Monday, May 29, 2017

Google Local Guides vs Yelp Elites

I've been an Elite Yelper for 6 years. I was curious with a constant popup from Google Maps app to join Local Guides. Here is a quick comparison with Google Local Guides and Yelp Elites.


  • Lack of Connection - There is connections with Google Maps reviewers and the readers. If you are a Local Guide, there is LocalGuidesConnect.com to have some sort of conversation. Most of conversations are fillers - users wants to get badges.
  • Lack of Social Interaction - Unlike Yelp, you can't follow a reviewer and read his/her reviews first. The reviews are sorted chronologically with ratings (non-verbiage review) on the bottom. It's meaningless to write a long review on a popular destination. I normally say a few words with dozen of photos.


It knows you're here. Some biz don't have one.


  • Content Quality - There's no standard with Local Guides. 
  • Level 5 Local Guides - Unlike Yelp Elites, there is no prestige to be recognized. Anything over 500 points is Level 5. Some people just post a sentence to say it's a review. So, one person wrote 500 nonsense reviews and he's a Level 5 Local Guides. 
  • Credibility - I've seen lots of Local Guides don't show their real name and no pictures. How can you be a reliable source to the community?
  • Lack of Community - There are few Local Guides in Houston. Who cares who's who.
  • Local Guides Meetup - I've seen this type of social event is not popular in Houston but overseas locations are common. I hosted  one meetup. Read my other blog.
These are my 2 cents about the Local Guides.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Xinjiang Dinner Explained

3 years ago when Brian D hosted his first meetup at Xinjiang BBQ, I already set my eyes on hosting an UYE (Unofficial Yelp Event) myself. This is not a remake. Instead, this unique traveling experience will take your taste bud around the western, northeastern and northern regions of China.


Today's cuisine is from Xinjian to Dongbei to Jiangsu.
Geographically speaking, Xinjiang is in the far west of China (light brown shaded area on the map) It's close to Mediterranean. So, the food tends to have more spices, but not pungent like Sichuanese food. Charcoal grilled skewers are made popular in this region.

Let's begin our journey with two of each Lamb Skewer ($11 per 10) 新疆羊肉串 and Beef Skewer ($11 per 10) 烤牛肉串 per person. I do not recommend eating every skewer flavor on the menu. Because it lacks variation with spices. It will be extremely boring at the end. Trust me. I don't want to disappoint you as I did this before.

Instead of a typical stir fried vegetables, you are here to experience something uniquely delicious and nutritious grilled vegetables. Please meet Grilled Chinese Chives 烤韭菜 ($4.50) and Grilled Enoki Mushrooms 烤金針菇 ($1.95) to the menu.

We will have the following entrées with steamed rice:
Beef Onion Blossom 葱爆牛肉 (Shandong) $9.65 - contains beef and ginger to replace Mapo Tofu.
Big Plate Chicken 新疆大盤雞 (Xinjian) $12.90 - contains gluten in noodles and hot pepper.
Shredded Potatoes in Vinegar 醋溜土豆絲 (Northern) $5.95
Northeast Sweet & Sour Pork 东北锅包肉 (Northeastern) $12.95 is replaced by Meatball in Brown Sauce 紅燒獅子頭 (Jiangsu).

Complimentary hot barley tea and steamed rice will be provided by your host.
Bring cash as we want to take advantage of 10% discount when we split the check.
You pay for your own beer.

This was from Bookmark Klub Meetup in July 2014
Sorry, Brian's meetup was not documented anywhere. The Meetup page got deleted. We had no trace of what happened that day except some photos for memory.