Category: Updates

Introducing Curated Gnomes: Curated Culinary Experiences + Chinese Food Tours!!


So I’ve been leading Chinese food tours in the San Gabriel Valley for awhile. It’s been pretty casual — consisting of a couple posts on this blog and my social media accounts. I’ve led three on-camera tours, two private group ones, and at least five to six public tours.

It’s been a weird, sporadic journey…but I finally pulled it together and created a company for my tours. It’s called Curated Gnomes. Gnomes = a play on the word nom.

Though we’re sticking to Chinese food tours right now, we’re currently in the works of bringing in other food bloggers & experts to curate their own tours and events. The catch? Everything has to have an educational angle.

Our next tours are Sunday, March 23 + Saturday, April 5.

All the details here.


Announcing my Food Tour Giveaway Winner

As some of you guys know, I had a food tour giveaway set up for the entire month of January. The whole thing was sponsored by the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth, a personal injury and immigration attorney based in San Gabriel.

I’ve drawn the winner and her name is Eileen Tien! Turns out she also has a food blog. I can’t wait to meet her and her friends. As part of the contest, she’ll be treated to a personalized food tour of the San Gabriel Valley led by yours truly.

A huge thank you to everyone who entered. “LIKE” my Facebook page for news on new giveaways, or just sign up for a food tour. $65 for four hours of noshing. Here’s the schedule page. I have two planned in the upcoming month.


Updates: Leading A Spice Lovers Chinese Food Walking Tour on Feb 22



I had a very successful food tour on Saturday. Hit up Sichuan, Taiwan, Shaanxi, Wuxi all in one go. Wonderful group of eight people and plenty of leftovers to take home. So back by popular demand, I’m doing another tour this month but…

Breakdown: Switching up my normal itinerary and doing a walking tour this time. Definitely not for the squeamish. There will be lots of spicy places so please no dietary restricted folks. (Unless it’s very minor and you tell me ahead of time)

How this tour is different from others: Each stop will feature a different region of China. I’ve published articles on all of these restaurants and will be explaining cool little factoids and regional nuances of particular dishes. For example, did you know the Sichuan peppercorn is not really a pepper? It’s actually in the citrus family.



  • Hunan spicy fish from Hunan Chili King
  • Sichuan dan dan noodles from Lucky Noodle King
  • — a 15 minute walk —
  • Wuhan griddle dry pots from Tasty Dining
  • Yunnan spicy chicken cubes and crossing over bridge noodles from Spicy City:
  • Wuxi soup dumplings from Wang Xing Ji. (to cool down)
  • — a 15 minute walk —
  • And a surprise dessert break.


Meet at 534 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776 at 10:50 am. Price: $65. Estimated time: 5 hours.


If you can’t make this one, sign up here for my mailing list to be notified of future events.

PHOTOS: Successful First Xian Wei Dinner Series

You’ve heard me talk about it before. I recently helped launch Xian Wei, a private regional dinner series dedicated to Chinese food. Each course is an homage to a different region of China.

How it works: There’s only eight spots available per dinner, and it’s held at a gorgeous private residence at San Pedro. (Only paid attendees will get the address.) The chef is a 19-year-old prodigy. There are five courses, and each course covers a specific region of China. Regions we’ve covered before: Anhui, Hunan, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Wuhan. I’ll be on hand to explain  each region and its corresponding flavor profiles.

We had our first event on Saturday, the eight spots were sold out and all in all, it was a very successful event.

We’re having another one this Saturday, January 25 at 6PM and three in February. Book your reservations now! Here’s the schedule:  And email me at if you have any questions.

All the info is on our website:

(And a warm thank you to one of our guests last time for such kind words!)

Launching Xian Wei — A Private Regional Chinese Dinner Series

I’m pleased to announce a private dinner series I’m collaborating on with some of my high school colleagues. It’s called Xian Wei. As a rule, I don’t do partnerships unless I truly believe in the talent… and believe me, Luther Chen, the chef, is someone I completely back up. His attention to detail is marvelous and most importantly — the food is delicious.

He’s only 19.

Luther and his business partner Kenny invited me to their San Pedro house a couple months back, where he treated us to a fine meal that consisted of homemade tofu and fish balls. Also on the menu: wonderfully cumin-seasoned lamb. Xinjiang-style, and a pork belly — cooked the way Chairman Mao liked it but topped over risotto. Phoenix claws were also on the menu and garnished with tongue-numbing green peppercorns.

The dinner is Chinese-themed and each individual course will be a tribute to a different region of China. While Luther will do most of the talking, I will also be on hand to explain the different flavor profiles of the differing regions plus some historical background on the dishes.

This is going to be an invitation-only dinner and you can sign up here. Our website has all the details. Our suggested donation is $75.

All the ingredients are sourced locally. Most of it is organic. Nothing is bought in bulk. Chef Chen does all his own foraging. There are five individual courses and each of them have dozens of components to them.

This isn’t a family-style Chinese meal. It’s a fine-dining experience and yes, we expect the price to go up for this particular event.

We only have one event on our schedule right now, but we’re anticipating much doing more with different price ranges (some on the more affordable end, no worries). No guarantees on the future, of course.
This is just what we have now.

The dinner will be held at a non-disclosed location in San Pedro. Only paid attendees will get the address.

I’m super stoked for this. This is truly my passion — teaching people about the regional differences in Chinese cuisine. My food tour groups (hi guys!) know how much I love these interesting nuggets of information and I can’t wait to share them with you in person.

Let me know if you have any questions. We’re all friends here.

Oh yeah. BYOB. Ain’t no Chinese party without the booze.




GIVEAWAY: Private Chinese Food Tour

Amazing news…


The winner will be chosen at the end of the month. This giveaway is sponsored by the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth — an amazing bilingual lawyer based in San Gabriel.

The details: I’ve been known to lead the occasional food tour. I tend to do up to four stops in fourish hours and each leg of the tour covers a different province in China. My tour has been covered in the local news and I’ve done it for TV personalities as well.

The winner will get to bring up to two of his/her friends on the tour and we’ll arrange the details based on personal preference, dietary restrictions, etc. The tour is all-inclusive (transportation and food is included) and will be held in the San Gabriel Valley.

Enter to win here:

My Food Tour Made The Newspaper!

So I led another food tour the other week. The itinerary was pretty much what I usually abide by on a normal basis: five stops, 4-5ish hours.

Stinky tofu was perhaps the most controversial menu item on the tour, but the boys toughed it through and we had a great time. I’m doing another one on January 4th. Can’t wait to see what the next group is like!

(A World Journal reporter followed us around the first leg of the food tour and bam — my second feature in their newspaper! Click here for the full article.)