Saturday, April 20, 2024

Revisiting LA’s Chinatown

March 27, 2010  
Filed under Global Spotlight

Script: A conversation about Chinatown among Terri, Sam and Amy.

Chinatown--founder of the Republic of China statue; Aaronnickels/Wikimedia Commons

Chinatown--statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen; Aaronnickels/Wikimedia Commons

Terri: Hey, what’s there to do in Chinatown?

Sam: Don’t think much…all I know is that there’s a decent dim sum restaurant called Ocean Seafood—actually it’s the only place I tried—and that Central Plaza is used as a frequent filming spot like for Rush Hour.

Amy: I actually wrote a paper on LA Chinatown back in college…it’s pretty steeped in culture and history…did you know it used to be where the Union Station is? And that was in the 1850s when Chinese immigrants were mostly male, working as laundrymen, road builders and such.

Sam: Good stuff…

Terri: I always see that statue in Central Plaza…who is that supposed to be?

Amy: Oh, that’s the founder of the Republic of China—Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Central Plaza and that whole thing opened back in the days in 1938 when they moved from the old location.

Sam: Are all the businesses Chinese?

Amy: Actually no…gradually more immigrants from Vietnam and Cambodia have flocked to the area, so you’ll probably run into some restaurants or cafes that aren’t Chinese like Via Café on 451 Gin Ling Way, which is pretty modern or some pho places.

Terri: Damn, you got this whole territory memorized.

Sam: True dat!

Amy: Hahaha…well you guys would know the same if you had to write a paper on it.

Sam: I’m hitting you up when I’m in this area.

Terri: So what are some good places to eat here?

Amy: Chinatown is a good spot for authentic Chinese food on the cheap if you don’t care too much about ambiance. Lucky Deli on 706 N. Broadway is good for some quick dumplings or buns. Oh, you guys should try Master Chef Restaurant’s honey walnut shrimp dish or Peking duck. They’re on 937 N. Hill St, if I remember correctly…yeah, I’m pretty sure. There’s a few dim sum places here, but Empress Pavilion on 988 N. Hill St is the best one among them, I think.

Sam: Genius.

Terri: I’m hankerin’ for some dim sum now.

Amy: Yeah, let’s go! I was going to pick up a birthday cake for Mike at Phoenix Bakery today. It’s the best. I like Asian cakes and desserts since they don’t make ‘em too sweet. Phoenix Bakery’s famous for their strawberry whip cream cakes. It has just the right sweetness with a perfectly soft, spongy texture.

Sam: And I bet you know the address to this place too?

Amy: 969 N. Broadway. I know, I know…I’m a nerd. I just like memorizing addresses okay?

Terri: Beats my directions. I’d be like “Okay it’s next to that greenish building, or that statue thing…” [Laughs]

Amy: If you guys are interested in learning more about this area, they have a walking tour every month. It’s called “The Undiscovered Walking Tour” where you get to discover art galleries, antique stores, herbal shops, best bargains and all that stuff.

Sam: They have art galleries too? I would’ve never guessed.

Amy: Yeah, see? And you’ve been living here for how long? Go to and you’ll find their
calendar section with more details…and sign up for the walking tour thing with Terri.

Terri: Actually, why don’t you just take us on the tour? You’re kind of doing it already…plus, it’s free. [Smiling]

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