What may be obscured by the smell of Hoisin sauce and the sight of hanging roast ducks (once banned in America) is the area's deep social history ingrained in the hidden alleys and corners, starting in Old Chinatown where Union Station currently stands. It's a tight-knit community with a sense of pride, having experienced many difficulties--from the first race riots to forced relocation. Through it all, there's one thing that has always been at the core of the Chinatown experience: food.
During the first wave of Chinese immigration in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, one of the most common occupations for the migrants was in the produce business. Unable to find ingredients from their homeland, they grew their own, often peddling the beans and cabbage door-to-door in the Old Chinatown neighborhood. The City Market, established by a group of immigrant farmers in 1903, served as one of the main outlets for such vendors, and its surrounding areas became one of the first Chinese-American suburbs.
- Charlie Quon - On working at The City Market and how Chinese-Americans ruled the produce industry.
- The City Market - A slideshow of images depicting the changing neighborhood surrounding the market.
- Writer Lisa See - On her family's history in Chinatown and her grandfather Eddy See's restaurant The Dragon's Den.
- Phoenix Bakery - Youth Voices talks with owner Kelly Chan about strawberry cream cakes and the changing demographics of Chinatown.
- Kim Chuy Cambodian Restaurant - Political turmoil in Cambodia in the 1970s prompted the Lim family to relocate to Chinatown, where they began practicing the art of the Chiu Chow style noodle cuisine.
- New Battambang Restaurant - Owner Phen Tang escaped from Cambodia to Vietnam to Thailand, to refugee camps, and finally to America, where he serves traditional Cambodian cuisine at his restaurant.
View Chinatown: Eating Through History in a larger map
Do you have a story about Chinatown? Share with us!