China's largest food delivery and group buying website will pick the hottest restaurants in Seoul to help a growing number of individual travelers find the best places to eat, the state-run tourism agency here said Tuesday.
The state-run Korea Tourism Organization said it has signed an agreement with Meituan Dianping, China's No. 1 restaurant and entertainment review and daily deals website, to share big data related to Chinese travelers.
The first joint project will be selecting the best restaurants and gourmet streets in Seoul based on reviews posted by Dianping users in October, the KTO said.
Its food review application lists over 15,000 restaurants in Seoul and gives five stars to the best dining places. About 6,000-7,000 Chinese, or one-third of the daily Chinese visitors to South Korea, use Dianping's food app, the KTO said.
In August, "budae jjigae," a Korean stew made with kimchi, Spam and sausage, was the most popular keyword, accounting for 23.5 percent of the monthly search results. Also called "Army base stew," the contemporary fusion cuisine originated shortly after the Korean War when some people used surplus foods from the US military to make the mixed processed meat stew.
Fried chicken was the second-most searched food with 21.3 percent, followed by Korean BBQ bulgogi with 19.3 percent.
"Jokbal" (boiled pig trotter), "samgyetang" (ginseng chicken soup) and "dolsot bibimbap" (mixed rice and vegetables in a stone pot) were among the popular dishes on Dianping's food review site.
"The inclusion of contemporary menu items, such as budae jjigae, fried chicken and jokbal is conspicuous. It is partly because young individual travelers are searching for such foods after they saw them in popular Korean dramas," the KTO said.
Considering individual travelers make up most of Dianping's users, the KTO expects the data on their preferred restaurants, food streets and sightseeing places to help develop customized tour programs targeted at culinary travelers.
"Relatively objective data on individual Chinese travelers and their travel routes can provide good sources for effective tourism marketing," said Seo Young-choon, the KTO's Beijing branch director. "We will take advantage of the data for various projects, including supporting language services for restaurants popular among the Chinese." (Yonhap)