Chihuo -- excellent SFBA food coverage

Bay Area food writing centers around SF, Berkeley, and Oakland. Despite being the hotbed of culinary riches we appreciate here on HO, the South Bay and Fremont are for the most part ignored by media… at least in English.

Chihuo is an LA based Chinese language website that, as described in Clarissa Wei’s article has an audience mainly of Chinese immigrants in California. Chinese food is one niche they address, but they have diverse culinarily interests and are willing to discuss SFBA cities ignored by English language food media— Articles in the past week or two include a Bay Area ice cream roundup, a farmer’s markets guide, a review of a Hunan restaurant in Davis, and a list of openings (found on Yelp it seems) that includes Korean BBQ in Cupertino, Xi’an food in Milpitas, and Russian/Ukranian in SF.

Don’t read Chinese? Appreciate Chihuo’s SFBA coverage through the magic of a Google translate Chihuo link. Or see their Chinese language SFBA feed.

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BTW, do you know of any resource that covers food for the immigrant Indian and Latino community?

I don’t, but it might be nice to keep a list of such links on the site. I would guess Facebook groups would be ground central as a starting point— Chihuo gained traction on Weibo

I did a bit of research and the most popular social networks for India and Mexico is by far, Facebook. So I assume if there is something in the form of social networks for food in these communities, it will be on there.

BTW, I have always been skeptical about these guys. And recently profile of restaurants all seems to come with a discount offer from the restaurant. Critical ‘reviews’ don’t seem to come with a discount. Since they don’t mention when they got paid to write a piece, their credibility / ethics is highly questionable to me.

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Thanks, @sck!

Google translate does a particularly bad job at translating their articles, so I’ve been in the dark about whether they’re reporting a formal review of a restaurant or something else.

I hadn’t noticed the discount aspect – – on a related note, I think it was you who pointed out that new Chinese restaurants often had gobs of simultaneous yelp reviews that were fueled by coupons on Wechat

The Chihuo, like many of the newer media that has popped up to cover the Chinese/Taiwanese food scene (the other popular one is WaCow LA / SF) all seemed have the traditional model of soliciting advertising from restaurants in return for coverage/article. That’s why I rarely read their “reviews”.

They do fill a hole in coverage that the mainstream media doesn’t provide, but they’re far from the “epicenter” or ground zero for the local Chinese food scene. That is still best served by the Facebook groups

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Are there any facebook groups you recommend?

I know of a couple, but am not a fan:
矽谷美食名嘴天團
灣區美食Go Go Go!

Vast majority of posts are ‘Went to this place yesterday, I like them’ followed by 10 pictures of the food. The natures of the posts, like the platform in general, are more about popularity than informative. I used to visit daily when I first found them a year ago, then weekly, now very infrequently. If we are talking about new Chinese restaurant coverage, I can get the same info from Hyperbowler’s coverage in a much more concise format.

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Those two are the biggest ones. It’s more of a sharing/showing place with more emphasis on pictures than fully hashed out reviews. Although there are a few “experts” in particularly the 天團 group that do know their stuff. But there are also annoying posts that just shows 3 meals of what they’ve eaten, more like Instagram style.

That said, the 天團 group has had probably the most “First to Review” and scoops of recent openings of top Taiwanese/Chinese places that’s faster than all media in SF bay area in recent year. Hyperbowler is the baller in his coverage of course, but the FB group usually has fully tasted posts with pictures.

Andy Wai’s wife(?) is on that group so its good to see what the Cantonese master eats (off-menu) at another Cantonese master- Yum’s. But one still has to put up with weeks of Instagram posts…

Who are they? Maybe I will just search their posts from time to time instead.

The Go Go Go group used to be the active one. I think there was some dissatisfaction with how the group was run that prompted a spinoff - 天團.

Yes, it was split due to difference of opinion. Go group disallowed negative reviews, “supposedly” takes money from some vendors/owners to promote food, and is profit driven (holds group buys).
The “sky” group is purely non-profit and allows owners to post for free as well as negative complaints. The activity level between the two similarly sized group is a good contrast of their styles.

A few people to follow:
Kelvin Yue, he posts often so may be hard to filter down, but he goes to many new places and some Michelin places.
Ethan Sun, his posts are tagged with #手掌文 so search for that hashtag. Most consistent with reports of new noodle places, etc.
Monica Kwan (Andy’s wife), of course. Jerry Wu, “sushi expert”?
There are others but non as consistent as the first two.

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Facebook groups like that are big time sinks— since there’s no index, it take a long time to scroll through all the posts I don’t care about. And FB’s search function is terrible.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold