Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chinese meridian diagram: Face

Apply pressure to these meridian points for about 1 minute each.
You can do these while you are watching TV, eating, waiting in line, etc. There's not side effect.

F1: headache relief; brighten the eyes
F2: helps with clearing acne
F3: immediate congestion relief
F4: helps with muscle cramps and motion sickness


UNrelated: How to bring people to your blog

Since I spent time writing these posts, I figure I want people to come and read them. I am not monetizing my blog; I just want to share. You don't have to read this unless you are like me who want to bring more traffic to your blog.

Information on increasing SEO

2. Increase your blog's backlinks to increase your searching engine ranking:
Just go to this website to add yourself on the list (and post it on your blog). It's a collaborative effort. Join us!
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The ugly truth about some ethnic restaurants

You want to try this small home-style Chinese restaurant around the corner. You go in, the lady who owns this place treat you with a welcoming smile. Because there are only a few tables in this restaurant, there are only two other waitresses in addition to the owner. You sit down, then the owner motions one of the waitress to bring you your tea. After eating for a while, you notice something strange. The owner lady has a perpetual welcoming smile, while the two staffs look neutral and almost rude, as if they don't want to be there.


That's because the two staffs who serve you do not get any of the tips that you leave at the end of the meal.

I have friends who worked as "staffs" (I call them "staff" because waitress and waiter get tips, but they don't) in a small restaurants. When the owners hire them, they tell them that they don't get any share of the gratitude fees. They took the job anyway because hourly wage without tips is better than being unemployed. But obviously they were not happy. Some of them told me they feel like they need not to socialize with the guests since they are not getting any tips in the end. So they adapted a stone face, as if it's a way of silent protest. One of them told me she still chats and socializes with the guests. One time the customer was feeling generous and left good tips, then she secretly told him to take some back because the owner gets all the tips, not her. It was her way of getting back at the owner.

I also know from friends who work in medium-scaled restaurants that tips is shared among the waiters/waitresses and the owner, of which the owner gets a large share (50%). So at the end of the day, the waiters and waitresses each don't get much.

The tipping-the-owner-only system, which is usually found in small-scaled restaurants, is not that widespread. But it does exists. Now you know.

Don't send your food back!

Restaurant employee spitting in your plate of food--Is it only a myth?


Because my dad have worked in the restaurant business for all his life, I am privy to the "insider" view on this topic.

My dad always tell me a story of this co-worker that he once worked with. He tells us that this co-worker was just an all-around mean person with bad temper. Whenever customers send food back and ask for a replacement, this person would spit into the replacement for revenge.

But don't be scared, this sort of things rarely happens, as my dad said. Of all the people whom he encountered in the business, this was the only one; even he was shocked that such disgusting person exists. So chances are you are fine.

Why would this kind of act happen?

Aside from the fact that some people are just born bad, there are other reasons.

Restaurant business is hard work. Servers have to walk, or even run in some cases, all the time, especially in low-staffed restaurants. Staffs who work in the kitchen have to withstand hot temperature and lot of running and rushing as well. Most of the time their pay is quite low.

Spitting in customer's food usually happens in low-staffed restaurant with low pay. When workers are not satisfied with their working conditions (but they cannot switch work due to various reasons), they become grouchy with bad mood. Then if the customers cause more trouble for them (ie. asking for a replacement), there's no way to tell what they would do.

But like I said, it rarely happens, as most of us have a fairly decent character.

How can you avoid it?

I think this has to do with karma more than anything else. If you are an arrogant, demanding, rude, think-you-deserve-the-best-because-you-are-spending-money type of customer, start changing your view today.

Think of it this way, when you eat at a restaurant, you are basically asking someone else to do the work for you (prepare, cook, serve, clean). Restaurant workers work together to provide you with a pleasant dining experience, they provide their expertise for you to enjoy your meal, you should be filled with gratitude. They have the right to refuse customers; they don't have to serve everyone who comes into the place. They don't owe you because you pay for your meal at the end. Other customers pay for the worker's labor too; it's not like you are any special.

My advice:
  • Just be nice to the waiter/waitress.
  • When you eat out, don't ask for a replacement unless there's something really wrong about it.
  • When you do need a replacement, be polite.
  • Try not to ask for a replacement when the restaurant is busy. Be considerate.

Don't worry, if you don't cause trouble for others, they won't cause trouble to you.

The Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hidden Treasures 1--Delicious Asian foods that not that many people know about:

Asian Ramen Cup Noodle

When we think of cup noodle, we usually think of the ones made by popular companies like Mauruchan and Nissin.

Some people eat cup noodle for its taste; but most eat it because of its convenience. They typically come in a few flavors that start to taste bland after a while.

If you are a college student or someone of the like who need to resort to instant lunches because of various reasons, keep reading!

Cup noodles originated from Japan and spread to all Asian countries. It has long been woven into fabric of Asian food culture. Each Asian country made modifications and added creative ideas to cup noodles according to the taste of its culture, resulting in a myriad of different cup noodle flavors.

If you like spicy (really spicy), go for Korean cup noodles.
If you like salty flavored ones like the typical Chinese food outside, go for Chinese and Taiwanese-made cup noodles.
If you like Japanese food, go for Japanese cup noodles (but it may be more expensive).
If you enjoy Vietnamese pho, they even make cup noodles with rice noodles in it.
There are also Indonesian, Philippines, Thailand-made cup noodles. Each of them tastes a little bit different, you just have to taste them yourself.

How are they different?

The Noodle
There are a variety of noodles for you to choose. While some still use ramen noodles, most use ethnic noodles that are popular to their own culture.

The Seasoning
Asian cup noodles are MUCH more flavorful than M & N ones. Most Asian cup noodles aim to make instant noodles as similar as real food as possible. So they put a lot of care into the seasoning. Some of them even include a pack of oil that is flavored with garlic and spices, which gives the noodles a much more realistic taste (if you like this kind, look for ones made in Guangzhou, Southern China).

The Dehydrated Food
If you are completely bored with the M & N's dehydrated carrot and peas, you will love the dehydrated food found in Asian cup noodles.
In addition to dehydrated green onion (leek), some Asian cup noodles have freeze-dried shrimp, beef, imitation crab, mushroom...all of which make the cup noodles more similar to real food.

Unlike the one-size cup-style noodles that we all know so well about, Asian cup noodles usually don't come in cups. Technically, "bowl noodles" is a better-suited name since they come in colorful bowls (see above) with a larger volume for more soup and noodles.

As you can see, Asian cup noodles come in many varieties. You don't need to suffer from mono-taste anymore!

Where can I get them?
You would be able to find the cup noodles isle in any Asian and Pacific Islander ethnic stores (supermarket) in the US.

When people buy cup noodles, they usually buy a whole box (about $5-15 for 12-20ct). But stores usually carry individual cup noodles that costs around $1.50-3.00 each. I suggest you try these singles first before you commit to a box. Many of them have English translation and pictures on the packaging, but if you are in doubt, ask the staff for clarification.

Enjoy your bowl of noodles!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to type chinese characters on your computer

PC computers sold in China have built-in Chinese character input program. But English Windows computers require an additional installation of Chinese character typing program. I used to think I need to purchase some kind of software in order to input Chinese character on my computer. I even thought of asking relatives in China to buy me an input program. But after an hour of online research, I finally figured out how to type Chinese on my computer--absolutely free.

A little bit of background:
My computer is running the Windows XP service pack 3 operating system.
I want to input Traditional Chinese character using ChangJie method.
*For users who want use Taiwanese pinyin and for users who want to use Mainland Chinese Bopomofo, skip to to the bottom of the page. I'll tell you how.

1. First, visit your control panel. Select "Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options." Then select "Regional and Language Update" (the globe icon).

2. Select the Languages tab on the top. Under "Text services and input languages," click on "Details..."

3. Click the "Add" button; select Chinese (Taiwan)
. For some reasons, I couldn't apply the ChangJie program to Hong Kong SAR, so just pick Taiwan. They both use Traditional Chinese font.

4. Click OK and OK.

5. Go online to

6. Read. Select your internet speed/estimated download time. Then Scroll down to the bottom. You will see 3 options:
TINTSETP.MSI: Microsoft New Phonetic IME
CINTSETP.MSI: Microsoft New ChangJie IME
Pick the "CINTSETP" one for ChangJie method.

7. After you save it, just click on it (it should be on your desktop) and install. No rebooting necessary, YEAH!

8. After you are done, go back to the Regional Languages place in control panel following the same steps above.

9. You should now see "Chinese (Traditional)-New ChangJie" under the "Keyboard" of "Chinese (Taiwan)." There is a little button on your taskbar (the bottom left of your screen close to the clock). You can toggle back and forth between English and Chinese by click it.

10. It's time to take a test drive; open up a word document.

11. Select Chinese using that button in step 12. Now type something! (eg. a+b+spacebar=明) By the way, you can now type Chinese virtually anywhere on your computer (browser, excel, etc.).

**For Taiwanese PinYin and Chinese Bopomofo users:
Follow the above same steps but go to here to download Microsoft Global IME instead:
After you download, hightlight "Microsoft Global IME" under the keyboard icon (Languages) and click "properties" button. Pick the second tab on the top and you will see a list of different intelligent phonetic input methods, select the one you prefer.

Additional link:
A list of different input methods (Japanese, Chinese, Simplified & Traditional) that Microsoft provides: