On July 24th, Dianping released the “must-eat list” for 2020. The must-eat list is a list that recommends low-and middle-end restaurants across China, taking into account the popularity of restaurants rather than the quality of restaurants. At the same time, Dianping will also write an additional “Black Pearl” list, which will be used by editors to recommend more professional middle-and high-end restaurants in addition to user recommendations. 

When the must-eat list was first launched in 2017, the positioning of the list was unclear and the selection criteria were questionable. After several years of operation, it is now basically certain that the must-eat list mainly refers to the recommendation of Dianping users.

In the 2020 must-eat list, 1288 restaurants from 44 Chinese cities were selected, more than 20 times larger than the 2017 version. According to Meituan’s consumption data, women born after 1985 patronize these restaurants most frequently, probably because they are Dianping’s most active users.

The restaurants on the list are selected comprehensively based on 160 million consumers’ review data contributed by Dianping’s 28.44 million users in the past year. In terms of urban geographical distribution, 34.2% of the “must-eat list” merchants are concentrated in East China. Among them, there are 121 Shanghai merchants on the list, ranking first in the country.

Central China is home to the largest number of crayfish restaurants in the country, and the crayfish restaurants on the list in Wuhan ranks first in central China. South China has the largest number of Cantonese food merchants on the list, while Shenzhen has the largest increase in the number of must-eat merchants. The number of must-eat restaurants in the southwest and northwest regions increased from 169 last year to 215 this year, an increase of 27.8% over the same period last year.

From the perspective of store age, in North China and Northeast China, the average number of years of stores built by must-eat list merchants is the longest, more than 6 years. Since 2017, there have been 24 restaurants on the list for four consecutive years, of which the Beijing area accounts for about 1/3.

In this list, there are 97 restaurants in Beijing, including Beijing Roast Duck, Zhizi Barbecue, Copper Pot Shu Meat, Luzhuhuoshao, and other local restaurants in Beijing.

Founded in April 2003, Dianping is one of the largest urban life consumption guide sites in China. It is a discussion and information platform for meals, offline shopping, and life services based on third-party comments. With its development, booking, group buying, discount promotion, and other functions have been gradually added.

On October 8, 2015, Dianping and Meituan jointly established a new company, Meituan. In early November 2015, Wang Xing,  the CEO of Meituan, began to serve as the new company CEO, which can be seen as a complete merger of Dianping and Meituan. Nowadays, when the Chinese call this company, they only say “Meituan” rather than “Dianping”. Even so, Dianping is still a well-known social and tool application when talking about specific products.