Food app aims to serve up authentic culinary experience

By Bo Leung in London | | Updated: 2017-11-09 01:55

Chinese travelers will be able to get an authentic taste of the places they visit, thanks to a new app that makes it possible to eat a meal that is cooked and served in a local's home.

VizEat, which was founded in France in 2014, is a social dining platform. The company has now teamed up with Chinese travel companies Ctrip, 8Pig Travel and Huawei in order to reach more Chinese customers.

VizEat has been described as the Airbnb of the food world. The company already has 25,000 hosts in 130 countries who are eager to have strangers over to dinner.

Jean-Michel Petit, VizEat co-founder and CEO, said recent market research shows that 86 percent of Chinese tourists would like to eat at a local's home while on a trip abroad.

"For Chinese travelers, not only is it about the food but it is also about the cultural experience," Petit said. "There is curiosity about seeing how other people live, and seeing where they live and possibly making new friends. Sharing a meal with Parisians, Italians etc in their homes is a unique experience. … We found that that Chinese travelers are interested in, for example, how French people set up their table, such as where wine glasses are placed."

The VizEat app also offers cooking classes and such special experiences as rooftop parities in Barcelona, and market tours or wine-tasting in Paris.

Some of the experiences will be adapted to visitors from China and the company will also be giving advice to hosts on how to welcome and cater to their Chinese guests.

"It's traditional for French dinners to last three hours, but we found some Chinese tourists won't want to spend that long at the table," Petit said.

With many Chinese people turning their backs on large tour group holidays in favor of traveling independently, Petit said it is clear a lot of Chinese holidaymakers are open to new experiences.

The company also plans to expand its network of hosts to include people from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Zhang Yuan, Ctrip product manager of Virtual Tour Manager, said: "In Europe, social dining is so popular nowadays, we are very excited to work with VizEat to introduce authentic travel experiences to Chinese tourists."

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