, snap a photo and share via Instagram with the tag #wildfood. Web-based app, Android and iPhone in development, free.

Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion

A kitchen classic for almost two decades, this app lets you carry that wealth of knowledge in your pocket. The 2000-odd recipes have been split into chapters - all searchable, with photos and videos. You can buy chapters separately. Android, iPhone, iPad, free preview, full version $59.99.

Beanhunter

Since launching in 2010, Beanhunter has been the go-to source for caffeinatics. Now the app has been rebuilt from scratch with extra features, including an improved search function to help you find great cafes nearby, a Facebook login and an activity feed to find and share coffee destinations. Android, iPhone, free.

Green Smoothies

The raw food craze isn't just for health nuts and the gorgeous new Green Smoothies app proves it. Launched by Sydney-based Lauren Glucina, who runs raw food blog Ascension Kitchen, it's packed with fruit and veg and the steps are easier-than-pie to follow. Android, iPhone, iPad, $3.79.