Monthly Archives: February 2014

Passion Blog #2 – Shaolin Showdown (versus)

There are plenty of Chinese restaurants around State College that we as students can take full advantage of. And Chinese is something that is extremely close to my heart, if you mess up Chinese, trust me…I would know. But as is the purpose of this passion blog, today we will discuss the various Chinese restaurants around Penn State, and I will be giving my own personal opinions about each restaurant.

I was borned in China, in Dalian to be exact. Chinese food has always been a part of my life, especially since my grandpa was a huge cook. So coming to America, finding real chinese food has not been easy. For some weird reason, most people here believe that orange and chicken is a national treasure of China…or that general tso was just really good at making stir-fry. The fact of the matter is that, most “chinese” food here isn’t really chinese food. However, there are a few restaurants on campus that I believe does chinese quite well. The ones that I will be talking about today is

-Big Bowl- 418 E College Ave, State College, PA 16801 



-Chopsticks express- 134 E College Ave, State College, PA 16801




-China Dragon- 147 S Allen St, State College, PA 16801



These three chinese restaurants are Big Bow, Chopsticks Express, Little Szechuan, and China Dragon. For me personally, these four restaurants are all fairly good examples of good chinese around campus.

Before we get to ratings and which restaurant I would recommend the most, let’s clear up how I will be judging each establishment.

The ratings are based in importance of
1) The Taste

2) The service

3) The setting and decoration

4) Price and portions

5) Authenticity.

These are the basic ways that I will be judging each restaurant. With that being said, lets get started from favorite to least favorite.

1st place – Big Bowl –
Big bowl is a very popular dining place on campus. I will bet that at least one of your friends have mentioned big bowl, especially if they are asian. If you are looking for good chinese food with impressive portions than big bowl is the place for you. The restaurant itself is huge, and although the service is a but lacking, the way the meal is prepared for you doesn’t necessarily require too much service. The menu at big bowl is also enormous, with ranges from stir fry and rice to things like dumplings. One of my personal recommendation at big bowl is a “Manto,” chinese steamed bread. Sweet and soft, big  bowl’s Manto and dumplings are two of the main reasons that I got there so often. One drawback to big bowl (and literally all of the Chinese restaurants on campus) is that you have to pay in cash. How inconvenient Out of 10 big bowl would earn 7-8/10.

2nd place – Chopsticks express-
It’s a bit difficult to find this restaurant, squeezed at the edge of PNC bank. Chopsticks is easy to miss just because of how small the restaurant itself is. But don’t judge a book by its cover, this is one of my favorite lunch time dining places. Chopsticks has very authentic chinese cuisine, very similar to what I grew up with. At the same time, the food isn’t so out of the world that it’ll alienate those who might not be familiar with exotic chinese food. The meal and portions size of chopsticks is definitely one of my favorite characteristics about the restaurant. 5 dollars for an amazing portions, you really can’t go wrong with this place. Plus, out of the four restaurants, Chopsticks definitely has the best service. In regards of drawbacks, my one complaint about Chopsticks is that the variety is extremely limited and pretty much unchanging.
Out of 10, Chopsticks would earn 6-7/10

3rd place -China Dragon-
Out of the four, China dragon is probably the most out of the way. If you know where Chili’s is on Allen street, then just walk a few more steps and you’re at China Dragon. The set is almost identical to chopsticks, but with more variety. It’s sort of easy to understand why people might prefer China Dragon over Chopsticks, the food is similar and just as authentic and China Dragon is only a dollar or two more expensive. However, my drawback with China Dragon is that the service has always been crappy. I have been to that restaurant about 4 or 5 times and not once have I ever gotten a smile or great service. If China Dragon had better service, it would definitely be better than Chopsticks.
Out of 10, China Dragon would earn 6-6.5/10

There are actually other Chinese restaurants around campus that I haven’t eaten enough to give a good review at. For example
 Little Szechuan – 228 W College Ave, State College, PA 16801

is another great place to try, though it might be packed most of the time.

If you are ever get the cravings for anything Asian, hopefully this blog post might help you make a decision. I want to try out other asian restaurants and give an updated comparison list later this semester, till then

Civic Issues – Higher Education

One of the earliest memories I have on the topic of higher education was with my parents at an extremely early age. IT was always discussions about future plans and my parents would always ask me “Which college do you want to get in to? Harvard or Yale?”


This always interested me, the question was never “What do you want do with your life?” or “what do you want to do when you become an adult?” It was always, which college do you want to get to and then which graduate career do you want to get into and so on and so forth. The most peculiar part of my parents saying things like this was that they weren’t even in America, two Chinese adults were forcing the idea of Harvard and Yale on their son, thousands of miles away from either Harvard or Yale.

The globalization of the idea about higher education gives insight into how important higher education is. Most people in the united states can tell you without fail that higher education is entirely necessary if you want to get ahead in life. A 2002 census bureau investigation shown that college graduates earn almost twice as much over their lifetimes as high school gradates. In the past few decades, the enrollment of students in community college has raised up steadily. In a recent study done by the Higher Education Research Institute, having a higher education degree can even go as far as improving your mental and physical health. There are probably hundreds more benefits of having a higher education, so you might be asking, “what’s the problem than?”

The problem with higher education is that it’s a very traditional system that is very hard to change. With complaints about the soaring cost of a college education and the huge amount of debt that many students have to endure for decades after they get out, there is high pressure on our government to amend the topic of higher education. This is where much of the problem lies, it’s difficult to change the system in such drastic measures and not have reproductions for doing so.  The debate in the state capitals and at Washington is pretty much over how much of the public money, if any, should be going towards making college more affordable.

What many people do not realize is just how restrictive higher education is. Who you become as an adult and the kind of impact that you would have on society is to a varying degree based on your success in university. At the same time how ever, which university or college you can enroll at is dependent on your economic standings. In a research done by Higher Education Research Institute, 67% of current college freshmen believe that their current economic standpoint affected the college they choose to attend. Almost 43% choose their college based on the cost of the school.




The problem here is that college student’s future is based on their current economic standing rather than their intellect or abilities. In fact, in terms of first choice schools, more and more people are opting out to attend a school more financially secure around their own economic standings. Close to 16% less high school graduates chose to go their second choice or third choice schools. Sacrificing your education for the purpose of saving a few dollars would mean that the school system itself is essentially broken.

The fact is that high education is flawed in so many ways, and to begin to approach this issue would require a great deal of effort both on our parts as citizen and student and the cooperation of congress and washington DC to decide what is the best move.