Friday, November 2, 2012

Itaewon to recognize 'food street'

A large kebab is seen at the booth of a Turkish restaurant during the Itaewon Global Village Festival, central Seoul, last month. The ward office will designate a food street in the tourist district where restaurants selling food from around the world are gathered. / Courtesy of Yongsan-gu Office

Itaewon, a tourist district in central Seoul, will have a street dedicated to foods from all around the world.

The Yongsan District Office governing the special tourist zone said Thursday it will designate the area behind the Hamilton Hotel as a world food culture street.

The envisaged designation, pending administrative support is expected to improve the area’s facilities, which has emerged as a hot place for world cuisine lovers.

“The number of visitors there has grown rapidly in the last few years. With restaurants offering about 30 countries’ cuisine and related shops, the infrastructure for such a special street is already set,” an official of the district office said.

The area will be vehicle-free on weekends. “A huge number of people visit there, especially during dinner time on weekends. Visitors have difficulty getting around the congested area, worsened by vehicular traffic. People therefore have to endure the drudgery of meandering through the choked streets,” the official said.

He said in a meeting with merchants and restaurant owners in August, they suggested banning cars in the area from 4 p.m. to midnight from Friday to Sunday. “We plan to implement the ban during the first half of next year after discussing the issue with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the police.”

The ward office is also devising other ways to provide more parking spaces, including encouraging visitors to leave their cars at the parking lot of the office building which is only minutes away from the entrance of Itaewon near Noksapyeong Station.

The measure will help to free up space on pavements. There also be a provision of maps, guideposts and other systems providing information on the area’s restaurants.

More cultural events are also planned to promote the food district, including intensive promotions to run parallel with the Itaewon Global Village Festival. Restaurants there have already promoted themselves by participating in the annual festival, with the latest one held on Oct. 12-14.

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