Author Archives: Foodie From Van

Essay 2 (PP 10): Publication at a Glance

With limited information on what publication truly is, I thought it was as simple as writing a piece, and making it public. But listening and hearing about what industries professionals have to say about publishing has really broadened my perspective. 

Before any piece of work is actually written, the first step is figuring out what a personal cyberinfrastructure really is. The American Council of Learned Societies deems it to be something between a “tool or a resource” and a “network itself”. It means that it is something worth revisiting more than just once. Not all ideas are maximized as their “importance were unrecognized or unexplored at that time”. This is merely a timing issue as opposed to the ideas being invaluable. But it is also beyond a simple idea because when executed properly, it can result in a platform that connects people together. So the importance of understanding the idea of driving all of the content itself can be equated to understanding what the purpose itself really is. 

With a strong passion for food and culture, my initial plan was to write about how they are actually intertwined. This surely requires more information and knowledge that I was willing to put in, but it was looking at the groundwork as a whole that worried me. The overall vibe would have been rather formal which made me stop for a moment and think. Food should be enjoyable, and my original goal was to create a platform that was very easy going and that people would be excited to hear what I have to say. I wanted it to be a space where individuals could read a very brief review of restaurants that might be of interest acting like recommendations to try it out themselves. So the fact that this was transitioning towards a more professional atmosphere possibly open to debate, discussion, or correction was not at all what I wanted. 

 To better arrive at that goal, I decided to restructure my blog early on making things more entertaining and the experience slightly more personable. The overlying idea became a food review blog which also provides insight into the business itself. Being able to see past the dishes being presented and understand the people making everything happen or how the business became what it is today is much more meaningful. As John Suler says in his publication of the Online Disinhibition Effect “some people do report being more like their true self in cyberspace”. Overall, reading the passage he wrote about the true self reminded me that above all else, it is most important to be authentic and to be true to yourself. As a content creator, I find this type of content not only more interesting to write about, but it has made each food trip much more enjoyable. As John Suler said himself” Having my mind more at ease, I knew that this was much more of the direction I wanted my cyberinfrastructure to be headed. 

With pillar ideas being set in stone, the challenge at hand now becomes the execution. Curating content consistent with my vision was not challenging. The difficulty became the presentation of the content itself. Keeping a close eye on google analytics, I noticed that the overall time spent on my blog was very short with high turnover as well. Even though there was traffic being driven to my site, the presentation of the content needed to be fixed up because it lacked appeal. 

In Richard Nash’s VQR publication titled “What is the Business of Literation”, he notes that perhaps the word publishing “is a word that, like a book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the business of literature”.  This helped me realize that this really is like a business transaction. Even though someone might be selling the greatest product in the world, having a buyer willing to pay for the product is just as important. Subjectively looking at everything as a whole, my blog might be the best in the world, but it means nothing if people simply do not find it appealing or interesting  

In an attempt to make some changes, I condensed the homepage of my blog by shrinking each post to a short excerpt. This allows viewers to more quickly filter through and decide if anything is worth their time or of interest. To take things one step further, all course-related content would contain a simple picture of the “Pub 101” sign made in class while blog content would have a picture of business storefronts. I wanted to make things more personable by giving them an image that they can relate to more closely is they choose to visit the shops or have been to it at one point. 

All the changes made to the content itself and the design elements have brought me to the point that I am at least content with where my blog stands. But on an even bigger note, my appreciation for publication has exponentially grown. I started off thinking that it was as simple as creating content. Realizing I was wrong, I learned that it’s more about creating quality content. Still unsatisfied with how everything looked, the goal became creating quality content that is interesting. I am proud to say that I am started to create quality content that is interesting and looks appealing. Even with all the new information, I have learned over the past couple of months, I know I am far from the top. The ultimate goal of building a platform where people want to frequently visit and are inspired to take action is still in place. Although there has been a lot of progress, this is surely far from the end.


  1. Gardner Campbell. 2009. “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure.” EDUCAUSE Review 44 (5).
  2. Suler, John. 2004. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326.
  3. Richard Nash. 2013. “What is the Business of Literature?” VQR Online.

Process Post 10: Moderation

This week’s class made me really think twice about ongoing website management.

We were broken up into groups and we each looked more closely into what the general public would consider as “credible sources”. My group had a chance to look closely into the New York Times, and to learn about their online community. I noticed comments on the first few generic posts but saw that it was not necessarily the case for posts with political affiliation. I was unable to find the comments section for posts relating to Donald Trump and the Hong Kong controversy. There was a generic article where the organization dressed what its community guidelines are resulting in a lot of critiques.

Generally speaking, I feel that the best type of online community guideline is one that is consistent with basic human rights. Freedom of speech is vastly important as there should never be any scenario where individuals need to bite their tongue. Organizations, websites, and blogs alike are all positioned in a way to attract their distinct audiences that may frequently revisit their sources. Muting comments or even worse removing comments midway is disrespectful to say the least, but ultimately pointless because anything that goes online can never really be taken off. For that matter, the comment section here will always remain open as I am open to critique and am also interested to hear about what others would like to say about my content altogether.

Process Post 9: Media Integration

Process Post Prompt: Make a plan for incorporating more transmedia integration into your online publication. What channels will you focus on? Why?

Describing food without pictures leaves a bit more to the imagination that I would like. My blog is set up and although there has been minor adjustments here and there, it is still not where I want it to be. The content is there, but the design of how everything is displayed does not stand out enough. Until I complete this task, I do not yet plan to building an alternatibve media integration just yet.

I find that it may take a few more months, a lot of time, and headaches in between, But during that time, I will try to maintain blog post so the content is still there. After sucessficent changes have been made, then the next step I plan to take is to tackle the instagram world.

It simply makes the most sense because it would be used as a way to quickly gather interest with food pictures that would hopefully make people drool. Should their minds be just as curious as their pallet, they can then dive into this blog here to hear more about the business itself and the story behind the dishes they are desiring.

Phnom Penh Restaurant (Food)

This is another classic that has stood the test of time and has emerged as one of the most successful restaurants in Vancouver. Unless you arrive once their doors open or right before they close, waiting for a table can take up to 90 minutes during peak lunch and dinner times. Phnom Penh has brought together Cambodian and Vietnamese flavors together and formed a true golden gem. The restaurant is family-owned, and staying true to their traditional roots is one of the many things that make them successful. No visit is complete their “golden trio” has been ordered, and I do just that at every visit.

#35 Filet Beef Luc Cac on Rice with Egg
Deliciously saucey meat served on top a bed of rice is one of the most comforting meals for anyone. First of all, this single dish sits at virtualy every table and has become a cornerstone item. Because of the sheer volume that this dish is being served, the restaurant is able to maintain a much higher quality of meat that is extremely fresh. For $10.95, this is virtually a bargain and a musttry for everyone that can eat beef.

#71 Marinated Butter Beef
Butter beef is really just a name for how smooth the meat is, rather than the preparation itself. A flat slice of beef is plated and topped with fried minced onions and an assortment of Asian green herbs. The marinade itself is probably made up of soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, and some sweetener like sugar or honey. Being another staple, This sells extremely well and would thus also ensure higher quality and freshness.

#78 Phnom Penh Deep-Fried Chicken Wings
Arguably the best chicken wings found in Vancouver, this lightly battered
crispy but flavourful dish has made many people rethink what it actually means. For starters, I am a believer that the oil used to fry to chicken wings have previously fried large amounts of shallots, garlic, ginger, and green onions. The chicken wings simply have a depth of flavor that is unachievable through marination alone. Seasoned perfectly, this dish is certainly friendly to anyone open to eating meat and is an absolute must.

Phnom Penh is one of my favorite restraints in Vancouver. The dining area is always loud and crowded which is very reminiscent of eating in a classical restaurant in Asia. Despite not being a very luxurious restraint, they more easily appeal to people with small and large wallets increasing their overall popularity.

Xing Fu Tang (Teahouse)

Background At first glance, Xing Fu Tang (幸福堂)may seem like nothing more than another Taiwanese teahouse.  But they pride themselves by making the act of getting a simple drink a unique experience. Every location is stationed with a specialty pan placed out in the open which is used to stir fry their pearls. Additionally, they also give customers the option of taking out a card with a fortune similar to that of a fortune cookie, but with much more meaning. These two unique offerings are iconic and have allowed Xing Fu Tang to become one of the top tea houses in every city they arrive in. December 1st, 2018 marks the soft opening of their store on Cambie in the Lower Mainland. Today, the presence spans out to seven other locations which on average would equate to an additional store showing in almost every month and a half.
Brown Sugar Pearl Milk  This is their signature drink and for good reason. It uses pearls form the publicly visible frying pan which switches out conventional sugar for brown sugar giving it a richer flavor profile. But the biggest benefit coming from this preparing is the texture of the pearls itself. Stir drying the pearls with sugar allows for the pearls to be much more chewy but also soft on the outside to more perfectly compliment the drink itself. As for the milk, Xing Fu Tang tries to use Avalon milk which is probably the best milk around.
Verdict Xing Fu Tang is truly becoming one of the world’s best tea houses for all the right reasons. They provide an experience out of something that most people do not think much about it while delivering an exceptional product as well.  With many other drinks of their menu, I would urge everyone to try the brown sugar pearl milk first, and branch out and I plan to do just that.

Peer Review 3: My Infiniti and Beyond

Enough about me and my food adventures. We will take another deep dive on a different blogger’s website. Jane Cheung has created “My Infinity and Beyond” which has the caption “A flexitarians Gourmet journeys, interspersed with some amazing encounters. Though she may eat meat here and there, she often steers towards vegan or vegetarian options instead. This one difference makes her blog stand in a unique place making her more likely to gain a consistent viewership amongst everything else. Personally speaking, Jane comes from Hong Kong and has a strong appreciation for Asian culture and the delicious cuisine that it comes with as well. She is bold in letting her background shine as she breaks down Kanji (Japanese) Cantonese writing when the opportunity arises. This equally contributes towards viewers being a fan of Jane as a writer increasing her marketability. 

Having read more of Jane’s post, her passion for writing and her ability to connect with her viewership is shown in an even greater light. The blog post itself are extremely detailed and bring us close into her personal circle as if they she is speaking directly to the viewers and giving them her honest food recommendations and opinions. As the blog currently stands, there is a variety of content touching on both Western and Asian cuisine. This is a helpful factor in exposing the viewers towards different cuisines. With an ongoing relationship of more and more trust being built, the viewers may then start considering Jane’s recommendation of foods that they might not have ever thought about trying otherwise. This makes her content extremely marketable and it can directly impact the sales of restaurants given the increases exposure this can garner.

The visuals of her blog itself are extremely inviting. The background is coloured in soft pastel blue meanwhile every picture posted on the website nearly resembles the rainbow. The website layout is extremely organized with all the course content being listed towards the bottom meanwhile the blog post itself is placed near the top is a rotating fashion to better attract viewers. Although this may have been a mere copy and post template to begin, Jane had made adaptations for her blog that make it her very own. 

Overall, Jane’s blog is not only visually vibrant, but it is also rich in content. After looking through every corner of My Infinity and Beyond, I believe that this blog will gradually attract a larger following with a consistent viewership. Jane has the ability to captivate her audience and make them feel at ease. Perhaps this is due to the fact that as James Hamblin notes in his “How to Talk to Strangers” publication, she feels “connected to [her] block”. Believing that the audience is approachable and within reach makes writing much easier leading to her post becoming more easy to read and enjoy as well. 

Here is a link to the blog directly:

1. Hamblin. James. 2016. How to Talk to Strangers

Process Post 8: Analytical Adjustments

After looking through the results from Google Analytics, I’ve realized that the time spent on my website was rather short. So in an attempted to make things slightly more interesting, I made a consistent layout change.

Previously, blog post featured an image meanwhile everything else was left untouched. It made my blog seem unorganized and relatively uninviting. Seeing noting but words will make you either just close the tab, or make you go back to the page you were previously on.

To fix that problem, I have retroactively gone backwards and added in a small feature image of the in class “Pub101” activity we made as a header image informing viewers that these are course related content.

Visually looking at my website, it now looks much cleaner and organized. Although it does still have a lot of words, they are now compliments towards an image. Though not a big change, this difference has made even myself more content with looking at my blog.

Bun Cha Ca Hoang Yen (Food)

Vietnamese cuisine has emerged as a local classic here in Vancouver. Bun Cha Ca Hoang Yen opened its doors up in 2012 and have not only weathered the strom but has risen above as one of the most popular locations. In addition to their food, a large factor contributing to their tenured success is their connection with the local community and greets regular customers with a truly genuine smile. As for their menu, they offer classical options like beef noodle soups and grilled meats on rice, alongside two specialty items known as #23 and #24.

#23: Bún Riêu: Special Crab Soup with Vermicelli
The bowl of vermicelli noodle is topped with tofu, Vietnamese pork ham, pork leg, and shrimp. But the secret sauce really is their homemade crab broth which provides an alternative delicious flavor. Being the only one of its kind, the rarity alone makes this a must try. But rest assured that its taste will make you come back for more.

#24: Bún Chå Cá Dac Biêt Special Fish Cake & Vermicelli in Soup
Using their beef broth as a base, this bowl of vermicelli noodle is topped with daily house-made fried fisk cakes. They use different types of fish paste to give off different flavors but they are both consistently delicious.

Vietnamese cuisines are easy favorites here in Raincouver, I mean Vancouver. The constant cold, wet and gloomy days often make people crave hot soup and there is no better compliment than some good noodles to soak up the broth. I do need to note that the restaurant is very small, crowded, and old. But it is not that the owner does not care about the condition of the restaurant itself; it is done intentionally to replicate the authentic dining experience that found in Vietnam.