Monday, November 5, 2018

Improv Chinatown Crawl SJC

This was my first time to host a Chinatown Crawl event within 24 hours and away from home. It only took me 20 minutes to plan an improv event and post it on Facebook. During my vacation to San Jose Bay Area last August, family members got interested with my food crawl style meetup in Houston. But there is no way for them to experience it.

So, I decided to host a Chinatown Crawl in San Jose to give them a firsthand experience. It also gave me an opportunity to test this concept. After the successful Asian Heritage Celebration @ North Golden Sun Plaza being outside of Chinatown, I knew this would be a breeze.

First, I asked my nieces and family friends where they would like to eat. I told them about my fond memories from a longest running crawl event - Year of the Dog UYE @ 75+85 ChinatownCrawl. My focus would be about BBQ and Hotpot in San Jose.

Originally, we planned to crawl Silver Creek Market Place on Story Road. We can dine at Q Pot Korean BBQ & Hot Pot and having dessert at Teasociety. But my nieces couldn't make it to San Jose until after 8 and we won't have enough time to just eat at one place, we moved our venue to a different strip mall.

I left Bay Area right before the turn of millennium. I have very little local knowledge of East San Jose. But I know how Asians gather, I found a strip mall 8 miles away in Berryessa Neighborhood. It was just perfect for my crawl to happen.

First stop, we went to Chef Liu Restaurant for that real Chinese BBQ experience. After dinner, we stopped at Tastea for dessert drinks. It was a Monday night. So, we skipped shopping segment. I was very happy to see 8 guests enjoyed my Chinatown Crawl experience within 2.5 hours. This helped me to plan my next Crawl UYE when I visit San Jose again next year.

Friday, August 31, 2018

My 5K Challenge

Before my trip to California, I had to do a little soul searching with my loyalty programs. Who gives me the most wins. I have AAdvantage and Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards.
This is a nerve wracking challenge
Late June, I received an invitation to join a 5K Challenge. Here is how it goes. 

Earn up to 5,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles when you register and complete these qualifying activities in any order through September 30, 2018:
  • Make any purchase with AAdvantage® eShopping℠
  • Dine-in or carry out with AAdvantage® Dining℠
  • Book and stay at a hotel at
  • Rent and drive a car at
  • Fly on an American Airlines marketed and operated flight
Waiting on 2500 miles from hotel stay

But here is the tricky part. The points are accumulated by steps.
· 1 activity = 50 bonus miles
· 2 activities = 250 bonus miles
· 3 activities = 1,000 bonus miles
· 4 activities = 2,500 bonus miles
· 5 activities = 5,000 bonus miles

I started with Shopping (50) and Dining (+200). Before the trip, I earned 300 bonus miles. Then, I bought American Airline ticket through the website. After travel started, another 750 miles added. I completed my car rental from Avis at SJC and racked up another 1500 miles. I am patiently waiting for my 2500 miles for my hotel stay.

I booked a very weird place called Saratoga House through It's a room with shared bath in Saratoga. I had to call it B&B because you can cook your own breakfast with whatever is in the refrigerator. Oh. That was nasty. One night was only $75, cheaper than hotel because there was no hotel tax. The downside was no parking. I had to ask my sister to drop me off and pick me up to go to the airport next morning. WiFi was turned off when I got up at 6 am and didn't turn on until 7 am. There is no cell data signal or any hot spot WiFi available nearby.
Because this is an unconventional hotel, they are slow on releasing my AA miles. I am stuck with pending 2500 point to complete the 5k Challenge. I wrote to customer service. She says it should post as soon as the miles are added to my account. 

Overall. I would consider fly American Airlines if I can avoid taking CRJ class airplanes. I refused to rent another car from Avis or Budget. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

I got ousted

I got ousted as Barons of Chinatown and Sharpstown within a week in May.

I really don't care. My position is never changed since my blog post in 2016. Considered it as a term limit like for politicians, I am happy with my 3-year baronship

Why do I don't check-in in Chinatown any more? I got a little disgusted after reading Food Inspection Reports on EveryBlock. This is one of the reasons I don't eat out after reading those restaurants with serious health violations. I learned how to enjoy cooking at home.
Huzzah! As the Duke of the most businesses in Chinatown, you've got serious 'Good cred.

May 13, 2018 was my last day as of Baron of Chinatown. Here are screen shots on my phone.
Panel 1 and 2 were mine. Panel 3 was Fox E's.
I checked my Baronship page every week. At 5 pm as panel 1 shows above, I had Chinatown. But I received a notification at 7:15 pm, mine was gone and it went to Fox.

I called this a game over. Sometimes I don't check-in just because it makes no sense to do it any more. The only reason I check-in is that I could remember to post my photos and perhaps write a review. I have better use of my time. I'd rather walk in the park or enjoy another person's company, instead of fighting for digital life with non-sense.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Removed Yelp Review in Respect of Event Host

This review was originally posted at UYE: Korean BBQ & Sashimi.

I've decided to take it down because I felt my experience should have no rating. It's not fair to impact the event host's hard work organizing such gathering in short notice.
I deleted this review voluntarily

What? No one mentioned me? Yeah. I was there visiting not eating. Since it was close to my office, I decided to stop by to say hello.

This must be a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Come on Il Me Jung, put a sign out there. I parked across street hoping not to get towed. At least the street wasn't busy. 

I couldn't believe so many people could fit in a room like a wash closet. I couldn't stay to join because I'm agoraphobic, not particularly favor of big crowd in small space. I also don't like communal style eating. Sorry. 

If you are interested to watch the full video, here you go

See all photos from Lou C. for UYE: Korean BBQ & Sashimi

No regret. It's gone.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Yelp vs Google Profanity Filter

Profanity is not allowed in my family. I don't know about yours, but we were taught not to swear in any language. What if you start watching a silly movie on TV, you noticed lots of beeps at the beginning of a profanity word. I would flip the channel to watch something else. 

Some people have different tolerance level when it comes to profanity. You are not supposed to swear in class, at work or at church. But people do. Some people even swear in reviews.
Not clear why they had to use F-words at Arirang

I have seen Yelp bypassed a few reviews with loaded F-words, B-words and A-words. I reported few reviews. They all came back with "We realize that different people have different tolerances for strong language, but our bar is pretty high so that we can allow reviewers to tell their story in their own words even when things get colorful. With that said, we've decided not to remove the review after carefully assessing it against our Content Guidelines, but thank you for bringing it to our attention."
I can't understand why this person is so angry at Jusgo Supermarket

How about Google reviews? The bar is very low. The programmer created a Profanity Filter to automatically detect those words and take them away from public. I read somewhere about people got frustrated with review go removed because of a drink called Skinny B-tch. It does exist. 

I had an experience like that. See my review image below and my actual review. The reason I found out about my missing review was because Google sent me a congratulatory email about how many likes at that time compared to this moment. 6 likes were deducted. Then, I went to a different Google login to check my review. Sure enough, this review was missing from public view. 
I put my Google review to the test. Here is the proof.

As soon as I removed the B-word, the review went public again. Next time, I'll stick with the topic. Watch out for the profanity filter by Google.

Friday, March 16, 2018

North Golden Sun Plaza

Here is a newfound strip mall that resembles a strip mall in Chinatown. It's called North Golden Sun Plaza (Google | Yelp) in North Houston. The zip code should be 77014, but many still using 77068 because it's separated by a street. The street address is 3645 Cypress Creek Parkway, aka FM 1960 W, between TC Jester and Walter Road.

According to an article on, North Golden Sun Plaza was established when Sun's Club moved in 2015 after Wal-mart moved across street (zip code 77068). Then, the lot owner expanded from one building to this horseshoe-shaped 3 buildings.

Thanks to the Facebook folks who live around this area for the history and the proper street name of Cypress Creek Parkway. FM 1960 was renamed within last few years (article on Therefore, you'll see some newer businesses are using Cypress Creek Parkway on their business cards. Either way is correct. However, not many business owners attach their suite number on their marketing pieces. This is why I created this mall directory. Since I am hosting a #ChinatownCrawl and I want my guests to be able to go to the correct restaurant.
Building A starts with suite 100 series

Building A
110 - Jin Korean BBQ = Google | Yelp | Facebook
128 - Un4gettable Hair = Google | Yelp | Facebook
BB Fajas = Google | Yelp
138 - Star Shipping = Google  | Yelp
King Diamond = Google Map | Yelp
Hong Lan Chuyen Tien = Google Map | Yelp
100 - Sun's Warehouse Club = Google | Yelp
168 - The Face Shop = Google | Yelp | Facebook
178 – Six Pings Bakery = Google | Yelp
188 – Yummie Street Food = Google | Yelp
198 - Chez Beignets Wings & Boba = Google | Yelp | Facebook

Building B starts with suite 200 series
Building B
208 - Pho Nuong U-Me = Google | Yelp | Facebook | Twitter 
218 - Hou Wei Chinese Restaurant = Google | Yelp
228 - Ramen Fun = Google | Yelp | Facebook | Twitter
238 - Kung Fu Tea = Google | Yelp | Twitter
278 - CyFair Pediatrics = Google | Yelp
288 - Blue Ocean Smoothies = Google | Yelp

Building C starts with suite 300 series
Building C
306 - MetroPC = Google | Yelp
312 - Buzz Liquor = Google Map | Yelp | Facebook
318 - Golden Bank = Google | Yelp
328 - Dulcia Handcrafted Ice Cream = Google | Yelp | Facebook
338 - Pro Stylist = Google | Yelp
368 - Hunan Cafe = Google | Yelp
La Ca (Private Club)

I do not work for North Golden Sun Plaza nor at any of these businesses at North Golden Sun Plaza. This is a merely a map reference. There will be changes in the future, but I am not be able to correct them. Feel free to post the new store addition and updates in a comment below. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hot Pot Sauce Recipes

Let's make some sauces for the hot pot dinner. Sauce is essential to the meal. What would you want it to taste? Spicy, Savory. Sweet. Mild. You name it. I collected these simple recipes from few websites in China and translated to English especially made for the Chinatown Crawl UYE at 75 BBQ & Hot Pot Buffet.

These are just for looks. 2 out of 5 sauces are below my expectations.

Look at the sauce bar first. These are on the line for you to choose from. But you must know how they taste first. Here are the hints.

Left side of sauce bar

  • Shrimp flavored chips - not sauce, just snacks
  • Soy bean paste - deep fermented beans base
  • Oyster sauce - sweet savory
  • Seafood sauce - sweet savory
  • Soy sauce - salty liquid
  • Chili pepper - spicy condiment
  • Crushed peanuts - nutty condiment
  • Cilantro - savory condiment
  • Cumin - savory condiment
  • Chopped green onions - savory condiment
  • Sesame - savory condiment
  • Fermented bean curd - light salty base
Right side of sauce bar
  • Sesame oil - fragrant oil
  • Leek flower - salty condiment
  • Garlic - savory condiment
  • Sesame sauce - thick base
  • Spicy sauce - spicy base
  • Shacha sauce - savory sweet base (has fish)
  • Chili Oil - spicy oil
  • Korean BBQ sauce - sweet salty sauce
  • Dry seasoning - for BBQ as dry rub
  • Peanut butter sauce - sweet thick base
  • Sugar - good with everything
  • Fish sauce - use sparingly, very salty

Bottles on the side:
  • MSG - flavor enhancer could cause headache
  • Salt, Vinegar
  • Prickly ash oil - numbing sensation like mala Sichuan condiment
  • Sriracha hot sauce - spicy condiment
  • American BBQ sauces

Try these 9 Simple Recipes:

Sweet Based - This is a combination of sweet and mild sauces.
Sesame oil, hoisin sauce, toasted peppers, cilantro, sugar, sesame seeds

Spicy Mouth - All peppers can give you great spicy taste in the mouth. It might give you tearing eyes.
Hot oil, prickly ash oil, ground pepper, toasted pepper, cilantro, green onions.

Hot Pot Basic - This is for hot pot rookies. You can adjust saltiness with salt.
Oyster sauce, toasted peppers, oil, minced garlic, green onions, sesame seeds.

Mildly Spiced - It has no soy sauce and no salt. Perfect for folks don't like heavily sauces but loves spiciness.
Hot sauce, minced garlic, crushed peanuts, cilantro

Seafood Special - This mixture can lift savory and freshness. Good with seafood variety.
Peanut paste, hoisin sauce, minced garlic, dried shrimps, crushed peanuts, cilantro

Northern Style - Focus on spicy hot. This mixture is perfect for vegetables and meat eaters.
Sesame sauce, hot sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, green onion, minced ginger

Southern Style - It has resemblance of bean sauce for dry noodles. It can be the seasoning for cellophane noodles.
Shacha sauce, minced preserved vegetables, minced garlic, sweet bean paste

Sweet Hot Flavor - Combine sweet, spicy and savory to compliment red meats.
Sesame sauce, chili bean paste, beef paste, sesame oil, sugar, crushed peanuts.

Fermented Tofu Flavor - Combine sweet, salty and spicy flavors to compliment with seafood.
Sesame sauce, fermented tofu sauce, cilantro, red chili oil.

Watch the Sauce Bar Instruction video on YouTube