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Foreigners in Seoul charmed by diverse, delicious foods

Foreigners in Seoul regard diverse and delicious foods as the capital’s greatest charm, while locals are most attracted to the Han River, a survey by the Seoul city government showed Wednesday.

The city government polled 2,907 local residents and 920 foreigners about its charms in August. In the survey, foreign visitors favored the variety of food, followed by convenient public transportation and kind people.

Citizens picked places to visit or use during weekends and holidays as the city’s main charms. They selected the Han River, ancient royal palaces, public transportation, Namsan and Cheonggye Stream, in that order.

As to why they picked Korean foods, foreign respondents cited the abundance of side dishes, galbi and the harmony of colors in Korean food.

Street foods, traditional cuisine, kimchi and bulgogi also won their hearts in the food category.

The jjimjilbang, or Korean-style spa, ranked eighth, the survey showed.

They also said they are impressed by convenient transit system, clean subway stations and bus stops, according to the survey.

Foreigners from Asian countries gave their third highest marks to hallyu, the wave of Korean pop culture including music, dramas and celebrities.

Korean respondents who chose the Han River as the city’s main charm said it is the place that they see every day and where they enjoy leisure activities on weekends. Those who picked ancient royal palaces were charmed by delicate forms and colors of the palaces and the harmony with surrounding modern buildings.

“We will use the survey to develop new tourist courses for foreign visitors and upgrade the city’s charms that everyone will love,” said Shin Myun-ho, who is in charge of economic promotion of the city government.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)
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