Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chinatown Outing

Playing tourist in our hometown is a role with which I've become highly accustomed. Movie tours, hikes, museums, etc. I don't discriminate when it comes to gaining fun insights into the city.  Even though I often say I'm previewing it for guests, I'm a huge nerd and love to pick up the historic tidbits along the way. When I saw a Google Offer for a tour in Chinatown to include dim sum tasting, feng shui tips, tea tasting and a temple visit I jumped on it.  My adventuring buddy, Aimee, joined me and we braved Chinatown during the moon festival!

While the streets were quite crowded, our tour guide led us through without losing one tourist.  Hilariously, it seemed as though he knew everyone and we joked he must be the mayor of Chinatown.  He told us he was 3rd generation Chinese American and often negotiated with movie companies to use Chinatown streets since he spoke English and Chinese so well.  Apparently, The Interns had just wrapped shooting in front of The Four Seas where we started the tour with a sampling of dim sum.

After filling our bellies, we wondered through the market and I finally got an education on the variety of produce in the stalls.  We also stopped by the fortune cookie factory which is the teeniest hole in the wall place with just two ladies forming the hot cookies by hand. I grazed on more than a few from the reject pile and had worked up a thirst by the time we arrived for our tea ceremony.

We got our tour tickets through Zozi, but I think you can still get tickets through the Chinatown Ghost Tour company here.  I give the tour itself 3 of 4 stars and the tour guide 4 of 4 stars - he totally reminded me of a grandpa type and had the stories to prove it!

I recently made friends with a woman from my church who was born and raised in Chinatown.  She's promised to take me to her favorite dim sum joint and I can't wait to have another experienced guide.  Pretty soon, I'll be giving the tours :)

Have you taken any cultural tours in your hometown? Are there any others in San Fran tha ti should look out for?

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