Monday, March 2, 2009

Divine Performing Arts 2009 World Tour

Divine Performing Arts is going to Columbus, Ohio on March 8, 2009. The dancers and the live orchestra are performing at the Ohio Theatre from 6:30pm. Ticket prices start from $28 to $108. You can get your tickets online at

Get 10% discount for seniors and students, and 15% discount for group of 10 or more.

Need help in Chinese to order the tickets? Call 888-308-5998.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ohio China Day in Columbus

I moved to Ohio a few months ago and have always been wondering if I can find a bit more Chinese heritage in this part of the U.S. With my Toastmasters network, I attended the Ohio China Day on February 8 in Columbus.

When I first stepped into the venue, I was amazed at how many Chinese there were! Having lived in a small town in New Mexico for a few years, it is almost overwhelming to see so many Chinese all at one place. I got really curious and started to look around.

At the entrance of the venue, I saw a yellow table with the names of different Chinese schools on it. Then I started to realize how established the Chinese community here is. Wow, I was really impressed.

Ohio China Day brought the Chinese communities in various parts of Ohio together. Vendors, such as Chinese restaurants and other businesses owned by Chinese, set up counters at the event. The main attraction was the different cultural performances by adults and kids to celebrate Chinese New Year. Some of the performances sounded a bit like those in the American Idol, but they certainly had high entertainment value! Overall, it was a fun-filled event and I enjoyed seeing the Chinese heritage unfolded in a foreign land.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Destined to escape the fire at Mandarin Oriental Beijing?

The nearly completed Mandarin Oriental Beijing caught fire on February 8. Various reports said it was possibly due to the sparks from fireworks that was set off as part of the Chinese New Year celebration.

When I heard the news from my parents at first, I thought, "wow, I might have been stuck with the fire and smoke if I accepted their job offer last year." Or that the hotel was burned down and it had to be rebuilt, the expatriates might just enjoy another long year before they needed to do any actual work.

Who knows? I am just glad I did not have to speculate or worry about that.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chinese dim sum in Columbus, OH

I have been craving for Chinese dim sum for a while. Being new in Ohio, I just never knew where I could find a decent Chinese restaurant with dim sum. Fortunately, after making some new friends, I was given some highly reliable tips about where to eat in Columbus.

For those who know what dim sum is or simply want to find out what to order next time, I am sharing some of my favorite dishes here with you:

Top left: crispy taro snack; Top right: shrimp dumplings
Bottom left: sweet bean curd; Bottom middle: sesame balls; Bottom right: egg tarts

The bottom three are all dessert. In fact, all their dishes were really good...just a bit pricey though. The dishes shown here range from $3.35 to $4.95. Some can go up to $5.95. Essentially, it is almost double the price in Hong Kong. But, this is still cheaper than buying a $1,000-air ticket and eat in Hong Kong!

Friday, January 9, 2009

"Mong Kok" in a quiet corner in North Carolina

"Mong Kok" is a "happening" place in Hong Kong with lots of shopping, food...and people. When I visited Winston Salem and Lewisville in North Carolina in December, I was surprised to find a small Chinese restaurant named Mong Kok in a small, quiet strip mall. I knew immediately that the owner must be from Hong Kong.

I walked into the restaurant and was greeted by friendly smiles. The owner looked like Chinese to me, but it was still hard for me to tell if she was from Hong Kong. I was looking at the menu and started to speak to her in Cantonese (mother tongue of Hong Kong people). The owner looked at me and said "whoa, you speak Cantonese? Where are you from?" It is always good to see a familiar face in a foreign land. We started chatting and found out that she was indeed from Hong Kong and had lived in the U.S. for many years.

When I brought up the name of the restaurant, the owner said, "we are in a quiet location and that's why we call this place Mong Kok in the Chinese name." In Chinese, Mong Kok means a busy corner. So they chose the name for "feng shui" reason, hoping that it will bring them lots of business. The English name of this restaurant is called China Wok Chinese restaurant.

To be honest, with the quality of their food and service, I see no reason they will not do well. They even do free delivery for orders over $10. It is indeed a small restaurant...actually it is more like a take-out place, but I think it is what they offer that matters.

If you are in the area and are interested in trying it out, the address is 189 Lowes Foods Drive, Lewisville, NC 27023. Phone number: (336) 945-6228.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Panda Express - More Than a Fast Food Restaurant

People usually say you can't expect much from a fast food restaurant. The food is generally okay and the service is fast, but impersonal. Obviously, as with anything under the sun, stereotypes are generalizations that do not work on everybody. I have been to Panda Express several times and I was impressed with their service every time I was there.

I am in love with their BBQ pork, a Cantonese dish from the Guangdong Province of China. It is oven-roasted and glazed with Chinese BBQ sauce. Being a Chinese myself, I have to say that this dish is particularly authentic and works well as an ingredient for fried rice or chow mien. I took a casual photo of the BBQ pork as shown below. During my last visit there, I asked for three portions of their BBQ pork for takeout. Their tray for this entree item was empty, but they said they would prepare them immediately. The friendly cashier offered me a free drink while I was waiting.

The pork came out hot and steamy, which was way better than having them sitting in the food tray for hours like those in the Chinese buffet restaurants. The staff who was cutting the meat made sure he gave me the correct portions by measuring them in a container before putting them in my takeout box.

At Panda Express, I see several important elements of customer service - care, anticipation, quality, and precision. I am sure many restaurants or stores have the same values, but not many of them actually are able to demonstrate them and have a resonance with the customers. This is definitely more than a fast food restaurant.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cantonese restaurant in Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Dim sum is a popular Cantonese meal for Chinese. It is a meal with different small dishes of delicacies such as steamed shrimp dumplings and deep fried taro puff. Most Chinese restaurants do not serve dim sum because it requires a different set of skills and not all Chinese chefs know how to make them.

Fortunately, I found one Chinese restaurant called Sun Tung Lok in Reynoldsburg, Ohio that serves around 10 dishes of dim sum, including shrimp dumplings and steamed spareribs with black beans (as shown below). The size is much bigger than a regular dim sum size, but the taste is exactly the same as what a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong serves.

Since not many Americans know what dim sum is, they do not make them often. I usually call to make sure they prepare them before I drive there. It is a hassle, but unless you are in big cities like Las Vegas, New York or Los Angeles, it is next to impossible to find a restaurant that can make proper dim sum.