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Jul 5, 2006 08:27 PM

Guests from Korea

I'm a volunteer ESL language tutor and one of my former students who returned home to Seoul, Korea is planning on coming back to Seattle with his girlfriend for a month-long visit. His prior visit was for only one month to attend language school. He has asked me to help him prepare a budget for this trip, and I'm at something of a loss regarding food. When my wife and I visit major metropolitan areas, it's never for more than a week and we definitely splurge. We've not yet had the opportunity to rent an apartment or a condo for an extended stay, so we have no experience in determining home-cooked meals vs casual dining vs splurging. The visitors in question are not traveling on a shoestring, and the fact that Seoul is now the second most expensive city in the world makes Seattle reasonable by comparison. But neither is food at the top of their list in terms of experiencing America. I'm guessing that they will eat breakfast at home, lunch could be a picnic or a casual restaurant meal, dinner in a restaurant or at home or with my wife and I. ANY thoughts on providing a food budget for our visitors would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. That "second most expensive city in the world" is a red herring. It most likely refers to business travellers (or expat business persons in residence) with first-class accommodations and amenities and very healthy per diems. It has little to do with the cost of living for locals. Shanghai, by many rankings is more "expensive" than San Francsco, yet I can eat well in Shanghai for 1/5 the cost or less, in US dollars, as San Francisco.

    I would assume they would appreciate finding CHEAP (but tasty) eats.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gary Soup

      Absolutely. Seoul real estate is very expensive, but it has an active and plentiful street food culture and a bowl of noodles (jajangmyun) will cost no more the $4 at a family restaurant. On the other hand, I and a friend had coffee in the lobby of a Western business hotel and the bill came out to $60 (yes, for 2 cups of coffee!).

      I can't imagine how you can determine their budget for food, since dining choices (what level they prefer) will be made by them. Just give them a rough idea of what restaurant meals at different levels will cost and let them make the calculation.

    2. How about getting copies of menu's from different restaurants and send them to him? He can get an idea of what dining out costs and he could better figure out how much he'll need for food. Do some deli's, chain places, higher end places. Also, what kind of food is he looking for? Ethnic, traditional American. Lot's of questions to be answered before trying to help with a budget. I wouldn't even know where to begin to help without further knowledge.

      1. If they're not traveling on a shoestring, why do they need a budget? It seems like a lot to ask of you, coming up with a figure when you have no idea what their habits are going to be. Since Rachael Ray has to contort and scrimp on tips for her $40 a day, maybe $100 per day (at least) for 2 people?