Which Chinese Restaurant Do The Chinese Go To?

April 26, 2013 3:46 pm

In 2004, over lunch, a friend told me he has finally understood the trick to figure out the best chinese restaurant in town. “Just ask your Chinese friends. Which Chinese restaurant do they go to? Obviously, that would be the place serving the best Chinese food in town”. I thought he was making a very obvious point – i told him that – and we just laughed it off. Before we changed topics, my friend told me this: “But you possibly cannot use this trick to find out the best Peruvian place for example – there are not many Peruvians around”. Of course. How is it even possible to figure out who went where, and what they thought about the food?

That was in 2004. The smartest phone you could find was an email device called Blackberry. ‘Location’ was still a term used mostly by real-estate agents and not technology folks.

I was reminded of that lunch table discussion last week – I was watching an interview of Dennis Crowley (Foursquare) – and he mentioned a new Foursquare feature: “How do you know which place serves the greatest Argentinian food in New York? You can look up what your friends say, and more importantly, you can see what your friends who have been to Argentina recently and have tasted Argentinian food there, say about places that serve Argentinian food in New York after they returned to the US. That is pretty awesome”.

The next time your friends tell you something obvious, like “Which Chinese Restaurant Do The Chinese Go To?” – pay attention. Even better, pull out your smartphone and see how that device can be used to make that comment ‘possible’. You could potentially be staring at a billion dollar idea.

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1 Comment for “Which Chinese Restaurant Do The Chinese Go To?”

  1. Tim

    Surely this only gets you the ‘most authentic’ restaurant, not necessarily the best. A more westernised restaurant may be less authentic, but more appealing to western residents.

    Where I live the best Sushi place is wildly popular and serves western-influenced dishes sourced from UK-only farms and fisheries.

    Another popular sushi place is probably where the largest proportion of Asians go, but not because it’s the best, but because it has great value for money over the other place, and it’s far more authentic. The reason at the heart of that? The Asian population are largely students living abroad desiring a taste of home on a budget.

    There are all sorts of factors to take into account. Social Proof gets lauded about too much. The next billion dollar idea is more likely to be a better way of indexing objective facts more easily. To use the restaurant example further – aggregating menus, prices, opening times and offers into an app on the same scale as Foursquare would be far more useful.

    I want to eat Gyoza tonight, is there an app to tell me where I can find Gyoza where I live? And don’t give me a subjective rating, I’ll decide for myself, Gyoza are Gyoza.

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