SAN FRANCISCO CHINA TOWN
Wandering around San Francisco in China Town takes a lot of energy because there’s lots of ground to cover and non-stop stores to shop in. The kids (ages 8-14) loved the many toys, gadgets, medicinal remedies, clothes, candies, weaponry, and anime art. The adults (I’m not telling ages) enjoyed the people watching (crazy tourists, mostly; like the family who put on those grass hats, pulled the corners of their eyes out, and spoke gibberish as they got their picture taken), getting hounded by shopkeepers (which is expected in Chinatown), and food choices (stuff you recognize and stuff you don’t want to know what it is because it’s unrecognizable).
There’s food at just about every shop in China Town, most of it in foreign packaging that I can’t read.
Try Nan Hai Corporation at 919 Grant Ave if you are looking for dried herbs, medicinal items, ginseng, dried seafood, teas, dried plums, mushrooms, dried chicken feet, and things you never knew existed.
If you’re not adventurous and want an easy-to-recognize Chinese food restaurant, try Hunan Homes at 622 Jackson Street. Yelp! told us to go there. They’re kid friendly, welcome large groups (we ended up in the downstairs dining room all by ourselves), have easy to read menus, and reasonable prices. The portions are humongous.
A lot of the items you’ll see for sale are available at many other shops. Keep your eye on prices. The same beckoning cat (maneki-neko) was between $4-7 at various stores. I’m always on the lookout for the cute Chinese to English interpretations that are printed on notebooks, artwork, shirts, and bedding…
Silk pajamas were on these girls wish list. Like I said before, pricing for the pj’s were different in all the stores we went in. For the blue pair on the left, we trekked several blocks back to an obscure little room down what looked more like an alley than a road to save almost $10. It was worth it because they also fit (the other shops didn’t have her size)!
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF SAN FRANCISCO CHINA TOWN
Take time to peek around buildings and you might see amazingly painted murals, architecture, retro and vintage tile work, or interesting decor like golden dragons and fat lanterns.
Wish I would’ve snapped a photo for you of the adorably cute old man playing his sitar on a corner. His freckled face was round and cheery as we smiled at how much we enjoyed his sounds. My son ran back to drop change in his cup because, he said, “He was too happy to pass without helping.” Wonder how long I can picture his face in my memory.
CHINESE CONSOLIDATED BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION
I’m not really sure what this place is, but my husband insisted we get a photo in front of it. Might have something to do with the Big Trouble in Little China movie.