One of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States, the
16-block area is now Pan-Asian, with Korean, Vietnamese
and Japanese residents rounding out the neighborhood.
Bustling with open-air vendors and a lively street
scene, Chinatown is the ideal destination for those seeking
an authentic local gem.
While dining on dim sum at Peony Seafood Restaurant is an imperative,
(Gourmet Delight Seafood Restaurant is another tempting option),
try the barbecue pork at Gum Kuo Restaurant or warm your insides
with spicy black tonkotsu at Sobo Ramen. For even more heat, head
to Spices 3 for Szechuan-style dishes; if you want a milder option,
Shan Dong Restaurant serves up the best dumplings in the city.
From the sight of live seafood to the feel of exotic fruits and vegetables
to the smell of traditional herbs and spices, a trip through the open-air
markets of Chinatown is an experience that impacts all five senses.
Make sure to visit the Pacific Renaissance Plaza for jewelry, gifts and
other goods; stop at the sculptural fountain for a refreshing break with
boba tea from The Sweet Booth.
Embark on an informal block-by-block survey of the area’s colorful murals
(look for audacious works by street-art nonprofit Dragon School)
or get an inside take on the neighborhood with a city-sponsored walking
tour. Art lovers will find further inspiration at the Oakland Asian
Cultural Center, which offers community programs and classes, in addition
to exhibits spotlighting Asian art and historical heritage. Do tai chi
in the mornings with locals at Madison Square Park, or embrace your
visitor status with a tour of the Fortune Cookie Factory (the fortune
cookie folding machine was actually invented in Oakland).
This urban stretch at the base
of the Oakland Hills was once a
land of fruit trees. Today, you’ll
find a feast for the eyes and the
stomach in this vibrant East
Cambodian eatery Nyum Bai drew
national attention as one of Bon
Appétit ’s best new restaurants of
2018, while Arab corner bakery
Reem’s California earned a spot
on Food & Wine’s list of the top
restaurants of the year. For a true
taste of the area, grab a cup of
fair trade java at Red Bay Coffee,
satisfy your sugar craving with a
pastry from Bakery El Sol or go
for a savory bite at one of the
area’s many terrific taco trucks (try
Tacos El Gordo); also on wheels,
Cabalen Sweet & Savory dishes up
delectable Filipino street fare. For a
sit-down meal, you can’t go wrong
with Obelisco Restaurant’s healthy
Mexican dishes, made with locally
sourced seasonal ingredients.
Finish off your culinary journey
with handmade ice cream at Nieves
Cinco de Mayo.
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