It’s good to have guides, even for those of us fortunate enough to live here. Though officially Queeristan is just 49 square miles (and nearly square), this 7×7 peninsula sandwiched ‘tween the Bay, the Pacific and the straight connecting the two that we famously call the Golden Gate is still large enough and densly packed enough with various neighborhoods of dozens of flavors that one has a hard time getting to really know more than a few.
Official Chinatown – tourist guide and Chamber of Commerce marker Chinatown – is east of Nob Hill, running downslope though the streets Grant, Pacific, Stockton, along Sacramento and into North Beach. It’s where famous sons and daughters of Chinese immigrants (Amy Tan, for instance) grew up. But subsequent immigrants had to land elsewhere as old Chinatown was too small and dense to absorb so many more who have come. Now along Clement Street in the Richmond district another Chinatown thrives, and I am certain its not alone either.
A friend of ours – son of Chinese immigrants, and a native of the City – drove us over to pick up dim sum and show us the shops, and give us pointers for navigating on our own. This Halloween, the last day of October, turned out to be another summer day here and it was perfect for getting out to a different neighborhood. It took us a few laps around to park – best to take Muni, unless you’re going to do a lot of shopping – we started out dim sum treasure hunt.
We started at Good Luck, which our friend considers the best – and their Zagat placard indicated he is not alone in that judgment. A small place, without any atmosphere, but the proprietors are serious about the food. We queued up – things went fast – looked at the pink paper menu and circled and put a quantity by what we wanted. The owners were Cantonese (come to think of it, dim sum is a Cantonese thing) and our friend speaks fluently, so we had no problems. Since everything is marked in English as well, I don’t think we’ll have any problems going back either – it will just mean trying different items and figuring out what we like best of the dozens of types of delicacies on the menu and the specials boards.
I’ll report later on the other places we visited…