SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, October 20, 2020 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government surveyed 10,000 people across the country about their comfort food in these depressing times of COVID-19. The result showed that tteokbokki topped the list, followed by fried chicken, kimchi stew, grilled pork belly, and samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup).
The online survey was conducted last September. The ten most popular foods selected are tteokbokki, fried chicken, kimchi stew, grilled pork valley, samgyetang, ramyeon (instant noodles), soybean paste stew, cake, beef, and chicken feet. Pizza, ice cream, braised short ribs, kimchi, and seaweed soup were also found at the upper part of the list.
Out of the 10,000 people surveyed, 57 percent were women. The largest age group was those in their 20s and 30s, accounting for 61 percent. More respondents lived in Seoul (32.6 percent) and Gyeonggi-do (23 percent) than any other region.
The survey was conducted as part of the “Taste of Seoul” event to be held from November 11 to 15 across the city. The Seoul Metropolitan Government puts together the new gastronomy event under the themes of “food” and “comfort” to support citizens tired from the prolonged outbreak of COVID-19. The city government will utilize the survey result to promote mutual prosperity with small businesses.
Interestingly, the list of comfort food selected by 50 foreigners living in Seoul was not significantly different, which means the everyday Korean food that can be the best global strategy that will be referred to by the city when creating customized content for visitors from other countries.
Aiyanyo Titi from Nigeria said tteokbokki is her favorite, explaining, “It was so spicy that it brought me tears but I could not stop eating it as it was so good.” Majid Mustaq from Pakistan mentioned, “Samgyetang helps me endure the cold wind in the wintertime.”
In addition, the city government plans to create adorable emoticons for the top ten comfort foods, including tteokbokki and fried chicken, in collaboration with illustrator Yishin Noh. It will offer a free downloading service for Kakaotalk emoticons for customers of restaurants participating in the event, mostly in special tourist zones, to cheer up the atmosphere and give some fun.
On the other hand, the city government is working on a win-win project with businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak in Seoul’s special tourist zones. During “Taste of Seoul”, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will practically support restaurant owners who have not tried take-out or delivery services by providing them with a packing system and eco-friendly lunchbox packages.
Joo Yong-tae, Director-General of Tourism & Sports at the city government, noted “In this era of COVID-19 when many things are put on hold, become distant and change, we are planning to initiate changes to boost the tourism industry of the city. People get comfort from tasty food when nobody or nothing can comfort them. We hope people can support each other through food and experience the real taste of Seoul, the gourmet city.”