Chinatown, San Francisco

9 Reviews

  • Do I Get Royalties?
    Do I Get Royalties?
    by dee_1NiteAngel
  • a little souvenir to take home !
    a little souvenir to take home !
    by Jeannette1

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  • Walk Away from Main Drag

    by gerblunk Written Feb 8, 2004

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    San Francisco's Chinatown is the largest and most interesting Chinatown that I have been to, but if you go, you need to walk on some of the back streets, away from the tacky tourist-oriented shops that rope people in with cheesy roll-up calanders and faux-Oriental knick-knacks. The McDonald's shaped like a Pagoda is a new low in Sino-American relations. The "Chinese-style" streetlights look like something at Disneyland. In a word, the touristy sections of Chinatown are very, very boring.

    Some of the backstreets of this district though, are fascinating, and the closest thing you'll get to a Chinese city in this hemisphere.

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  • I was totally dissapointed by...

    by nicolabj Written Aug 25, 2002

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    I was totally dissapointed by China Town. I thought it'd be great, but when I got there, all it consisted of was cheap electronics stores. Plus, I had the worst Chinese meal of my life there. If you'd like to eat out in the area, I'd advise you to look out for a restaurant with a line of people to get in. This will mean it's good quality, and it'll be worth the wait.

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  • Camera rip off

    by frankimarcussen Written Oct 2, 2006

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    Stay far away from Camara Express, 621 Grant Avenue, on Chinatown. I was just ripped off buying a camera and a lens and bargaining it down to a mere $3000. They were very adept at convincing me I was getting a great deal. I checked the price of this package when returning home to find the package is worth $1500. Shame on them for ripping off seniour tourists visiting the city. Have found out since that this is their usual business practices.
    Robert MacFarlane, Canada

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    China Town seems to be over...

    by nursenunez Written Aug 26, 2002

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    China Town seems to be over rated. Very tightly orgainzed within the city, not much to see. What we did see was not worth it, such as the 'lucky' gateway to the place. It is ok for bargain souveniers, not much else. Many Chinese food restaurants- the one we chose, Golden Dragon, had average food, nothing especially tastey.

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    Grant Avenue in Chinatown has...

    by Skylink Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Grant Avenue in Chinatown has quite a few t-shirt shops. Stockton Street, one block to the west, has more stores of use to the everyday person. Butcher shops, vegetable stores, general stores, small grocery stores, etc. Some of the recent immigrants are liable to step on your foot and say nothing, so watch out!

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  • CHINATOWN; if you feel that...

    by crackerjack8 Written Aug 25, 2002

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    CHINATOWN; if you feel that you MUST see chinese culture, go. Note that everything can be bargained down to 60% of stated price on sales tag. I should know since my folks run a chinatown shop.
    UNION SQUARE is also another place where not a single local is to be found, except when crossing thru as a shortcut between the shops around it.
    FISHERMANS WHARF same as union square

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    Just Because It Had My Name....$$$....OUCH!

    by dee_1NiteAngel Written Jul 6, 2010

    China Town was not so much as a 'trap' as it was a bit annoying with all of the vendors following us and pushing their goods and products in front of our path, so other than being a bit over promoting or insistent we were able to resist temptation when needed.

    On the other hand, when I spied a 'women's boutique' crowned with my name, well, let's just say, an hours perusing, pawing and sampling had my daily allotment spent rather quickly!

    Do I Get Royalties?

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    Chinatown - They think you're shoplifting

    by skib Written May 25, 2004

    Chinatown was fun, we had never been there. The shops all had the same stuff which pretty much consisted of junk. We felt like all the store owners thought we were going to shoplift. Bamboo plants are very cheap. If you go to Chinatown, you must go to a hole in the wall bar for a drink. It was fun because the locals where there. It was a fun experience.

    Unique Suggestions: Bamboo plants are very cheap. If you go to Chinatown, you must go to a hole in the wall bar for a drink. It was fun because the locals where there. It was a fun experience.

    Fun Alternatives: I would give Chinatown a try. You can walk through it in 15 minutes if you don't like it.

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    China Town Stores

    by Jeannette1 Written Sep 2, 2002

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    There are so many stores that sell horrible, tacky souvenirs to tourists along Grant Avenue in China town. Be careful what you buy!

    a little souvenir to take home !

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Comments (1)

  • Jun 27, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    i don't think tourists can label a neighborhood a tourist trap if they've only walked up and down Grant Ave. You have a serious problem if you spent more than 30 minutes in those tourist shops. Don't buy tshirts or electronics that you would NEVER buy in your hometown. It's not cheaper here most of the time.
    Don't blame anyone if you didn't walk up way north or west. That's the real Chinatown.
    There are a lot of cool & cheap things to do.

    ***Some people get their fish frozen or not fresh their whole lives. Check it out in a tank. Just don't take pictures. It's rude. I've seen people do it. When someone's pushing a plastic trash bin filled with swirling fish off a wet, dirty truck AND water is sloshing everywhere, it's not ok to photograph ANY part of it. Do you take a photo of the guy at Safeways/WholeFoods/Fresh&Easy ? NO. Yes, it's a fresh chicken/clam/turtle/fish/frog. I don't care. Kids may be sensitive so be smart.
    ***The Fortune Cookie shop/factory. see how it's made. and you get one fresh sample. and fortune cookies? an American invention. just like hard shell tacos.
    ***herbal shops! forget the tea places on Grant. They're ripoffs just like everything south of the banks on Grant. ask the herbalist how to fix a sore throat or something easy like that (ex: tea). eastern medicine do work. the old school ones use the string balance plate things on a stick. the young ones? those electronic gram scales.
    ***cultural street fairs. autumn moon (august ish) or chinese new year (mid-february). everyone's buying good luck charms, cheap toys, candy, oranges, orchids and those red flowers, and other holiday stuff. not everything's cheap but A LOT of locals are out and about. that means it's real. authentic. the kids are playing carnival games to win goldfish they can get for $2 3 blocks away. So yeah, it's fun and it's when Chinatown is the most Chinese.
    ***go grocery shopping. on Stockton, which is west of Grant. it's a farmers market everyday except nothing's organic. but most of the fruits & veggies are from the farms around Sacramento and south around Monterey Bay. So it's local AND very fresh. it's cheaper and fresher than most cuz they don't have the $ to spray everything with a sprinkler system. The markets just ship local more frequently to make up for their lack of refrgerators & sprinklers for the produce. Get some fruits for your hotel room.
    ***try boba drinks. there's a lot of places but the best is SweetHeart Cafe on Grant. boba is the black balls at the bottom of your drink. It's sweet & chewy. If you don't know what to order, get Milk Tea with Boba. boba was invented in Taiwan.
    ***meats. Get $10 worth or less. they're roasted or baked. idk but they're gooood. pork. duck. chicken. beef. try them. they're hanging in the windows so look before you go in.
    ***dim sum. there aren't any "good" ones left in Chinatown IMO. the rent got too high so everyone who knows their sh*t packed up and moved to other neighborhoods in SF (Sunset richmond) and cities (Hayward, South San Francisco, Millbrae, etc). sad really. but get it at a bakery/dim sum shop. NOT restaurant. get some paestries, bread, & other goodies too. you might get hungry after that expensive & bleh dinner, or from traveling, or from your kids crying and you couldnt sneak in a meal. try the ones locals go to that give your stuff in a pink box or the chains. the chains have little tags in English (helps if you're allergic to certain stuff). my faves are the 2 on Broadway. if you're standing on Grant facing Broadway, turn left without crossing the street & walk up. the bakery & dim sum place are popular with the locals. you can't go wrong there. $15 at each one will really give you a good sample.

    that's all the regular local stuff I can think of right now. it's cheap and fun to see/do. the kids will be entertained by the foods. and you can learn what it's like in China. good luck & bring a coat!

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