Chinatown is a predominantly Asian American neighborhood located in Center City, Philadelphia. The area has its roots from the mid-19th century when Cantonese immigrants began to open restaurants and laundries in the area, the very first of which was a laundry owned and run by Lee Fong on Race Street in 1871.
SEPTA’s Broad-Ridge Spur at 8th and Vine Streets is the location for the Chinatown rail station and only a block from Chinatown Friendship Gate is Market East Station. There is also the provision of a local bus service to the neighborhood provided by SEPTA.
The Shoe Museum at 810 Race Street displays a collection of over 500 varying types of shoe wear from around the world, including Eskimo snowshoes, European jester boots, and burial sandals. The collection also features shoes worn by a number of celebrities such as Jack Nicklaus the acclaimed golfer, Nancy Reagan – wife of the president, and Billie Jean King the tennis player.
Wok n’ Walk Culinary Culture Tour of Chinatown at 1010 Cherry Street is an experience whereby Chinatown’s ‘unofficial’ mayor – Joseph Poon – leads a tour around a variety of the Chinese businesses in the neighborhood. The tour takes place every weekend and also on some weekdays, and includes a visit to a temple, an Asian grocery store, a fortune cookie factory, a Chinese bakery, and also to see a calligraphy demonstration.
Space 1026 on the second floor at 1026 Arch Street offers an enlightening and enriching experience with respect to the modern arts and local artist’s work. There are varying art events held at Space 1026 throughout the year.
As you’d expect, the emphasis in Chinatown is on Asian-style eateries. Race Street and 10th Street have almost a dozen Hong Kong-style bakery cafes. Further, there are numerous other restaurants that feature Cantonese, Taiwanese, Sichuan, Fujianese, and Northern cuisines. But it’s not all about Chinese food. Chinatown also hosts a number of Japanese, Burmese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and Korean establishments. Among the best of those establishments are:
Reading Terminal Market at 12th & Filbert Streets which offers an eclectic range of Asian, Middle Eastern, and American cuisine. Rather than a single restaurant, Reading Terminal Market represents a diverse array of local eateries.
Sang Kee Peking Duck House at 238 North 9th Street serves Chinese food including a variety of vegetarian options. The restaurant provides lunches and dinners throughout the week and accepts cash payment only.
The rather appropriately named Banana Leaf at 1009 Arch Street focuses mainly on Malaysian food. Banana Leaf is open for business between the hours of 11.00am and 1.00am seven days each week.
Heung Fa Chun Sweet House at 112th North 10th Street will suit anyone who has a penchant for sweet desserts served up in the Asian style. Heung Fa Chun Sweet House is open from 7.30am until 7.30pm every day except for Wednesdays when it remains closed for business
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