The Captivating Chinatown in San Francisco

Different nationalities come to the United States and it makes the country a place where diversity exists in race, culture and color. This led to numerous Asian American communities having their own town in the country, one of which is Chinatown in San Francisco. Having been given the name “Chinatown” since 1853, this community is a place where Chinese culture is present and is a place wherein Chinese Americans can also learn and know more about their country of origin in Asia.

Since the place is alive in Chinese culture, you can expect to see various things relating to China. First is the Dragon Gate that serves as the official entrance to the town. The gate was built in 1970 and was designed by Chinese American architect Clayton Lee. This is the only authentic Chinatown gate that exists in the whole United States.

The Dragon Gate is composed of green-tiled pagodas as well as sculptures of dragons. There is even a Chinese quote from the first provisional president of China, Dr. Sun Yat Sen. The quote translates “All under heaven is for the good of the people.”

China is the birthplace of fireworks which is widely used around the world during New Year and on special occasions. It is believed to scare away evil spirits in Chinese culture. Since Chinatown is located in San Francisco where fireworks are illegal, Pop Pop boxes that contain small packages thrown to the floor are sold as an alternative. There are 2 main celebrations held in Chinatown with the first one being the Chinese New Year in February and the Autumn Moon Festival in September to give thanks for the harvest.

In 1906, an earthquake hit Chinatown but thankfully it did not result in serious damages in terms of structures. With that being said, two buildings were built among many following the earthquake which are named Sing Chong and Sing Fat which can be found at the intersection of Grant and California. Of course, it is given that these landmarks give off a Chinese style and it certainly attracts people into the town.

With all of the eye-catching places in Chinatown, one can feel hungry. Many delicacies can also be found in this wonderful area. One among many must try foods is dim sum and there’s nothing more authentic than eating this delicious food at Chinatown. Tourists can also find “The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory” which makes many fortune cookies daily. The process of making the fortune cookies can be seen by tourists freely and fresh cookies can be bought right on the bat.

It really is amazing to think about a town wherein pieces and tidbits of culture from Asia can be found in the US. This just goes to show how culture can cross places and be carried on to other locations. Chinese Americans are surely proud of the fact that there is a town that exists which takes them back to their roots.

Written by Jan Marbella
Jan Marbella is a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise and a 4th year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student of De La Salle University DasmariƱas.

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