I spent my nights scrolling through TikTok, in the weeks leading up to my semester abroad, determined to alter my algorithm to show me all the cool places to eat, drink, and dance in London. I’d search things like “food in London”, “drinks in London”, “best restaurant London” and I’d be met with hundreds of videos, all showcasing various food hotspots around the city I was going to call home for the next few months. There I was, in my bed in DC carefully curating a list of all the spots I wanted to try without even touching down in the country yet.
TikTok has become the go-to for food reviews, drink recommendations, recipes, and all things food related. It’s a platform that has become a one stop shop for foodies to share their experiences. My parents rely on things like Yelp or TripAdvisor, platforms made specifically for rating and reviewing businesses. I used to use these as well, spending time looking for the best reviewed restaurants in my area But, I found the majority of people leaving reviews were not in my age group, they were people like my parents. While I love them, we don’t always have the same taste in what’s fun or good. TikTok became my sole destination for restaurant recommendations and reviews. I can’t really remember the last time I used something like Yelp to help me with planning my nights.
When talking with Olivia Strong, 20, she echoed similar sentiments.
“I definitely would say that I use Tiktok instead of Yelp or even just a google search. It’s way easier, and the video layout gives you a much better feel for a place as well as a review. ”
With videos made by people I can relate to in terms of age and taste, you’re given an inside look into a restaurant before you make a reservation. TikTok is easily accessible as well; so while it may not be coming from expert or professional food critics, it’s people like me, going out and exploring a city, and appreciating good food. That’s really all anyone needs. TikTok provides a refreshing and youthful approach to food reviews. It’s entertaining as well, making it not only informational but enjoyable to search through. In my first month abroad, I’ve already found some of my favorite places through simply scrolling.
Photo courtesy of secretglasglow
While for the most part accurate, there are definitely places that blow up on TikTok that aren’t worth the hype. Being wary of paid promotions or partnerships when looking at recommendations can be a good way to weed through some of the duds. My favorite videos are the ones interviewing locals on what their favorite spots are. It was how I found the delicious little Italian restaurant Briciole that I took my parents to when they came to visit me. TikTok showed me the fruity sweet treat from Humble Crumble that my friends and I tried for the first time the other day and now have dreams about. My favorite bakeries, Jolene, and Buns From Home, were both TikTok finds. It’s made my food experience in London easier, exciting, and more enjoyable than relying on platforms of the past.
As my abroad adventure continues, I’m excited to keep up my TikTok deep dives for the best food in the city, and who knows, maybe start making some reviews myself.
Cover photo courtesy of LondonxLondon