Five of the Best Chinatowns in the United States - Page 2
|Chinatown entrance sign in Los Angeles, California (iStockphoto)|
Encompassing just a few blocks near Boston’s Financial District and Downtown Crossing shopping area, this Chinatown may look small, but it's home to one of the country’s largest and oldest Chinese communities. Chinese immigrants first came to Boston in the 1800s as laborers brought in to stop a strike at a shoe factory. Boston’s Chinatown is rich in culture and tradition, with streets jam-packed with grocers, bakeries, shops, and Asian restaurants serving various styles of Chinese cuisine as well as Cambodian, Vietnamese, and more. The traditional Chinatown gate, designed to ward off evil spirits with the help of its two lion statues, is an iconic gathering place and welcome to the neighborhood.
Los Angeles, California
Wedged between Dodger Stadium and Union Station in downtown, Chinatown Los Angeles gets a lot less attention than its cousin up north in San Francisco. Established in 1938 with the dedication of the Central Plaza mall, “new” Chinatown (the original was demolished to make way for Union Station) today hardly has any Chinese residents. These days, most have packed up and moved to the 'burbs while hipsters and art galleries occupy the buildings on the neighborhood’s fringe. In true L.A.-style, this Chinatown was built with Hollywood flair to mimic a Chinese village. Chinese-American culture is still alive and well here with restaurants, curio shops, ornate temples, and even a Chinese Christian church (with services conducted in Cantonese). A popular Sunday pastime, including among the Hollywood set, is to dine on a dim sum brunch and browse the mom-and-pop shops for Asian art, costume jewelry, and other kitschy finds.
With restored 19th-century buildings trimmed in bright colors, Honolulu's Chinatown is a busy neighborhood for locals and visitors alike. Established in the 1890s when Chinese laborers came to work on sugar and pineapple plantations, the area today draws hungry diners looking for Hong Kong dim sum or Vietnamese noodles. Street peddlers sell their wares in the sunshine, shopkeepers import art and clothing from China, and Chinese herbalists and acupuncturists offer cures for what ails you. Stand at the corner of Maunakea and Hotel streets for a view of the action from one of the neighborhood’s oldest intersections. Chinese residents gather to play mah-jongg in the central courtyard of Maunakea Market Place, a busy fruit and vegetable market complete with a food court. Stuffed with exotic and fragrant blooms, the Maunakea Street lei shops are among the finest in all of Hawaii. Next to the Chinese Cultural Plaza is a monument to Sun Yat-Sen, educated in Hawaii and considered by some to be China’s liberator and Father of the Chinese Republic.