Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Food Bloggers Unite! We need This!

Maybe this is just my fantasy, but here's the thing I'd really, really love to see: these days, there's tons of useful info about good eats around Korea out there, but it's scattered into so many places one needs the skills of a librarian and the patience of a turtle-trainer to really get the most useful details... and seeing the mini-maps on Hi Expat's page, got me thinking, "Why isn't it all on one huge google map?" -given that Korea changes so quickly, books don't really cut it anyway, especially on the restaurant scene, where places open and close all the time. A a wiki is a living document that can be constantly updated: exactly what we need.

So here's the idea: I don't have the tech savvy or the time to do it myself, but I'm sure it could be done: you know how everybody just KNOWS that The Korean Blog List is the starting point for every ambitious Would-blog-Expat? Well, I'd really like to see the food writers in Korea get together for a crowd-source-ish wiki-map of all the places they've collectively scouted out, all across Korea: you'll find one of Gangnam, or Jongno, or Jeonju, but imagine if it were all gathered into one place?

Here are the things I think it would need:
1. curators - to remove restaurants flagged by users for either being inaccurate/incompletely reviewed, or having closed, and to maintain at least some standards (Do we really need that MacDonalds in Guri marked? Really?)
2. a system for flagging a restaurant review, or a restaurant, for either incomplete or inaccurate information, or a restaurant that has closed since its review. Maybe a set of guidelines for when to flag a review, and when not to, so as not to waste time on "I totally disagreed with this reviewer's rating for service"
3. a way to add feedback to existing reviews (a second opinion) - HiExpat's restaurant guide has a good system for doing this. Maybe even a button to click if a review's been up for a few years to say, "This restaurant is still in existence" because I know how much it sucks to get a jones for a food, only to show up and have the place gone.
4. a standardized rating system including scores for price, menu, quality, service, atmosphere, and English spoken. (zenkimchi dining has a pretty good system)
5. a way to ban reviewers who violate a simple set of guidelines, or post spam links
6. when you click on a pin to see a preview of the location (see below)
the window that pops up should contain this information:
-links to any reviews of that location (if users can submit these themselves, it would save the curators time)
-a box you can check to flag it (for inaccurate reviews, dead links, no-longer-existent restaurants, or links that don't lead to reviews)
-a summary of the reviews so far (average overall rating or something)
-maybe (and I'm getting greedy here) a check box like at that shows "23 out of 31 people found this review useful" - but that might be getting a bit crowded.
6. searchable tags for entries (Chinese/Japanese/Indian/Vegetarian/Kangnam/Itaewon/Bundang/budget/romantic/etc.)

Whoever puts this together first wins.

Readers: in the comments, which websites have are the most useful food info for you, when you're, say, looking for "a chinese restaurant in Jamsil" or "shabu shabu in Jongno" or the like?

I've made one map - here it is - about finding good food in Jongno. Feel free to enjoy all the places here.

Finally, this wouldn't be complete if I didn't plug the guy who totally gave me a free iPod Touch in the last post:


ZenKimchi said...

#1. Yeah, need to do that. It takes time, though.

#2. Not sure how to do that with Google Maps

#3. ZK Dining does this too

#4. Thanks

#5. I've banned spam reviews on ZK Dining and just don't post unintelligible ones. Incomplete reviews I ask the crowd to help complete.

#6. I have been playing with Google Maps for a while and still haven't figured out how they decide the priorities for each pin. Some stuff gets through. Some doesn't. Believe me. I'm trying to get Google Maps to cooperate to make it more user friendly to diners. Sometimes I spend more time on there than I do on my own site.

#6.1 ZK Dining has searchable tags for location and type of cuisine on the right sidebar.

Also, ZK Dining is configured for the iPhone so that all you have to do is go to the site, type in your location or type of cuisine, and it will pop up reviews with maps in iPhone format.

But I'll work harder on figuring out this Google Maps thing. It's useless if it's not useful.

Unknown said...

i use the wingbus seoul app on my i-phone. the design is simple and easy to use.
their system is really cool. restaurants divided by neighborhood, then type of restaurant, user ratings/reviews and a nifty map feature that shows you where its at. it is in korean so maybe not useful for some and there aren't many listings for some neighborhoods, but hey, it's a free app.