Weekday Scenes in San Francisco

We finally have some nice and warm days in San Francisco this week. In the past two weeks, we thought that the summer would never come again as it was cold, grim, and a little rainy.

Here are a few scenes from good old downtown/ financial district of San Francisco to give you a flavour what ordinary and working citizens enjoy here, and it is not all about Uber or Google:Food trucks are very San Franciscan. There are more people queuing up for food trucks than in restaurants! Food trucks that sell good coffee are the most popular! 

Sushi Burrito is definitely in! San Franciscans love sushi and burritos, and therefore comes Sushiritto combining Asian and Latin flavour in one bite. More and more of these shops are springing up-did you know that sushi means vinegared rice and not the raw fish or other ingredients that come with it? So sushi burrito has the rice but nothing raw. The ingredients are oh so innovative and yummy, like this curry chicken katsu with Jalapeños, avocado, and Perivian purple potatoes.

The other popular concept here is community banks. The chic Portland-based Umpqua Bank has expanded to San Francisco.  They not only have normal banking services but also catered community events on science, environmental and science topics for the community, and allow clients to book their conference rooms, and everyone to enjoy free coffee.

Now to get San Franciscans to go out at night these days is a bit of a stretch as many are glued to their cable TV or local bar to watch the NBA basketball games.  Our own Warriors will have the chance to win the NBA finals after 40 years! Their knockoff T-shirts are selling quick. Then there is the Friday rush hour traffic- bad but nevertheless not awful. Cars are flowing across the waterfront and commuters are hopping onto the ferry to go back home to Sausalito, Tiburon, Oakland, or Larkspur.   

And the lovely hill (and walk) of downtown San Francisco. 

How about relaxing in a park under the sun for lunch.  


How to make vegetables tasty?

This is not a question just for kids but for many of us adults.  We all know vegetables are good for us, and we should try to eat the rainbow everyday – see the colourful nutrient chart below.

Courtesy of Chasing Delicious.
Courtesy of Chasing Delicious.

Most people do not like vegetables because the way they are cooked makes them bland and flavourless.  After reading the blog of George Mateljan and his very comprehensive and beautiful book The World’s Healthiest Food, I learn new ways of cooking vegetables.  The trick is to chop up the veggie (and garlic) first and let them sit for 5 minutes for more health benefits and not to cook them for too long and make sure they retain their colour on the outside and the crispiness on the inside.

He has advocated “healthy saute” – instead of oil, put a few tablespoons of chicken and veggie broth and let them sizzle, then saute your veggie for a few minutes.  Add some sea salt for taste.  Another way is to steam the vegetables for no more than 2-5 minutes. I usually steam my veggie together with garlic.  Then you can put some extra virgin olive oil on top and sprinkle some lemon juice and sea salt (Himalayan) over the steamed veggie.  If you like to eat raw salad, my favourite salad dressing is to mix up chopped garlic with tahini (sesame paste), miso paste, lime, and extra virgin olive oil.  Heavenly!

What is your favourite way of cooking veggie?

Spring Garden and Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day with gratitude to all the mothers and care-givers, whether mothers or not! Your time and commitment are so appreciated!

A couple of days ago, I was in Las Vegas again attending a conference. The weather was much cooler than expected, and as usual the place was fun and filled with energy and colour.

I was very impressed by the Japanese spring garden at the Bellagio Hotel where lots of mothers and daughters and couples were taking great pictures.

The garden was a delight to walk through and the performers were playing Jazz music in a Kimono.

Spring is where you make it to be!  Make it in your heart.



And of course I have to include the famous Bellagio water fountain dancing with the music.

Random Act of Kindness

Courtesy of maisiaosiao.com/
Courtesy of maisiaosiao.com/

I have walked through my apartment entrance with my briefcase (which carries my laptop) and my handbag in the morning many times, and never have anyone run in front of me and opened the door and let me go through effortlessly.  This happened to me this morning by my African American neighbour or visitor.  What a nice, random act of kindness.  I immediately started my day with a good mood and thought about the other acts of kindness I could do to others:

for example:

  • gave a discount coupon code for a concert to a friend
  • bought flowers for my colleague to celebrate his becoming a U.S. citizen
  • told someone I was grateful for their acts which they could not remember
  • smiled at strangers and wished them a great day
  • held the elevator and prompted the person to get in even though the elevator was pretty full


  • be kind to yourself – write down 3 things you are grateful for everyday
Courtesy of parade.com
Courtesy of parade.com

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others;

for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness;

and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.

~ Audrey Hepburn

The Popularity of Podcast

Podcast cartoon 2
Courtesy; http://radiofreethinker.files.wordpress.com /2012/04/podcast-cartoon.jpg


Podcast, defined as “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically” has been around for at least 10 years.  But yours faithfully, ever so quick in adopting new technology, has only discovered the greatness of podcast a couple of weeks ago when I read about the Startup Podcast hosted by the previous American Life and Planet Money host, Alex Blumberg, who has started his own podcast startup, called Gimlet to host a series of podcasts.

I was hooked by Startup, which was a series of recordings of the behind-the-scenes how Alex started his startup.  Better still, his way of advertising is funny and informing, and the ad is very much part of the fun of the show.  No one will skip ad again if every ad sounds like that.  Then, I start to notice podcasts everywhere.  The next thing I know, I have been continuously listening to podcast on my iPhone – the ever popular mystery series “Serial”, 99% invisible, The Health Bridge, The Allutionist, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, etc. All great stuff.  In fact, people have binged down “Serial” just like they would have watched all “Breaking Bad” episodes in one night.  You would not have thought that with a radio show, right?

Podcast is intimate, the voices speak into your ears, and you can get hooked.  It feels warm and cozy.  With a smartphone, you don’t even need to download anything, just go to Podcast, click and you are on.  You can subscribe in a second.  There are many reasons for the revival of interests.

So next time you are on a bus or waiting for a taxi, or treadmilling, try podcast.


Happy New Year of the Sheep! Loving Shanghai

May you have abundance, happiness, health, and prosperity in the Year of the Sheep.

I was hoping to share these images from Shanghai when I visited before Christmas. Given the Chinese New Year, this is an opportune time to share these lovely images.

The charm and style of Shanghai are shining through its old and new developments, and you can see how people are enjoying the fruits of the rapid economic development in China – everyone is buying and consuming! In the financial district of the Pudong area, you will forget that you are in China but ponder if you are in Manhattan.

In the old street alley, local eateries, grocery stores, arts and crafts stores intertwine with big commercial buildings and hotels – a typical mix of old and new in Shanghai. My most enjoyable local activities were eating the delicious Shanghai wonton soup for breakfast, books-browsing in the gigantic bookstore, and bargaining (tenaciously in Mandarin) with the sellers at the antique stores!

In the French-inspired People’s Park, the community enjoy opera singing, dancing, tai chi, painting, debating, and strolling along the beautiful walkways.

At the famous and must-see Shanghai Museum, locals and tourists open their jaws and eyes when seeing and appreciating the ancient art of China. I am certainly proud to be a Chinese!

Walking along the River Bund and staring across the river towards the Pudong financial district, you wonder if the new Shanghai is going to regain all the glory of the old Shanghai and be China’s best financial hub again.

IMG_1831The Shanghai Bund and the Financial District

IMG_1832Shanghai Puxi area (west of Hangpu River) from my hotel room

IMG_1833The Alley of Shanghai

IMG_1852Cyclist at his best

IMG_1834My delicious wonton soup (US$1) for breakfast

IMG_1835Antique street

IMG_1836Are we in France? The beautiful People’s Park

IMG_1837French-inspired People’s Park

IMG_1838Shanghai Museum-a must-see!

IMG_1839The Bronze Era

IMG_1840The Buddha

IMG_1841Beautiful Pottery-one of China’s Best Art Symbols

IMG_1842Landscape and scenery painting

IMG_1843Jade carving

IMG_1844Imperial Furniture

IMG_1847Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum (a previous French governor residence now housing local art)

IMG_1848Ivory Carving

IMG_1849Shanghai Artist’s Needlework

IMG_1850Craftiness in Sewing

IMG_1851Ethnicities and dolls

IMG_1845A Shanghai jewellery store on the pedestrian-only shopping area of Nanjing Road – likely a previous nightclub