In every major city there seems to be an area known as Chinatown. In Sydney, Chinatown was one of my favorite places to eat Yum Cha (also known as Dim Sum) and to stock up on cheap, delicious Asian groceries. Here in Seattle, Chinatown is part of the “International District”, which incorporates a number of cultures represented in the greater Seattle area. In Honolulu, Chinatown is a tourist destination in itself and worth a visit next time you visit the Islands. Chinatown in Honolulu happens to be the oldest Chinatown in the United States.
Chinatown is the epicenter of Asian culture in Hawaii, and boasts a wide variety of commendable, well priced eateries, including a number of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. Also in Chinatown, you will also find a selection of Filipino, Korean, Japanese and Indian restaurants. Other things to check out include farmers’ markets, gift shops, lei stands and art galleries.
If you want to get the most out of your Chinatown experience, I have a few recommendations to keep in mind:
1. Go early – everything happens in the morning, and you will be spoiled with the selection of produce available, including locally grown fruits and vegetables, Pacific fish, and freshly made noodles
2. Wear comfortable shoes – the Chinatown district area spans over quite a few blocks and there is a lot of ground to cover if you want to see it all
3. Avoid dressing like a tourist – leave your camera etc at the hotel (if you can) – and avoid bright aloha shirts and shorts – because this is such a local area, you will stand out and, I hate to say it, may be an easy target for theft.
To add to my last point – it is a little scary walking around Chinatown but it is totally safe – just don’t go late at night if you can avoid it. Plenty more to see during the day anyway!
For more information about Chinatown you can visit the official website.