Resources for Chinese-Speaking Family Members

Parent Q&A

  • Chinese Postpartum Meal Delivery Service in Bay Area?

    (5 replies)

    Any mommies successful in finding a Chinese postpartum meal company that services the Bay Area?  Looking for something local or will deliver to Oakland.  Maybe somewhere in Oakland Chinatown?  Thinking those who have Chinese nannies or can read Chinese newspapers would know - wish I paid more attention in Chinese school when I was younger :)  Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!

    I used I-San house.  They deliver all over the Bay Area. 

    I-San House in the South Bay delivers to Oakland for $50 per trip so I'm doing a weekly delivery.  I have not been able to find a company in the East Bay, let me know if you do!

    here is their website:

    I couldn't find anything local to Oakland but my SILs used this place in San Jose

    I used JingMommy based in Socal and they will ship meals weekly. I think JingMommy tasted better.

    I did not find a service local to East Bay. We went with I-San House in San Jose ( We used them for our first birth and were happy with the service so are using them again. At the time of our first birth, they did not deliver beyond 30 miles (or something like that), so we actually arranged for them to delivery to a friend's house within their radius. Then we picked up the food there. We are using I-San second time around, too. They do delivery to East Bay now, and the cost they quoted me was $90/delivery, based on where we live. You can choose delivery once a week (which is a lot of food - be sure to completely clear out your fridge/freezer), or twice a week, which is more manageable food/space-wise, but then you'd be paying for delivery each time. I think for full 4-week meal service, it comes down to roughly $2000 for just the food. It's possible to have leftovers and share with your family, but actually, the food is not seasoned much. My husband helped eat some occasionally, but I'd always have to add miso paste into the soup for him, lol. My mom actually could've made the soups as well and it would've been tastier, but you can't go wrong with convenience. They have an intro seminar you can attend before you commit, but it's at their office. You can taste the food there too. You can also request to not have certain dishes, e.g. if you don't eat organ meats, etc. Even though I felt I was just pumping soup into my body for a while, I didn't have any problems with milk production, which is why we're doing it again. Also it is excellent for losing pregnancy weight, despite eating liver several times a week... Good luck!

    Yes I used i-San House in San Jose for two kids. They have a yelp listing but I think the ratings are a bit harsh. I liked their service. I paid a bit more to deliver to San Francisco. They also give a lot of food and/or I would get tired of bland food so one week of food lasted me maybe 2-3 weeks with other home cooked or bought meals in between. Good luck! 

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  • Chinese (Mandarin) speaking churches or senior centers near Berkeley?

    (2 replies)

    Hi everyone, my mother who is in early stages of memory loss will be staying with my husband and I in Berkeley for a month so I can take her to neurologists in the area. My husband and I will be alternating working from home to keep an eye on her but I would like to find some things for her to do.

    Does anyone know of Mandarin speaking churches, senior centers or groups that are nearby Berkeley? We don't have a car so preferably it would be close but we could take a rideshare to bring her somewhere.

    Thanks so much for your help!

    Hello -- Sorry about your mom's health. Check with the Berkeley Chinese Baptist Church on Sacramento. It's walking distance to the North Berkeley BART station.  They have Mandarin Sunday services, but I don't know if they have any senior programs in Mandarin. The Berkeley Chinese Community Church on Acton has a senior program on Tuesdays, but most of the participants are English speakers of Chinese descent. The El Cerrito Chinese Christian Church on Stockton (just East of San Pablo) has a Mandarin ministry. There are a couple of senior programs in Oakland Chinatown. When I took my mom to the Hong Lok Senior Center (part of Family Bridges) on 11th St and there were both Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking participants. The Oakland Chinatown Salvation Army has a senior program too, but I think most of the participants are Cantonese speakers. I also took my mom to the Asian Branch of the Oakland Library (in the Pacific Renaissance Center) and my mom had a nice time reading books and getting help with setting up her iPad with Chinese TV shows. Good luck! 

    There is a Chinese for Christ Church around the corner from us at Prince and College in the Elmwood.  We've never attended so I can't say for sure if services are in Chinese or not, but the website is bilingual and based on overhearing neighborhood foot traffic on Sundays I assume the services are in Mandarin.

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  • Cantonese-Speaking Senior Citizens - Where to go?

    (7 replies)

    Hello BPN! My elderly mom is thinking about moving to the Bay Area and wanting to see what the Cantonese-speaking community is like here and what programs, activities and services are available in BART-able locations. She speaks English and some Mandarin, but Cantonese is her native language, so she would love to connect with a group of senior citizens who also speak Cantonese and enjoy a wide variety of activities. She is social, urban (she's from HK) and educated. She's not particularly religious, but is open to going to church-sponsored programs, especially if the church leans progressive (and is more the love-thy-neighbor type). Thanks for any suggestions for community centers, senior centers, neighborhood programs, and the like that have a critical mass of Cantonese-speaking participants. 

    Both SF and Oakland chinatowns have large Cantonese populations. Not entirely sure about the churches or community centers, but I want to say that those are probably more robust in SF than Oakland.

    Oakland’s Chinatown is right near Bart. I work with seniors, many of them Cantonese speaking. There’s a huge community of them around the downtown side of Lake Merritt. Check out Hong Lok

    Oakland and San Francisco have the most densely populated cantonese speakers and several services for the elderly, including On-Lok for assisted living services. Google search those cities and "chinese services" or "chinese community service" and I'm sure you'll find several resources. Good luck.

    Most of the (elderly) Cantonese community (mostly Guangdong province) congregate in either Oakland/SF Chinatown.  It is a predominantly less educated blue collar community (village dialects, et. al.) but their children have thrived with  undergrad/graduate education. From my experience, most of the white collar community are Mandarin speakers outside of SF (Ex: Dublin, Silicon Valley). 

    Most BART-able is Oakland Chinatown which is right at the 12th Street Station. It is a much smaller overall compared to SF Chinatown. My 89 year-old father has lived in SF for 43 years and he takes BART + MUNI to SF Chinatown daily. SF's Chinatown does require taking a bus from Montgomery BART station. Usually when elderly Chinese folks on BART ask me how to get to Chinatown, I tell them to follow all the other Chinese people who get off at Montgomery Station (I am serious) because I don't know which MUNI buses go to Chinatown anymore. There's also SF's Richmond district (more residential area) which has the second "Chinatown".

    Sadly, both Chinatowns are desperately in need of a refresh. SF Richmond's Chinatown is a bit "newer" (ie, less than 100 years old) but lacks senior activities. "Younger" (ie, middle-aged or younger) folks go to 99 Ranch supermarket/mini malls which can be demographically unpredictable in terms of Cantonese vs. Mandarin speakers. 

    My dad stays active with senior ballroom dance groups (SF Chinatown) and takes ESL classes at the Community College of SF Downtown campus (off Powell BART station). My family is not religious, and since my mom passed, we stick with bare minimum Chinese customs. If your mom's used to using her RFID transit pass in HK, she should be fine navigating with SF's Clipper card based public transit. (Thanks to BART/MUNI, my parents used to visit my sister in Boston and comfortably navigated around its T public transit system with ease for Chinatown visits.)

    If you'd like, I can check with my dad on the specific details about senior activities when I see him this weekend for the new year activities.

    Good luck and happy new year!

    Hm... if there's a wormhole connecting Temescal with Park Slope there's definitely one between HK and SF.  So you may not know that many Chinese immigrants of a certain generation in North America hail from Guangdong Province, from the Pearl River Delta to be precise.  Many live in SF, including many HK immigrants.  She need only go to Oakland or SF Chinatown to hear Cantonese spoken.  Perhaps a couple places to start are in SF and in Oakland, which is next to 19th St. BART.  Lots of people can live here speaking only or nearly only Cantonese.  There's a big senior citizen dance scene here (tango etc.) too with lots of Chinese folks- Allegro in Emeryville, Lake Merrit Dance Center at the Oakland Veterans Building.  These are pretty easy to get to via BART and bus and def. BART and Lyft

    The Outer Sunset neighborhood in San Francisco is great. My wife's family is originally from Hong Kong and every time they would come out from NY to visit us they were always excited that Cantonese was the 1st language spoken at most of the restaurants and hk-cafes along Irving, Noriega (between 19th & 40th). They would go play tennis at the community center against other retired folks who also happened to be from HK. We were a bit sad to leave the neighborhood but there no way we could afford to buy a house in SF. The Outer Richmond neighborhood has a few stretches as well along Geary and Clement...  We're hoping to tap into some of the same Cantonese heritage somewhere out here in the East Bay now that we're in El Cerrito. I'm gwailou and my wife's mandarin is better than her Cantonese but we're hoping to introduce our son to his cultural heritage as well. Good Luck!

    You didn't mention where your mom will be living, as each community will have a different set of resources. If she is on the East Bay, she should check out the Chinese Independent Baptist Church of Oakland (CIBC) in Oakland Chinatown. They have a thriving Cantonese speaking senior citizen group.

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Archived Q&A and Reviews


Neighborhoods suitable for Mandarin-speaking grandparents?

March 2014


We're a family with 2 kids and two parents-in-law and we are all moving to the bay area in the next month or so. My parents-in-law recently arrived from China, don't speak English, and don't know how to drive a car.

I'd appreciate any advice as to which areas we can live in so that my in-laws can have a reasonable life while here in the US! I'm thinking about an area that has good schools for the kids (1yo, 3yo) but easy access (single bus ride?) to an area with a higher density of Chinese stores, Chinese community centers, etc.


P.S. My in-laws speak Mandarin, not Cantonese.

Have you considered the Sunset or the Richmond in San Francisco ? These are the two neighborhoods lining Golden Gate Park and sloping down all the way to the ocean. These neighborhoods get a bad rap, especially from East Bay dwellers, because they are foggy. However, if I were in your situation, I would definitely consider those neighborhoods; there are many Chinese families in these neighborhoods (you hear both Cantonese and Mandarin). We lived in the Sunset for 5 years, including the time when my son was 0-3 and my daughter was an infant; I loved the neighborhood, despite the fog. I know less about the Richmond because we never lived there, but it has a similar feel -- lots of Chinese families, though maybe a bit more diverse. We lived in the Outer Sunset (on 25th, very near the park) -- great walkable neighborhood, for in-laws who don't drive. Right on the corner of 25th and Irving is an amazing Chinese supermarket. I loved shopping there...Great Chinese restaurants (and other Asian restaurants as well) -- I miss the Chinese bakery and take-out dim sum! The inner Sunset (away from the ocean) is somewhat dominated by UCSF and also is more expensive. The middle and outer Sunset is more 'Chinese/Asian' (for lack of a better description), more affordable (bigger houses, lots of single-family homes), and quieter. Golden Gate Park is an amazing resource to have with young children -- great playgrounds, great walking paths, a beautiful lake, the Academy of Sciences, etc. We moved to the East Bay (my husband wanted to get out of the fog) before our kids started school, although I did spend a lot of time learning about the schools while we lived there and have friends in the schools now. The SF public schools are a mixed bag. But the Sunset and the Richmond have some of the better neighborhood schools in the city. Our local school would have been Jefferson, and I have friends who are very happy with the school. There are also several Mandarin immersion schools in the city; if your children are bilingual (Mandarin/English), I believe this would increase their chances of getting into one of the Mandarin immersion programs. That said, the Mandarin immersion schools are highly ranked and highly sought after, so there's no guarantee you'd get in. And there's no guarantee on your neighborhood school, either. SF has a complicated algorithm that determines school assignment. I'd read up on it, certainly, before I bought a house there. There is also the Chinese American International School, if money is no object -- that school is supposed to be amazing. All in all, I have lovely memories of living 'in the Avenues' (as we call the two neighborhoods) and probably would have stayed if it had been up to me. I don't mean to downplay the fog, however; it can really drive some people crazy during a bad summer. And the uncertainty re: school assignments would be anxiety provoking. But I have to say, every single one of my friends in the City has landed at a school they are happy with. Some of them had to white-knuckle it through a couple of rounds of wait-listing, but those who stuck it out have been very happy so far (these are all elementary school aged families). Sunset Booster

You didn't get any East Bay recommendations in the first round, so I thought I would mention that Oakland's Chinatown is an easy walk from BART. So easy access to BART = easy access to Oakland's Chinatown. East Bay girl

I felt I should chime in, since you got so few responses covering the East Bay. Someone mentioned Oakland Chinatown, which of course is nice for shopping and restaurants, though a bit desolate/dangerous at night, so maybe not ideal for a living situation (though there is the senior center and nearby senior apartments and retirement communities, if they are looking for that type of thing). But there is also a large Chinese-speaking population in Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, and Richmond, which is in part why the Pacific East Mall was located and is thriving in that area, though there are also a lot of small businesses and community resources along the San Pablo Avenue corridor that serve Chinese-speaking clientele and other Asian communities. And you would find a similar situation if you look to southern Alameda County/north Santa Clara County, Hayward, Fremont, and Milpitas in particular--this area is very diverse, and I think it would be fairly easy to find a nieghborhood where your parents will be comfortable and have resources and a community nearby.

I saw several replies to your post and had to seek out your original post because San Leandro has a very large Chinese population that you might find to be a good fit for your family and grandparents. We think it's a lovely city and I think it would be very possible for your grandparents to find friends who also speak Mandarin fluently. love our neighbors