San Francisco is a foodie’s paradise. You can find any cuisine that strikes your fancy. San Francisco’s Chinatown is perhaps one of the oldest and most famous in the country. If you love Chinese cuisine, then you will love Chinatown! Plan to spend a day to enjoy the sights, sounds, scents and flavors.
Chinatown’s rich history dates back as far as the mid-nineteenth century. San Francisco attracted Chinese immigrants who sought employment with the Central Pacific Railroad. The migrants formed their own community that became known as “Chinatown.”
Over the years, the city within a city faced ups and downs. The Chinese Exclusion Act and also the Great Fire of 1906. However, Chinatown continued to grow and flourish throughout the twentieth century to become the thriving tourist attraction it is today. The traditional and the modern coexist throughout Chinatown.
Visitors stroll the streets and browse in the eclectic shops and boutiques. You can easily spend the day shopping since Chinatown spans 24 blocks. The area also boasts live and produce markets. Saturday is a great time to visit the food markets on Stockton Street.
Other popular destinations include the distinctive Chinatown Gate, the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, the temples on Waverly Street, and the Chinese Historical Society of America. Art lovers enjoy the galleries, murals, and public art. Chinatown hosts cultural festivals including a two-week long Chinese New Year and the annual Autumn Moon Festival. These festivals attract visitors from near and far.
All that sight-seeing will stimulate your appetite. Since there is no shortage of restaurants, the scent of fresh Chinese food will tempt you. Whether you want dim sum or an elegant multiple-course meal, you will find it in or near San Francisco’s Chinatown.
No visit to Chinatown is complete without a visit to Z & Y Restaurant. This award-winning restaurant features Sichuan cuisine. Locals and visitors gather to enjoy their choice of more than 100 extraordinary dishes. If all those options are overwhelming, try the house special fish that 7×7 Bay Area declared one of the top 100 San Francisco dishes to try.
Visiting dignitaries like Chinese presidents and foreign ministers dine at Z & Y. Don’t let the high-profile clientele discourage you. The Michelin Guide featured Z & Y on the 2017 Bib Gourmand list for the Bay Area. The Bib Gourmand list features moderately priced restaurants that offer delicious food for a great value.
Z & Y received many accolades over the years. The San Francisco Chronicle named Z & Y one to the top 100 restaurants in Bay Area for two consecutive years. Bloomberg included it as one of the best places in the world to dine during Chinese New Year.
After dinner, enjoy Chinatown’s nightlife. Nightclubs and bars offer many options. Many of the restaurants stay open late as well. Chinatown tends to be busy in the evening as it attracts locals and tourists.
A day (and night) in Chinatown offers happy memories of culture, history, quirky shops and delicious food. It is cosmopolitan much like the city itself.