Chandavkl brings new meaning to Yelp reviews for Chinese restaurants

In case you missed it last week, here’s Chandavkl’s LA Weekly article. Why Yelp’s Chinese restaurant ratings are out of whack.


Yelp ratings summarize cluelessness. I skim the reviews to find knowledgeable ones. When the reviewers all say it was the first time they had the cuisine, Yelp is useless.

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provincialism is what it is. of course, it’s always the other person that’s guilty of it.


To me it’s not provincialism but inexperience. It’s pretty much a rule that when I’m in an unfamiliar area and try to find someplace interesting and good in on Yelp, the majority of reviews for higher-rated places say things like “this was my first time trying ________ food.”

I usually end up going to lower-rated places where I find a minority of reviews that say things like “the food reminds me of home” or “this is as good as ________ food gets around here unless I cook it myself,” and those reviews often have spot-on tips about what to order and not to order.

Jim Leff said years ago that when he was touring he found that Yelp reviews of Chinese places in college towns were reliable because most were written by Chinese grad students.


so you’re essentially saying that you look for the non provincial reviews?

Nowadays yelp is extremely unreliable since the only people that post are people that had bad experiences, or paid shills. The latter especially applies to new Asian restaurants.

Yelp is like when I was teenager sneaking in looks of Playboy at Barnes and Noble

The pictures!!


speaking as a former data industry person, you can’t determine the quality/accuracy of data without first defining how it’s going to be used.

if you’re looking for an aggregate recommendation based on yelp stars, then the reliability of the data can be questioned. but yelp can be useful if you mine for specific data elements where as robert suggested, one can then evaluate the individual quality of an element and factor that into the decision making process.


Provincialism is a very specific kind of inexperience. Somebody from Mississippi giving one star to a breakfast place because they didn’t have grits would be provincial.

ok. it’s my take that those who start with the qualifier “this is my first time” are already displaying an open mindedness you don’t find in the mindset of the provincial and they are less likely to judge something harshly because of how something fails a limited world view of expectations.

I think you’re talking about false negaties (ignorant negative reviews lowering the rating) and I’m talking about false positives.

The first time you have a cuisine you might know that you like it, but you don’t know how it stacks up against the competition, or whether it’s traditional or Americanized or whatever.

ok. gotcha.

Yelp reviews may be worthless but Yelp pictures is priceless.


How so? Not being facetious. Just curious why everybody likes them so much?

best source for plagiarizing pictures.


Gotcha’. That’s what I do too.

I like to read the reviews for when people (usually females) say things like, “They didn’t have anything vegan. They should really have something vegan, they would get s lot more business. And they didn’t even have brown rice, so a person has to just sit there and watch while their friends eat! They would make a lot more money if they made something for vegans.”

(I’m paraphrasing, but feel free to throw “gluten-free chow mein” in there, as appropriate.)


Or “I hate that place because that’s where I broke up with my boyfriend.”


Yep. It adds to the theory that men like visuals. Until joining FTC, I read Yelp reviews but hardly looked at the pictures, and never posted any. But a lot of male Food Talkers are all about Yelp pictures. I started looking and now cadge them too. But still, I find Food Talker’s pics are much better.

Don’t anyone bother to dispute my sexist comments. It’s just a theory. I don’t care.

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That’s because reviews lie. Pictures don’t.