For many expats living in Seoul, finding the best local feeding holes can be a challenge. Co-founder of MangoPlate Bernard Kim knew this well, as he often dished out advice to his friends about where they should eat. After doing this for long enough, he realized there should be a service in English for those seeking a quality meal.
Like most restaurant apps, MangoPlate helps users discover the best places to eat in Seoul, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for just another “directory of information”. The app makes personalized recommendations to the user by analyzing previous reviews and wish-listed restaurants.
As the app is integrated with Facebook, foodies can see what their friends are eating and place more trust in reviews since they are linked to individuals. A user’s food personality is compiled into one place, “My Plate,” where users can see visually what kinds of restaurants they tend to visit (ie. 30% Italian and 14% Korean, etc.). They can also see which of their friends have similar food personalities and users’ most recent actions are also displayed here.
The MangoPlate team also gets in on the tasting themselves and will visit restaurants while attempting to seek out hidden gems and new venues. The team also takes a lot of the photos featured in the app, with the MangoPlate account making restaurant recommendations based off of research and dining experiences. Recently the company was announced as part of incubator SparkLabs’ second intake.
The app was originally launched in Korean, with English being added very soon after. Several well-known English bloggers have also covered the app including ZenKimchi and Kiss My Kimchi. While the company intends to focus on the Seoul area for the time being, it says that there are definitely plans to take the service global, including the possibility of support for other languages if needed.