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SoShiok.com No. 1 for food - Oct 24, 2008 (ST)

BackOct 24, 2008

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SoShiok.com No. 1 for food

The newly revamped online guide in AsiaOne nudges out popular sites such as Makansutra.

By Huang Lijie
Oct 24, 2008
The Straits Times

Barely five months after it was launched, SoShiok.com has become the most popular food website in Singapore.

It ranked first in the Food and Beverage (lifestyle and reference) category between July and September, according to Internet research firm Hitwise, which tracks the surfing habits of more than 1.5 million users here.

SoShiok.com captured a 10.51 per cent share in the category for September, ahead of its nearest rival, Foodbuzz, a user-generated food and dining website, which had a share of 5.88 per cent.

SoShiok.com also edged out other popular food websites in the same group such as Makansutra, founded by well-known Singaporean food guru K.F. Seetoh, and food blog Chubby Hubby, written by Singaporean Aun Koh.

SoShiok.com is the revamped version of the Wine, Dine And Unwind guide in AsiaOne, an information and lifestyle portal by Singapore Press Holdings.

Mr Adrian Tay, 34, editor of AsiaOne says: 'Wine, Dine And Unwind won the most popular food site award in the Food and Beverage (lifestyle and reference) category from Hitwise for three years in a row since 2005.

'The revamp that resulted in SoShiok.com carries on that tradition and has even doubled the readership numbers we had previously.'

He adds that the restaurant and buffet guides on the website are popular among its users who are mostly working adults in their 20s to 40s.

The snazzy new site also features a map-search function that allows users to locate a particular dining establishment, or search for eateries within a certain vicinity and type of cuisine.

Another key highlight of the online food guide, named after a catchy Singaporean expression for 'so delicious', are the meal recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner, personally picked by the site's editors.

Despite the site's outstanding performance, the team behind it is not resting on its laurels.

Mr Tay says: 'Being a new site, we are always looking for ways to improve.'

New next month is the feature Top 10 SoShiok, a foodie's definitive guide to Singapore's favourites such as char kway teow, chicken rice and roti prata.

SoShiok's editors will assess recommendations by the public and give away vouchers to those who submit the best tip-offs.

It is also tweaking its interface to be more user-friendly. Readers can soon look forward to having a map-search tool accompany food reviews, which will point out the exact location of the eatery.

In addition, you can search for food reviews not just by cuisine but also by your favourite food critic in the future.

Engineer Tommy Chia, 32, a regular user of SoShiok.com, says: 'The site offers comprehensive and updated restaurant reviews, which I like. But I do wish the site can offer users discounts at the eateries featured or reviewed.'

Businessman Sukhjit Singh, 49, who reads the site daily for the latest in food news, adds: 'The site is great. I rely on its restaurant recommendations for my family's weekly meal out.

'However, it's more food-centric now and I would prefer if it had more information on watering holes or pubs, places to score a cheap beer after work.'

Responding to the feedback, Mr Tay says: 'We welcome suggestions to make SoShiok.com the top Singapore food site. Users may submit them by e-mail to soshiok@sph.com.sg.'