chinese new year is upon us again!

It’s that time of year again . . . grab your folks, your friends, your sig others, and celebrate CNY with us!

Mei Shung's Chinese New Year 2014 specials menu


happy new year 2014!

I know . . . I know. No more radio silence! I promise we have some toasty specials for you this Chinese New Year . . . the weather’s unforgiving, but you won’t regret it. Good food solves everything. 🙂

From 30 January until 2 February (ahem, I know that’s tomorrow), we’ve got some brand spankin’ new specials to ring in the lunar new year. Check ’em out!

Mei Shung's Chinese New Year 2014 specials menu

[repost] 26 Things You Need to Do in Chicago This Fall

Hi all! It has been a l-o-o-o-ong time since the last post on this blog. So sorry! The family has been changing up a LOT lately (selling our suburban house, for example) so things have been nuts. But I’ll make sure to start posting more often (say, once a week) from now on.

I found this article on today and felt it was great to share, so I hope you find some inspiration for the season! I didn’t realize till the very end that this actually is a double-repost! Whoa . . . it originally appeared on WBEZ, written by blogger Leah Pickett. Little did she know it would then go on to morph into how it appears now!

Summer may have its charms, but let’s be real. When it comes to the three Ws (weather, wardrobe and whimsy), fall is the best season by far.

The sopping humidity of summer suddenly turns crisp and purposeful, ushering in a new academic year and bursts of gorgeous, coppery color in the trees. Chicagoans also become more fashionable, as we trade in our often unflattering shorts and sandals for a more polished look of jeans, scarves, layered cardigans and boots. We indulge in pumpkin lattes, host more game nights, watch the leaves fall and celebrate three of the year’s best holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Buy Nothing Day.

Back in June, I made a list of things to do in a Chicago summer; but now, an even better season has arrived.

In no particular order, here’s 26 adventures to have this fall:

Flickr-Mental Balance


1. Chicago Music Summit, Sept. 20

This first-ever conference, presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), will give Chicagoans the opportunity to learn more about our city’s thriving music scene and connect with industry professionals at the local and national levels. More than 20 panels on a variety of topics will feature 100+ speakers, including representatives from Sony Music Entertainment, Pitchfork and Live Nation.



2. Try a new restaurant.

New hotspots opening this season: Chop Shop and the 1st Ward (a Bucktown restaurant, bar, music venue and butcher shop combined into one) debuts in mid-September, A10 (a European venture from Matthias Merges of Yusho and Billy Sunday) arrives in October and Eataly (Mario Batali’s megaspace of eight restaurants, a microbrewery and a culinary school) opens its doors in mid-November. [As a quick aside — if you haven’t been to our eatery quite yet, please do stop by! I didn’t feel it was right to pretend as though other restaurants don’t exist, but the beauty of cuisine is that there are so many different kinds!]



3. Drive out to the drive-in.

Before the weather gets too cold, bundle up with some blankets, popcorn and good company at the old-timey Cascade Drive-In in West Chicago.



4. Expo Chicago, Sept. 19-22

The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art — a celebrated arts and culture fest offering tours, artist discussions, special exhibitions and site-specific projects—will take place over a three-day weekend at Navy Pier, with a “Vernissage” opening night benefit on Thursday. The event will feature 125 galleries representing 17 countries and 36 cities, including London, Zurich, San Francisco, Berlin, New York City, Madrid, and Chicago.



5. Volunteer at 826 CHi.

Help tutor a Chicago student at 826 Chi, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting learners ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills. Back-to-school volunteers can choose to help students with their homework after-school, in schools, through events and outreach, on field trips or in conjunction with workshops at 826 and The Boring Store.



6. Hit up a Subject to Change event.

Subject to Change, an LGBTQ-friendly collective that aims to create “no shame” when it comes to the music they enjoy and the people they care about, holds monthly events at Township to raise funds and awareness for a variety of different community organizations. Past events have included benefits for the Chicago Women’s Health Center, Chicago Books to Women in Prison and Vida SIDA. Keep your calendar open every first Tuesday this fall for more!



7. Design Harvest Festival Sept. 28-29

Chicago’s annual street festival celebrating home design will feature a myriad of local vendors and antique collectors, as well as family hay rides, pumpkin painting to raise money for a local elementary school, square dancing, cold beer, delicious food and live music programming from The Hideout.



8. Hang out in a new bar.

Coming soon: Dusek’s/Punch House in Pilsen’s historic Thalia Hall (mid-September), Analogue on Milwaukee Ave. (mid-October), and River North comfort food bar Tippling Hall (late October).



9. Chicago International Film Festival, Oct. 10-24

Now in its 49th year, CIFF continues its tradition of bringing exciting new films from more than 55 different countries to Chicago’s main stage. This fall, the lineup includes the much-buzzed documentary “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” the Israeli horror film “Big Bad Wolves” and the 2013 Cannes’ Palme d’Or winner “Blue Is The Warmest Color.”


10. Hubbard Street: Fall Series, Oct. 10-13

The incredible Hubbard Street dancers have a hot ticket for Chicago audiences this year: a diverse and exciting program from choreographers Robyn Mineko Williams, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek and Alejandro Cerrudo that will feature nods to Michael Jackson, the Paris Opera and “Flashdance.”



11. Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Oct. 13

If you’re not running that day, bring a sign and cheer on your friends! The marathon has Two Waves that start at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively, so bring that double-shot pumpkin spice latte with you to the start line.



12. See a new theatre show.

The must-sees: Joan Allen returns to the Steppenwolf stage for the first time since 1991 in the American premiere of The Wheel, The Goodman Theatre’s fall season opens in September with Pullman Porter Blues, and the Tony-Award winning musical Once arrives at The Oriental for a limited run in October.



13. Vintage Garage, Sept. 15 and Oct. 20

Uptown’s Vintage Garage, the only monthly flea market in Chicago, presents the best vintage and antique dealers under one roof every third Sunday from April to October. Don’t miss your chance to attend the last two shows of the season: “Vintage Art” on Sept. 15 and “Record Ramp” with the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) on Oct. 20.



14. Chicago Ideas Week, Oct. 14-20

This annual hub of creativity, connection and inspiration kicks off Year 4 with a wide assortment of events, master classes, labs and special presentations. An impressive array of speakers includes Buzz Aldrin, Cat Cora, Dan Savage, Elizabeth Smart, Malcolm Gladwell and Terry McMillan.



15. Search for the best cider.

’Tis that time of year. For the hard cider fans: Sprout, SmallBar, The Grafton Pub, and Kuma’s Corner all have excellent selections.


16. Third Coast Percussion, Oct. 20

Since its formation in 2005, Third Coast Percussion ensemble has performed hundreds of concerts across the country. This year, TCP will be opening their Chicago concert season with a Frequency Series of “Infinitesimal Machinery” at Constellation on Oct. 20.



17. Go on a Zombie Safari Hayride.

Make the trek to Tinley Park for an October weekend of fun, tractors and zombies in the cornfields! Yes, this is really a thing.


18. Play flag football.

Chicago Bears games are fun and all, but how about tossing the old pigskin in your own backyard? Organize a game of flag or touch football in your neighborhood park, then treat the winning team to beers.



19. Shop local.

When scouring the streets for the best fall fashion, don’t forget your local boutiques and online vendors. A few of my favorites: Wolfbait & B-girls, Sofia, Penelope’s and Sara Tea Shop. [Note: Quick shameless plug! You may or may not know that I have my own home-based business of handcrafted, made-in-USA high-fashion jewelry, too. Visit my FB page or blog for more info ;)]



20. Laugh out loud at Pop Goes Alicia Live!

Every first Tuesday at The Hideout until November, join host Alicia Swiz and a rotating panel of local writers, comedians and activists discussing the latest in pop culture and buzzworthy current events.



21. Step back in time to the 1893 Fair.

Head to the Field Musuem on Oct. 26 for the Women’s Board Gala in celebration of a sure-to-be stunning new exhibition: “Opening the Vaults: Wonders of 1893′s World Fair.”



22. Check out a new band.

The gargantuan music fests of summer have come and gone (until we meet again, Walmart on the Lake), but never fear. Time Out Chicago has an excellent list of rising acts to fall in love with this fall: from Jenny Hyval at the Empty Bottle to Water Liars at Schubas to Lucius at Lincoln Hall.


23. Rubber Fest, Nov. 8-9

Mr. Interntional Rubber (MIR) is a rubber-fetish event that includes cocktail parties, a rubber/leather market and awards at the Center on Halsted. Go get your kink on, if you feel so inclined.

Isn't this just a superb shot? Just saying.

Isn’t this just a superb shot? Just saying.

24. Beer Hoptacular, Nov. 8-9

If rubber is not your thing, attend Chicago’s Fourth Annual Beer Hoptacular at Lacuna Artist Loft Studios in Pilsen instead. Make sure to stick around for the best Hoptacular beer of the year (2012 winner: 5 Lizard from Bedford, Illinois)


25. Find the best pie.

During the autumnal months, a seasonal slice of delectable pumpkin or hot apple pie really hits the spot. Take refuge at Bang Bang Pie Shop, Hoosier Mama Company or First Slice Pie Cafe to satisfy your every craving.


26. Christmas Tree Lighting at Daley Plaza, Nov. 27

Watch Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the tree donor flip the switch at Chicago’s 100th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, accompanied by live music and performances at Daley Plaza. And say, “Goodbye fall, I hardly knew ye.”

What would you add to this list?



petition to b&n to pull blog on chinese bootlegged books

Today I began the morning as I often do: perusing social media and checking out articles and other information I wanted to reference later on when I’d have the time to read. I came across this fun article on Barnes & Noble’s blog on why adults (ahem, like me) can put away their “YA shame,” that is, embarrassment over the fact that they still read young adult novels. I enjoyed this quick read, tweeted about it, and saw in the right-hand column that there was also a recent blog post about the bestselling 50 Shades phenomenon hitting China.


Not only in reference to 50 Shades; you know who they’re *really* for.

Now, I won’t touch the 50 Shades trilogy, in English or in any other language, but the headline grabbed me enough for me to check it out. The result? I spent the rest of my time at home before leaving for my personal training session in the afternoon in a huff.

The problems I have with this blog post all have to do with its author’s obvious lack of basic research. The strikes are twofold:

  1. She refers to the translations being smuggled from Taiwan into China as having been  “translated into Taiwanese.” All right — first off — a quick lesson here. Technically, there is no such thing as “speaking Chinese,” as Chinese is essentially a written language. All languages under the Chinese linguistic umbrella are pretty much written the same — the different regions simply pronounce the words differently. In fact, there is some disagreement among linguists as to whether to call it “Chinese language” or, more confusingly, “Chinese languages,” because of all the regional dialects. Additionally, the national languages of both China and Taiwan is Mandarin!
    I won’t bore you with the scientific nerdy stuff that goes into the differences between languages and dialects, but think about this: If Taiwanese were a separate language completely from Chinese, just how would the Chinese be able to read said “Taiwanese” copies of the book? That’s right . . . just as no standard American would be expected to blow up black-marketed copies of fiction imported here from Brazil, if in fact Taiwanese were a different language entirely, the Chinese would not be able to comfortably read it.
    Furthermore, as it turns out (and I only found this out a couple years ago when my cousin’s family came to visit), there is more than one Taiwanese dialect. The one my family speaks is the version common to Taipei. So when it comes to talking about a written book being translated into what is essentially only a spoken dialect, you can understand my confusion. Until I realized she was just lazy (keep reading).
    Now, I could perhaps forgive the writer of the article for not knowing that Taiwanese in fact is not its own separate written language, if not for . . .

    Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 6.32.22 PM

    Image courtesy of

  2. She refers to Chinese currency as “yen.” Now, if I’m mistaken and it is actually clear to others that she suddenly COMPLETELY SWAPPED COUNTRIES to Japan, which for me was never once mentioned otherwise in the article, then that’s my bad. My problem with her talking “yen” when meaning to talk “yuan” (actual Chinese money) is the negligence that implies that hey, it’s still an Asian currency — after all, aren’t all Asians the same?
    This is precisely the battle that we must beat every day. Look, even I had to look up Chinese currency myself, because I’ve never been to China, nor have my parents. When we talk about prices in their homeland, it’s always the New Taiwan dollar. But when it comes to perpetuating the ignorant grouping of “all Asians” as one and the same? That’s like calling Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans all the same thing because we happen to occupy the same continent, regardless of governments and culture.

I’ll point out as well that I only know what I do about the written Chinese language being more or less standard across dialects because I remember this fact surprising me when I took an Asian studies class as an undergrad. (I’m a writer; you can hardly fault me for taking an unnatural interest in the nature of words!) I checked my facts doubly before I made any snarky comments on the blog — there is nothing worse, after all, than someone who corrects others with the wrong information — and this is officially my complaint against this article . . . no, this writer.

This article makes several entities look bad besides its author: It represents Barnes & Noble, a national brand that I have VERY regularly supported since the early naughts (as I call the beginning of the 2000s); non-Asians and some of their not-so-savory decisions to classify Asians as one indistinguishable group of people; Americans, because after all this time this ignorance should not still exist; and writers BECAUSE YOU SHOULD NEVER PUBLISH SOMETHING WITHOUT GETTING YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT . . .

This all just reminds me of that huge scandal that hit Kitchen-Aid with their (now dismissed) social media marketer who tweeted an unspeakably insensitive remark during the presidential debates.

Having both mistakes present in the same article is just about the highest level of writing faux pas I’ve ever seen. It takes away everyone’s credibility (not to mention — and I kid, here — the Chinese people who are gobbling up that literary monstrosity!), and nobody wins.

Barnes & Noble, I love you, but please, for the sake of diplomacy and respect to the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Asians at large . . . take down the article, or at the very least, edit it.

happy Easter from the Chinese Easter bunny

A couple things. 1) I am lame and haven’t updated in way too long. Apologies for that. It’s been kind of a crazy time lately, but no excuses. I’ll be back shortly. 2) The Chinese/Taiwanese aren’t particularly known for their Easter festivities, so no, there is no Chinese Easter bunny. However, I did just stumble upon this little guy in our medicine cabinet the other day and I thought he should make an appearance. Er . . . she? What do you think? And 3) finally, if you celebrate this holiday today, may you have a warm one filled with delicious eats with friends and family! We are open today from noon till 9.30pm. You’re welcome to stop by!

What do you think, boy or girl?

What do you think, boy or girl?

never too late for well wishes

I admit this could have been posted, like, this morning, but I’m still getting a handle on this timing thing (it’s a resolution). Happy lunar new year! I hope you took advantage of our sweet Chinese New Year specials this weekend. As Chicago Restaurant Week 2013 wraps up, as well, I hope you have enjoyed some real fine dining! (We didn’t do Restaurant Week at Mei Shung this year, as I feel it would have just confused my mom. ;))

stephanie’s shanghai affair, part two

Follow-up to previous post: My sister, Stephanie (whom I call Moose, but never mind), recently returned from an eight-day trip to Shanghai. Since she has her own (fashion) blog at The Naked Canvas, I’ve asked for her permission to repost her Shanghai posts onto our Mei Shung blog. For more images, please visit the original post.

Can you imagine going on holiday to London and not making a trip to see Big Ben? What about Paris sans Eiffel Tower? Sounds like madness, right? Well, you can’t visit Shanghai without stopping by the Bund. Sure, it screams tourist attraction, but you can’t help but gawk in awe and wonder when you stand before the majestic skyline, especially at night.

As a native Chicagoan, I naturally hold the Sears Tower (not the Willis Tower) very near and dear to my heart, but I have to admit that the Shanghai World Financial Center (see that bottle cap-looking building on the right?) puts the Sears Tower to shame. [Pamela’s note: *GASP* It so does NOT!] But enough about the Bund, I don’t want Chicago finding out I had a weeklong affair with Shanghai, hehe O:)

This was my first full day in China, so I wanted to keep my outfit comfortable and casual. I styled my look around my new two-toned trench (as seen on Devon Rachel), which was the perfect lightweight coat for sightseeing. For footwear, I couldn’t be more pleased these Cole Haan boots. These were the only “walking shoes” I brought with me on my trip, and they definitely served me well. I splurged a bit on these leather  and suede babies, but they are honestly the most comfortable and durable boots I’ve ever owned. Kudos, Cole Haan!

More to come from Shanghai! 🙂

Moose 1

Moose 2

Moose 3

Moose 4


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