The Chinese New Year’s Parade is set to take place in San Francisco on Saturday. And while most people think only of Chinatown, San Francisco’s diverse Chinese community is spread out throughout the city. Here are a few ways to explore San Francisco’s unique Chinese culture.
Chinatown walking tour: Exploring Chinatown can be a daunting task. Many of the shop owners don’t speak much English and the streets are crowded; it can almost feel like being in a whole different world. I highly suggest taking a walking tour with a guide, who will be able traverse the ins and outs of Chinatown.
Dim sum: There are some great places to grab dim sum in San Francisco, not just in Chinatown. In fact, I think there are plenty of spots in other neighborhoods that are better than most of the restaurants in Chinatown. Try Clement Street for a great variety of both dim sum and other Chinese cuisine. Or go all out at Yank Sing in the Rincon Center. There are tons of choices around the city.
Asian Art Museum: While the Asian Art Museum doesn’t solely focus on Chinese art, there are always a number of exhibits and programs aimed at helping patrons get a better understanding of the Chinese culture.
Chinese Cultural Center: Located between the Financial District and Chinatown, this non-profit has spent the last 45+ years helping to promote Chinese art and culture. This includes through visual arts and public programs and education.
Chinese Historical Society of America: The Chinese Historical Society of America is the oldest and largest facility in the country that is dedicated to the documentation, study and presentation of Chinese American history. The great thing is that a lot of the exhibits tend to focus on a local angle of Chinese Americans in San Francisco.
Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory: Ever tried to figure out exactly how fortune cookies are made? Well at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, the entire process can be seen firsthand, from start to finish. Although I’m not sure if they explain who comes up with the fortunes insides.
This is just a starting point to get a better understanding of the Chinese culture in San Francisco, although there are so many other places to explore as well. It’s just part of the wonderful meting pot that is San Francisco.
Photo Credit: Ed Schipul, via Wikimedia Commons