Seoul places #5 on Guardian’s brand ranking

So the inaugural Guardian Cities brand barometer is out, and the top five cities are LA, New York, London, Paris… and Seou (HT to sloppychol:

A surprise: South Korea’s capital comfortably beats Tokyo (which finished a lowly 28th). Seoul has a reputation for being much friendlier and easy to negotiate, has amazing infrastructure and is one of the safest cities in the world. As a gateway to the far east, is this the moment Korea gets the better of Japan?

Of course, make what you will of any list that places LA at the top.

  • wangkon936
  • Aja Aja

    This is a flame bait. It’s just a fluff piece, so people shouldn’t get offended that Seoul got listed. Don’t take it seriously.

  • wangkon936

    Ah, ole classic by Randy Newman. Same guy who sang this too…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_DeMpg_b_o

  • sloppycho

    Thanks for the HT. Was hoping you’d HT the WAPO article instead. Seems more… meaty. Like Aja Aja said, this is fluff.

    Or the Slate article JW linked to seems more worthy of discussion.

    Edit: oops, never mind just saw the Sterling post.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    It’s fluffy, but the two Guardian articles make sense of it. Social buzz was half of the points, and Seoul gets quite a bit of buzz these days. Gangnam Style helped.

    And of course Seoul gets compared to Tokyo. But anyone who’s been to both will tell you Seoul has just (or almost) as much to offer for less money. And what’s that catchy J-Pop song that everyone in the world knows the dance to? Oh, right.

    As for L.A., points were given for weather. And we can’t forget Hollywood. I’d rather eat an In-N-Out burger on the beach than a hot dog in Washington Square.

  • pawikirogii

    in n out burger- better burger than 5 guys for about half the price. moving on to the rankings, i think we should all take it with a grain of salt but i will tell you that seoul outranking tokyo reminds me of the 88 olympics. the day before the ioc announced the city that would host the games, the people of nagoya(?) threw a party certain that their city would win. after all, no one would choose a korean city over a japanese one. we all know the rest of the story.

    going back to the article, i wonder how the guardian could have chosen seoul. didn’t they see jake’s piece about a single toilette in korea? didn’t they see the kkklown go on and on and on and on and on about everything wrong with klowns and kuntrea? i’m going to alert the media so they know where to find an unfettered look at the real korea as told by our boone’s farm 4 and their associated kkklowns. i’m going to get seoul taken off that list! you’re off the map, baby!

    lastly, shout-out to ‘bleckboyinkorea’! wuz uh, homey? don’t mean to botha ya and all while you sip on that yak front those kiiiiids but seoul better than the ghetto, ain’t it? i’m glad you made it out. word to your mother.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    Agree with you about Five Guys. I don’t understood the fuss. It’s one step above Wendy’s. For the same price, you can go to a proper hamburger restaurant with better food and beer.

  • pawikirogii

    right, and don’t forget you gotta wait a while for them to make your mediocre burger for a big price. and then they don’t even have shakes (real milk, please!). and put some cream in it too! yum! have a good night, sir.

  • Sumo294

    Argggghhhh . . . I am in Jeju–the island with no decent burgers–die Pawikirogii !!! I am so hungry now for a burger. I would even settle for a Kraze burger–never thought I would crave one of those.

  • brier

    Don’t hipster cities brush off the labeling by brands? This isn’t a good sign for Seoul. It’s now recognized, acclaimed, and sought after. What city will replace Seoul in a few years time once the tastes change? Be yourself Seoul, stop needing to be on a ranking or lists!

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    If being on a list keeps the hipsters away, then I’m all for it!

  • bigmamat

    Just make your own, or is ground beef not available in Seoul? Nobody in my house prefers a hamburger out like they do one grilled or even fried at home. We do however like those hand cut fries that are a big pain to do at home without a Fry Daddy. Luckily we have at least two mom and pop shops that do handmade burgers and fries. I could go the rest of my life without eating another frozen french fry. I almost never touch them anymore.

  • Sumo294

    You can get a decent burger in Seoul and butchers there are willing to grind you up some meat and I suppose you can get it somewhere here in Jeju–it takes much longer here to get anything done–for the most part–folks here are country folks and you say hello first and etc before they will work with you.

  • http://www.bcarr.com/ Brendon Carr

    The potatoes here are all wrong for fries. Frozen is the only way to go, sadly.

  • bigmamat

    You know it never occurred to me that you might not have several varieties of potatoes. That’s interesting. I do think Korean sweet potatoes look different than the bright orange variety I see more often. So Russet potatoes aren’t available, I guess that makes sense. What is, standard white potatoes? Oh well, if you get homesick you can still make mashed or hash browns out of those anyway.

  • wangkon936

    Five Guys fries are miles ahead of In-in-Out fries… however, have to agree with you on the burgers. In-in-Out’s are the best.

  • wangkon936

    Sumo,

    They have a Lotteria in Jeju, right?

  • Matthew Anderson

    Burger Trip near Halla University is awesome.

  • bigmamat

    I was wondering don’t the Lotteria and now even Costco in Korea sell a lot of western goodies?

  • wangkon936

    Perhaps? I wouldn’t know. However, the Koreans are buying a lot of American cheese…

  • bigmamat

    Yeah I’ve seen it put in noodle bowls. Even I don’t do that. I rather have a problem with cheese. I don’t want it on or in my everything. Don’t get me wrong. I love cheese. I appreciate good cheese. Probably why I don’t want it with almost everything. It’s a contributing factor to why Americans are so fat. They eat cheese like a condiment.

  • djson1

    Jeju has a lot of decent burgers. It may not be In N out, but I loves me some Lotteria and Jeju is littered with them. I can’t remember the place, but I recall seeing a horse-meat burger once…not bad.

  • djson1

    I can easily find a majority that would say In N Out fries blow away Five Guys’ fries. I always thought Five Guys fries were very soggy.

  • wangkon936

    IMHO In-N-Out fries are too dry and taste like they were microwaved (or air heated?) rather than fried. Five Guys’ fries have this crispy taste to them that I like. I also like the fact that the skin is still on the fries. They also have the option of having malt vinegar on the side to mix in with the ketchup.

  • Aja Aja

    The best burger is not the burger you made with purchased ground beef. The best burger is the one you grind your own beef and make hamburgers out of that. The ground beef you purchase in supermarkets are filled with pink fillings to make the meat more substantial than it really is. Those pink fillings which not only subtracts from the taste, but is also made from harmful, fatty, processed garbage that will make you puke if you had seen it, and which will increase your chances of getting intestine cancer.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    Isn’t there a Gecko’s in Seogwipo now? I can’t remember how good their burgers are, but they sell ’em.

  • bigmamat

    Understood. I’ve had ground chuck before many times. It has enough fat. I don’t eat burger much. My kids still do. If nothing else I’m bored with it. We ate so much of it when I was raising them because it was cheap and easy to use. My daughter still likes shepherd’s pie and meat loaf.

  • redwhitedude

    Hmmm.The writer could be a closet Kdrama, Kpop,Keverything else fan and/or he got bribed by Koreans. This could be like that pathetic bulgogi billboard.

  • Sumo294

    It must have gone downhill since people reviewed it. It is meatless.

  • Sumo294

    The horse meat at least is interesting–Lotteria–for you guys that come to the ROK once a year is kinda of fun I suppose–to those of us living here–HELP ME!!!!!

  • Sumo294

    Ahhh–I forgot Gecko’s tyvm for the tip. I have to try it out.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    It’s also worth noting that Seoul doesn’t have good weather or beaches. It doesn’t have lots of old architecture like Paris and London. It doesn’t have the historic buildings of NYC.

    Many of the great things about Seoul were built by the current generations. They’ve done well given what they had to work with. The city is great largely because of its own driving energy. Seoul would not have placed high on this list 15 years ago (unlike the other top cities), but the people have made it happen. This is admirable.

  • Bob Bobbs

    No. 1 in my heart.

  • wangkon936

    The last time I went to Seoul was on my way to and on my way back from Shanghai and Beijing. The ability to contrast Seoul with the best that the PRC had to offer really made it clear to me that Seoul was one of the best cities in Asia. Probably not higher than Tokyo, toss-up with Hong Kong and Singapore? I don’t know if you should count Singapore as a city or a state.

  • JW

    What about Taipei? Ever been there? I’m curious because I’ve never been to any of those cities other than of course Seoul.

  • redwhitedude

    Which makes me wonder what the writer was looking at?

  • Sumo294

    Hmnnnn . . . I would rank Singapore number one and then Shanghai and a toss-up between Seoul and Shanghai and then Tokyo. If you have extreme amounts of cash and you speak Japanese then Tokyo becomes the best–especially if you are a single guy. For a family man–Singapore is the safest most stress free city in the world. I saw a gang fight in Singapore–they talked tough to one another–came to some sort of agreement and then left–my jaw dropped. Hong Kong is great if you belong to one of the clubs–if you like to occasionally gamble and whore around in Macau–and like eating eight dollar plates of incredible food while cussing out the restaurant with friends with everyone agreeing that it was a rip-off. I rate Shanghai highly because if you are young and willing to work–you can make money like you used to be able to do in America. Korea is like Tokyo–if you speak like a native–its very livable–the ROK is more nice to the poor–in Tokyo–the broke are very broke and without hope.

  • wangkon936

    IMHO Shanghai was dirty and the air was bad. Food was meh. Beijing was a disaster.

  • dlbarch

    Ten years ago, I would never have said this, but I think the time has come for someone to write a good history of Seoul. Not a tourist guide, not a chapter in a larger history of Korea, but a genuine, stand-alone, and preferably affectionate telling of the story of Seoul, its neighborhoods, its characters, and what makes it special if sometimes exasperating place.

    I have never really liked Seoul as a city, but I’d be the first person to buy a book that mapped out everything the place had to offer. The city deserves its own place in the sun.

    DLB

  • wangkon936

    Not sure. I have a Taiwanese friend who’s been to both Taipei and Seoul. Taipei is, of course to him, closer to the heart, but if he was a tourist he would think Seoul was nicer.

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  • redwhitedude

    Maybe you need to collaborate with a local academic.

  • redwhitedude

    It remains to be seen whether the Chinese can clean up.