TL;DR: cut a small slit on one side and sip it at a high degree angle.

Every time I order a crema in the Bay Area, I’m handed a straw to drink it from. Why?? Why would I need to use an apparatus that only retrieves liquid from 1 height on a drink that is meant to be drank with its 2 components, on 2 separate layers, simultaneously?

I know I sound pretentious. I’m sorry. …

A Little Rant on Current Food Rating Apps

One problem I often encounter when deciding on which restaurant to eat at is the complete lack of condensed review information provided by food review apps like Yelp or Dianping.

Although rating apps store large amounts of quantitative data from the reviews of a restaurant, the end user only sees a single number out of 5. In fact, scientifically speaking, this “number” isn’t even quantitative data as so much it is categorical: the rating values only go up in half increments out of 5, so that there are at most 9 categories from 1 star to 5 stars. What’s worse is that most (say, 95%?) restaurants are huddled around the 3 to 4.5 …

“It’s hard to be a tourist in China. For one, you are primed to expect one of the world’s greatest cuisines, but the language barrier means that most of it is probably inaccessible. There is no great guide to eating in this country, or even in this city, and it’s hard to know who to trust. In this absence, unreliable websites like TripAdvisor and misguided books like Lonely Planet assume outsize influence. Underpaid or underinformed writers tread on the safest ground, rehashing the recommendations of ten or twenty years before, and so one ends up with restaurants…which has little going for it other than an English menu and an English-speaking staff.” — Christopher St. …

One (literally) sweet memory from my childhood are the egg tarts from Lillian’s Bakery. Every weekend after my violin lesson in Puxi, I would not fail to stop by and buy a couple before taking the metro home. This was back in 2004–Shanghai was a radically different place to what it is today–when there were only 2 metro lines and less than a block away from Lillian’s was the original Yang’s Dumplings (小杨生煎) on Wujiang Road before it franchised out.

This little ritual soon stopped after I quit the violin some time around 3rd grade. As we no longer had a reason to visit Puxi, the only egg tarts I’d occasionally get were from Bread Talk or Metro (yes, the German wholesaler), but they were like Megabloks substituting for Legos. In fact, even now, every time when I pass by a Lillian’s in the city, I make sure to bring back a half dozen. …


Alan Liang

CS & Econ @ UC Berkeley, but I like to write about food.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store