Have you ever been on a trip and wished you had a local guide who could take you to off-the-beaten-track restaurants and bars serving deep dive authentic dishes and drinks? Then get excited: a new social app matches up culinary-curious travelers with gracious hosts eager to show off their hometown food scene.
OodyMate is the first app that allows users to discover local restaurants and create a truly personalized dining experience through a unique matching system. Users browse through the list of open requests and locals in every city, and they can also post an OodyMeet (the app’s version of a request) which will remain on the list for other users to see. Once there is a match, users start chatting to get to know each other and coordinate a meeting. Travelers can choose in advance if they want to split the check with a local or pay for their host's meal in exchange for being introduced to a stellar dining establishment.
The app is the brainchild of founder Chu-Ping Ou, who was inspired to create a community after a trip to Spain in 2016. Enjoying indigenous cuisine was what he most looked forward to, but since he didn’t speak Spanish and didn’t really put much stock in recommendation apps he wound up wandering around cities selecting restaurants according to his budget. He believed the entire dining experience would have been far better with a friendly local. Two years ago he developed OodyMate with the help of co-founders Nicolas Sukiennik and Konstantin Bogunov; the trio spent more than a year to accumulate user feedback and released the first full-fledged version (Ver. 3.0) at the beginning of 2020.
OodyMate’s food-themed community lets anyone create social gatherings around a meal in any global city. And matching locals and travelers helps solve two of the major challenges faced by travelers: finding an authentic place to eat and overcoming language barriers when ordering food. OodyMate is also the world’s first vegan- and female-friendly social travel app - women can request that only women accompany them to restaurants, and vegans can put in a request to dine at a vegan concept. What’s more, users can also find people by conversation topics, so there is no awkward silence at the table. The app is completely free of charge to use and free from advertisements and requires iOS 13 or later or Android 6.0 or later.
The uses for OodyMat are endlessly delicious. US travelers can go to Izakaya restaurants in Tokyo that don’t even have an English menu. A New Yorker might be treated to lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen by a Spanish business traveler. And you might not have to hire a local food guide on that next trip to Seoul or Bangkok.
As Chu puts it, “You can now eat the world with OodyMate.”