Foodies can now take their culinary passions to-go with a number of new mobile apps that can enhance dining experiences by doing everything from finding nearby restaurants, providing other diners’ reviews, and organizing photos of meals. These apps are particularly popular in Asia, and with a rich and diverse culinary scene there, food-lovers are going to need apps to help them narrow down options. Here are five great apps to help you navigate street-food hawkers, local favorites, and five-star spots in Asia.
This Singapore-based app connects foodies with meals in more than 3,300 cities from 115 countries, but its top reviews come from Asia: Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, China, and Thailand. Burpple allows users to tag photos with the place, date, and time of a specific meal and to “reburp,” or save other people’s posts and share posts on Facebook or Twitter. It also allows users to create categories to organize food-related photos, notes, or moments for convenient recall later.
For more information, visit burpple.com.
Originally started in Hong Kong in 1999, OpenRice has now built quite a reputation for itself as a culinary guide in Asia. The OpenRice app allows you to use GPS to find nearby restaurants organized by cuisine, read thousands of reviews, upload your own photos, and even access hundreds of coupons for local restaurants. Because it’s been around so long, communities of OpenRice fans have formed and sometimes the site organizes special events. OpenRice is available for Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand.
For more information, visit openrice.com.
Zomato covers 3 million dishes at 95,000 restaurants in 21 cities located in eight countries around the world. Mostly based in India, Zomato also has menus, pictures, and maps for restaurants in the UAE, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, and beyond. Additionally, users can search for restaurants based on location, cuisine, and name. When users follow other Zomato foodies with similar tastes, the app will also make personalized recommendations based their posts. And the app is also capable of making lists for users to keep track of interesting restaurants they want to go to, places they have already been to, or a wish list of restaurants.
For more information, visit zomato.com.
Japanese ad giant Dentsu released the food-finding iPhone app, FoodKing, last year for Japan and now it is available globally. Instead of restaurants, FoodKing focuses on locating nearby foods. Although available internationally, reviewers have said the app works best in packed cities like central Tokyo. FoodKing plays up the social aspect of being a foodie and allows users to befriend and message each other, then share and “like” photos and reviews. It also provides a timeline and map feature to help users organize their reviews. FoodKing said it will be adding more food categories every month with a special focus on local cuisines.
For more information, visit itunes.apple.com.
Menoo! is a food app that rewards its users with special discounts at local restaurants for their contributions. The more people upload food photos, add reviews or new restaurants, or “fave” the content of others, the more points and rewards they can accumulate. Menoo! is currently only available in the United States, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia but already has a database of 260,000 restaurants and is continually growing. One of the app’s strongest points is its maps and directions. It is equipped with Location-Based Service technology and integrated with Google Maps and Blackberry Maps, giving users a number of ways to find new dishes. One way is to hold a smartphone up to eye-level in public and Menoo! can pinpoint where a restaurant is in street-view mode.
For more information, visit mymenoo.com.