Philly Love Note: Chinatown

 

Favorite spot: Chinatown

I am:  A college senior who is in love with travel and learning about different cultures.

Years in Philly: 4

Neighborhood: Center City

Current Home: North Philadelphia

Dear Philly,

The first time I tried going to Chinatown was a complete and utter failure. I took the wrong subway and found myself asking for directions on how to find the subway that would take me to the Chinatown stop. I later learned that I could have taken the Broad Street Line to the Race-Vine stop and walked a few blocks to find the neighborhood.

Even though my first attempt to visit this neighborhood was unsuccessful, I still seem to be head over heels for it. There is something about the buildings, variety of food venues, and mom-and-pop shops that bring me back to this place. I always manage to find something completely different each time I visit.

I love the different aspects of the neighborhood that make it different from the rest of Philadelphia, starting with the China Gate. Located on 10th and Arch Streets, it declares the entrance into Chinatown and makes me feel as though I’ve taken a subway ride into a different country. Even the street signs and sidewalks sport a different look — the street signs are red and are written in Chinese and the sidewalks are decorated with Chinese zodiac symbols. Different streets also have Buddhist temples resembling those in many Asian countries.

Something else I love are the numerous mom-and-pop shops located all around the neighborhood. These offer different items, from imported snacks to household furniture. Many people think Chinatown only houses the Chinese culture but this is definitely not true. The neighborhood is home to residents of other cultures, including those from Canton, Myanmar (Burma), Japan, and Korea. All of these cultures have delicious cuisine and they are all brought together into one neighborhood.

One of my favorite places to eat is at a Burmese restaurant called Rangoon, located on 9th Street, between Arch and Cherry Streets. A place I also enjoy visiting after grabbing some food is Tea Dó, a contemporary tea house that sells bubble tea, appetizers, desserts, salads, etc. Located on 10th and Cherry Streets, Tea Dó is a fun hang out spot where you can relax and play board games with friends.

Because of the cuisine, shops, and structures that make it different from other parts of the city, Chinatown will always be my favorite neighborhood in Philadelphia.