Hannah Hong: Elite Yelp Restaurant Reviewer

hannahhong1Many Asian Americans are foodies, but Hannah Hong’s more than 1300 Yelp restaurant reviews (including review updates) since 2012 has put into higher level of foodie, the Yelp Elite Squad.   While there are individual Yelp reviewers who have generated more total reviews, but her pace of more than one review a day is incredible – that’s a lot dining out! Yahoo Food talked to her about her life, food, and reviewing.

Hong, 31, is an elementary school school teacher from Alexandria and was raised in Chicago.   She feels that her mom and Aunt’s cooking is the best Korean food that she has ever eaten. As you might have guessed, she doesn’t cook very much, and the Yahoo article says she can’t remember that last meal she cooked.  Her favorite place to eat is New York’s Masa Restaurant.

Her reviews are known for being rather lengthy for the form, ranging from 300-400 works and including a lot of pictures.  If you look at the screen grab of her Yelp Profile, you can see the enormous amount pictures that she has taken and uploaded.  Her rating distribution is fairly generous, with most places getting between 3-5 stars and lower ratings reserved for very bad food and service that is “rude, offensive, or non-existent.”

Seeing the amount of work she puts into this, I wonder what she and many other Asian American Elite Squad members get out of their efforts.  Hong says she writes to share her passion and experiences.   Yelp Elite Squad status does bring some perks like a special badge on profiles, invites to special events, and giveaways, although some have criticized the program for encouraging boorish behavior.


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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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