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Food tops foreign attraction to Seoul

2011/10/12 | 421 views | Permalink | Source

By Kim Rahn

Everybody needs to eat and the diverse foods available in Seoul are the main attraction for foreign tourists, while Seoul residents think it's the Han River.

A survey conducted by Seoul City showed residents in the Korean capital think the river is a symbol that is part of everyday life and where they can enjoy leisure activities, while foreigners were mainly impressed by the food, such as the numerous side dishes and "galbi", or Korean barbeque, which they grill and prepare themselves directly at the table.

The survey was conducted on 2,907 Seoul citizens and 920 foreigners online in August to select the top 50 attractions of the Korean capital.

"While Koreans selected 'hardware' as Seoul's charms, such as the Han River, palaces and Gwanghwamun, foreigners picked 'software' items such as foods and the kindness of citizens", a city official said.

According to the survey, Seoulites selected the Han River as the greatest lure, followed by palaces, convenient public transportation, Mt. Nam and Cheonggye Stream. Girl groups fueling "hallyu" ranked 41st, and figure skater Kim Yu-na was 47th.

The wide variety of delicious cuisine came first for foreigners, who also put street food as 12th; traditional Korean food, 13th; kimchi, 24th; and "bulgogi" placed 43rd.

Foreigners also selected public transportation as part of Seoul's charm, saying they liked the transfer system and subway lines that stretch to all parts of the city, followed by "kind and warm people" who offer them help.

Eighth place among the foreigners' surveyed were "jjimjilbang", or the Korean-style public saunas, while K-pop was 22nd and "the city being sleepless and awake for 24 hours" came 25th.

"The survey, which asked the respondents to list three of Seoul's charms and the reasons, has given us a chance to rediscover Seoul's varied attractions. We'll use the survey results in developing tourist programs", the official said.

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