Chowtimes.com Turns Five


Well, well, well.

It is good to know that after five years we are still at it – sharing our food adventures and part of our lives with every one. It had been a really long journey to say the least from the first very simple blog post I wrote (Hello World) back on January 5th, 2006.

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2010 had been another year of growth for chowtimes. Having written one post after another almost everyday, it is kind of hard to pinpoint that one thing that contributes to the increase in readership. With 2.7 million pageviews in 2010 alone, we are just glad that there are more than a few people who finds the stories on chowtimes interesting enough to return to check what Suanne, Nanzaro, Arkensen and Ben had been up to. I keep telling people that chowtimes readers are following a soup opera. LOL!

Thanks a lot for the support and encouragement everyone!

It is these things that we find that extra ounce of energy to write another post when the mind and body just yearns to be “normal”. You know …

like being a coach potato or take up a hobby like kayaking. Something you normal people does.

8GTCC-Hunan-34

Looking back, the previous year had been a year of crazy ideas and putting these ideas into being. Yeah, the biggest thing we had ever done was the 8GTCC (Eight Great Tradition of Chinese Cuisine) series of dinners. It was well received and the response was beyond our wildest initial expectations. I used the word “our” because while chowtimes was the name used to organize the dinners, it was the collective talent of the 8GTCC team that made it happen.

We managed to organize dinners for three (Hunan, Jiangsu and Cantonese) of the eight tradition Chinese cuisines until life took over and I did not have the time to continue with the rest. It was all my fault really. The 8GTCC team was eager but I was too worn out to do anything … and the team was too polite to prod me. LOL!

I hope I had not dampened the enthusiasms of the 8GTCC team but yeah, I will get cracking on the next in the series, real soon. I started it, I got to end it correctly.

But I want to thank fmed, Dylan, LotusRapper, Joe, Keev, Grayelf, JS and TS for all the work done do far.

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Last year, Suanne published her cookbook. It is called Diversely Delicious with the recipes that were posted on chowtimes in 2009. A great majority of the recipes were from the Richmond Community Kitchens with contributions from Minoo, Charlene, Karen, Suanne and the members of the community kitchens.

The Richmond Community Kitchens had been a source of great recipes for chowtimes for which we are grateful for. These recipes contribute a lot more to the richness of topics we have on the site, not to mention is where we get a lot of learnings about the finer points of food.

We are just amazed with the great work done by the Richmond Community Kitchens led by Minoo with a host of dedicated volunteers behind her. Amazing work.

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Our 15 minutes of fame. LOL! Vancouver Sun published a write up on chowtimes. That was in November, not too long ago. The exposure from the article resulted in quite a bit of increase in the number of visitors. We hit over 12,500 pageviews on that day it was published. Yeah, that subheading of 8500 hits per day was instantly out dated the day the news article were published.  Thanks a lot, Mia, for the shout out.

Coincidentally today, on chowtimes’ 5th birthday, the site will be featured on TV. LOL! If all things goes well, it will be on Fairchild’s Timeline Magazine. It is a Chinese program but we spoke in English. So you can follow that show a bit.

So yeah … it had been an eventful past year for chowtimes. And we know all these happened because of your support and encouragement … and more importantly your friendship and connecting with us. Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts!

For this year, I have a few big thing up my sleeve. It will be some earth moving stuff and will make some of your jaws drop. LOL! I don’t want to tell you what now because I want to surprise you all.

Anyway, here are some interesting statistics that I want to share with you:

Most Read Posts (Q4 2010)

  1. How to Cook Basmati Brown Rice
  2. Penang Delight Cafe on Rupert and 22nd Avenue, Vancouver
  3. Whipped Shortbread Cookies
  4. Steamed Banana Cake
  5. Fresh Fruit Cake
  6. Beef Stroganoff
  7. Moist Chocolate Cake
  8. Cassava Cake (Kuih Ubi Kayu)
  9. Mui Ngo Gai Vietnamese Restaurant on Nanaimo and Broadway, Vancouver
  10. Steamed Rice Cakes (Pak Thong Koh)
  11. YY Village on Anderson Road, Richmond
  12. Yaohan Center Food Court — Go After 6PM
  13. Fraser Park Restaurant — Hard to Find in Burnaby
  14. Delicious Chinese Cuisine on Kingsway, Between Victoria and Knight, Vancouver
  15. The Best Chinese Dishes in Vancouver
  16. Vancouver Tibet Kitchen on Fraser and 50th

Top Commenters (All Time)

  1. LotusRapper (885)
  2. Chubbypanda (325)
  3. Crispy Lechon (317)
  4. fmed (300)
  5. Buddha Girl (230)
  6. grayelf (178)
  7. etranger (161)
  8. Jessica (160)
  9. Marike (152)
  10. eatingclubvancouver_js (143)
  11. Elaine (128)
  12. Jonnek (123)
  13. HM (111)
  14. RobynT (109)
  15. Chris (107)
  16. Windy (96)
  17. Jennifer (88)
  18. kevin (85)
  19. Eat. Travel. Eat! (85)
  20. Pinoy Gourmet (146)
  21. timetochow (76)
  22. Michelle (75)
  23. eric (75)
  24. sally (73)
  25. Winnie (73)
  26. Lissa (67)

50 Most Commented Posts (All Time):

  1. Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony Rehearsal — Free Tickets – 308 comments
  2. Moist Chocolate Cake – 131 comments
  3. Penang Delight Cafe on Rupert and 22nd Avenue, Vancouver – 130 comments
  4. Steamed Banana Cake – 92 comments
  5. Fraser Park Restaurant — Hard to Find in Burnaby – 81 comments
  6. Steamed Rice Cakes (Pak Thong Koh) – 74 comments
  7. Looking at Richmond’s Food Courts in a Different Light — The Parker Place Food Court – 70 comments
  8. Mui Ngo Gai Vietnamese Restaurant on Nanaimo and Broadway, Vancouver – 70 comments
  9. Sweet Soy Pudding (Tou Foo Fa) – 68 comments
  10. Blogroll of Vancouver Food Blogs – 60 comments
  11. Pacific Plaza Food Court, Richmond – 59 comments
  12. Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle in Aberdeen Centre, Richmond – 56 comments
  13. [CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Xiao Long Bao 小籠飽 from Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine – 55 comments
  14. Chinese Sponge Cake – 54 comments
  15. Tiem Banh Dong Khanh (a.k.a. Tung Hing Bakery) on Kingsway, Vancouver – 54 comments
  16. Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine on No 1 Road and Moncton, Richmond – 53 comments
  17. How Much Do You Tip? – 52 comments
  18. Yaohan Center Food Court — Go After 6PM – 52 comments
  19. Tri-Pot Taiwanese Street Snack on Alderbridge Way, Richmond – 51 comments
  20. Help Us Make Up a Dinner Table: Luda on East Hastings and Slocan – 51 comments
  21. Sunlock Garden Restaurant on Fraser and East 27th Ave, Vancouver – 49 comments
  22. Fresh Fruit Cake – 48 comments
  23. Chow Times on The Vancouver Sun – 47 comments
  24. Weekend Musings (July 17th, 2010) – 46 comments
  25. Golden Phoenix Seafood Restaurant on Nanaimo and Broadway, Vancouver – 46 comments
  26. Any Tips For Vacation To Seattle? – 45 comments
  27. Weekend Musings (03-Apr-2010) – 45 comments
  28. “Wind Sand” Chicken Wings from Parker Place Food Court – 45 comments
  29. Shawarma from Abdul’s on Kingsway – 43 comments
  30. 12B Underground Kitchen – 43 comments
  31. Hot Luck on Kingsway Near Willingdon, Burnaby – 43 comments
  32. Beijing Cuisine on Cambie and Sexsmith, Richmond – 43 comments
  33. Wilton Cake Decorating Level 1 – 42 comments
  34. Alaskan King Crab from Kirin Mandarin Restaurant in Downtown Vancouver – 42 comments
  35. Dim Sum 101 in South Ocean Seafood Restaurant on Garden City and Alexandra, Richmond – 42 comments
  36. Shoryumen and Fumisen and Bakudanyaki Food Trucks in Richmond – 41 comments
  37. T-Hut Cafe Chinese Restaurant on Fraser and 48th Ave, Vancouver – 41 comments
  38. Nine Dishes on 960 Kingsway, Vancouver – 41 comments
  39. Good Choice Restaurant on Fraser and 44th, Vancouver – 41 comments
  40. Dinner at Top Gun J&C on McKim Way and Garden City, Richmond – 41 comments
  41. Ho Yuen Restaurant on Hazelbridge Way and Capstan Way, Richmond – 40 comments
  42. Peaceful Restaurant on West Broadway at Cambie, Vancouver – 40 comments
  43. Ba Le Deli and Bakery on Kingsway and Fraser, Vancouver – 40 comments
  44. Green Lemongrass Vietnamese Cuisine on Kingsway, Vancouver – 40 comments
  45. [CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Braised Lobster and Taro Noodle Hotpot 龍蝦芋絲煲 and
    Baked Live Pink Scallops 葡汁焗游水帶子 from Ken’s Chinese Restaurant on Kingsway, Vancouver
    – 40 comments
  46. Steamed Rice Cake – 39 comments
  47. Japadog in Downtown Vancouver – 39 comments
  48. Friendly Banners Restaurant in Broadmoor, Richmond – 39 comments
  49. Sun Yee Cafe on East Hastings and Lakewood Drive, Vancouver – 39 comments
  50. Shredded Dried Pork (a.k.a. Meat Floss) – 38 comments

44 thoughts on “Chowtimes.com Turns Five

  1. Congrats Ben and Suanne! It’s been great reading your blog for almost two years now! 5 years is certainly a long period of time! I just got two a few days ago. Can’t wait to see what you have on your sleeves for this year.

  2. Congratulations!!! You two have done such an amazing job and I can’t even imagine how you two keep up the blog. Whoa. Penang Delight is the first restaurant of the top 50 comments? I guess your enthusiasm for doing it right may have got everyone excited and that we really need places like this put on radar. Now, I only wished I caught that documentary. Darn.

  3. Congrats Ben & Susanne! 5 yrs is a long period of time! you guys are awesome!

    i just caught the last bit of the fairchild tv show about you guys! i screamed and my sister came out and want to it on tv too! hehe

  4. Congrats on 5 years! I’ve been a long time reader and I love the honesty that you review your restaurants. I’ve discovered a lot of restaurants through you. Here’s to another 5 years!

  5. Congratulations Ben and Suanne! All your hard work and the love for food has resonated through the people of Vancouver!

    • Hi Doug: Thanks! Go home early and watch yourself on TV? LOL! Remember Fairchild TV interviewed you during the 8GTCC Hunan Dinner in Alvin Garden? You were on the documentary … kekeke, playing second fiddle to me. There is a repeat at 10PM today. Ben

      • That was epic embarrassment for me! That was an entertaining story about Chowtimes and the shocking moment is when Suanne actually talked! Lol

      • Hi Doug: No, I thought you did very well on TV. Thanks for the nice words about chowtimes. LOL! Oh, you had never heard Suanne talked huh?🙂 Ben

  6. Hi Ben and Suanne,
    Just caught your television appearance on Fairchild. Congratulations to you on five fabulous years. Here’s to many, many more successful years! Look forward to seeing you soon.

    • Hi Lily: So how was it? I hope I did not make myself look like a fool on TV.🙂 Wow, the wave of traffic the moment the words “chowtimes.com” was flashed on the screen. We had something like 2-3 hits per second for 20 minutes before it slowed. Most of them from Ontario. The next (more important) wave will come at 10PM when it gets shown again in the West Coast. Ben

      • Hi Ben and Suanne,

        Not only do you not look like a fool, I thought you and Suanne made a very dashing couple. The boys looked very smart too! It was a well-done piece. Could have been a little longer so that it could have been a featured piece, rather than being aired at the end. I think all your your hard work and contribution to the rich mosaiac of what is Canadian society merit you that as the very least. IMHO…

      • Hi Lily: Oh really, we look dashing? Excuse me while I go watch the documentary again and try to admire ourselves on TV. LOL! I thought I looked fat. Ben

  7. Congrats Chowtimes!

    Thank you for your continuous posts. Reading your blog has been a routine I look forward to each and every day =)

  8. Congratulations Ben & Suanne.

    It really is a labor of love, and I highly admire you for constantly posting, day after day, week after week, month after month!

    • Hehehe … LotusRapper: Look at me. I think I can still wear 28/29 size pants then. See what 5 years of food blogging does to one’s body. Ben

      • I was around size 32/33 in 2006. Now I’m 33/34. Look what 5 years of following Chowtimes does to one’s body ! LOL

  9. congratulations… you inspired a lot of new food bloggers (myself included), but like ppl say.. nothing beats the original… thanks for sharing you adventures through out the years!!

  10. Happy 5th Anniversary Chowtimes,Dont ever let the occasional Troll spoil your day and I believe what makes Chowtimes so successful is your informal humorous style,There are way too many stuffy,serious bloggers out there.Best Wishes

  11. Congrats on 5 years. I’ve been a long time reader, since day one, and really enjoy your travel logs as well as restaurant reviews and commentary. Keep up the good work

  12. Felicitations on this great benchmark. I look forward to many more hours whiled away on Chowtimes. Happy New Year to the four of you also!

  13. There was a funny episode of the show “Good Guys” recently, which featured a food blogger/criminal. Asked if he started his food blog to pass time while traveling between cat-burgling jobs, he retorted:

    “Actually, I became a cat burglar to support my blog!”

    Hope it never comes down to that for you! Congratulations on your continued success. I admire your steadfastness daily as I read your posts.

  14. Heartiest congratulations Ben and Suanne! Chowtimes definitely ranks high on my list of favourite bookmarks. I gladly tell everyone I know about your blog and many of us now rely on Chowtimes to point us to new places to eat. Thank you very much for performing an amazing community service – your tireless effort is much appreciated =)

  15. Long live Chowtimes! I think that your photo essays did indeed pave the way for the newer crop bloggers and established a benchmark.

  16. Congrats Ben and Suanne! You’re an OB (Original Blogger). Way before the explosion of food blogs in the past couple of years in Vancouver. Thanks for leading the way and sharing your stories.

  17. I remember when I first discovered Chowtimes in 2007. It was one of the lone food blogs out there. Now I am hooked on it and read it every morning. Great work! Keep it up!

  18. Thats not fair. If we add my old comments using my old handle, I will be number 1 for sure beating LR. LOL.

    Congratulations Ben and Suanne. Wow 5 yrs and still going strong. Your blog actually started me on my food blog addiction in a good way. Many many times I have visited a restaurant after reading your blog post. I’m happy to say that I have yet to be disappointed with your recommendations. Your food porn and witty remarks are the hallmark of Chowtimes. You’re still getting some gotcha’s with your lemon-water joke. Overall, Chowtimes is my number 1 favorite blog and I hope for your continued success. Happy 5th Anniversary.

    • OMG, 885 posts (886 after this one) ?!? I need a ……. life :-O

      Hey Crispy, on a car forum that I’m on, I’m approaching 23,000 posts (forum join date 2004).

      Congrats Ben & Suanne on a significant milestone, and endless thanks for your dedication and hardwork to make CT and its community what it is. Here’s to another 5 yrs …..

  19. Congrats on Chowtimes’ 5 year anniversary! I truly enjoy reading all you and your family’s dining adventures and am always looking forward to new posts everytime I log on. Thanks for putting all the hard work into this blog and all the organized dinners throughout the years! I’m sure it has been greatly appreciated by all Chowtimes readers (me included). The recognition you guys have and will be receiving are all deserved! I wish you guys all the success in the coming years and look forward to continually reading about all your adventures!

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