LA Chinatown: When East Meets West

The Los Angeles metropolitan area has the largest number of Asian Americans compared to other cities. Among the Asian Americans, Chinese population is the largest detailed Asian group. If you are curious about Chinese culture and interested in authentic Chinese food, you are reading the right article. Hop on board and Enjoy this one-day oriental journey.

Chinese Style Brunch – Dim Sum

10:00 am – 11:30 am

Dim sum is a Cantonese style breakfast or brunch for people in southern China. Dim sum is usually prepared in small plates or little bamboo/stainless steel steamers. In China, the dim sum cart is not very common now. People usually write down what they want on a piece of dim sum paper and get their orders. The New Capital Seafood Restaurant (old name: Five Star Seafood Restaurant) is still using dim sum carts to deliver food to their customers. The dim sum cart reminded me the happy dim sum time with my family when I was a child. For people who cannot decide what to eat, seeing the food directly can help them make the decisions easier. For me, I always ordered too much because everything looks so yummy!

New Capital Seafood Restaurant has good food with decent price. There are always crowds during the weekend. Come early if you don’t want to wait in line for hours.




99 Ranch

11:30 pm – 12:30 pm

After having delicious dim sum, you may walk around the San Gabriel Plaza. There are different types of Chinese cuisines here, such as dim sum, spicy food, vegetarian etc. Maybe you can start planning what you want to eat next time! There is also a grocery store called 99 Ranch focused on selling authentic Chinese snacks and food. In 99 Ranch, you can buy live seafood. How cool is that! You can also explore some interesting fruits and vegetables that only Chinese eats!




Boba, Boba, Boba

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm

It is hardly to deny how much Asians love boba tea. Many Asian style cafes in Los Angeles have boba tea. But if you are talking about the most authentic and popular boba tea in Los Angeles, I would nominate Half & Half Tea House, hands down. A small tea house, but always attracts a lot of people. Be prepared to get into the line when you come here! Besides boba tea, it also has various kinds of coffee drinks, hot tea, etc. Its top two signature drinks are “iced milk drink with pudding & honey boba” and “milk tea with pudding & honey boba”. Both of them are so good! By the way, even if you order a small drink, you will be amazed by how large its “small” is.




Relax Under the Sun

2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

After having some good food and drink, you might want to get some fresh air and relax a bit to get rid of the fatigue accumulated from your work and study. Elysian Park is a beautiful oasis located in downtown Los Angeles. Lay on the grass and take a deep breath. Read a book or have a picnic with your friends here. Enjoy a moment of tranquility in the heart of the city.



Angel’s point of Elysian Park



View of downtown LA from Elysian Park


With a modest walk, you can enjoy an awesome view of Los Angeles.



View of Los Angeles


If you are lucky enough, you will find a secret swing along the hike.

Hidden swing at Elysian Park

Photo credit to Waiyan Chan


Hidden Swing at Elysian Park


The Original Chinatown

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

When you see the golden dragon gate, you have arrived the original Chinatown in Los Angeles. The Chinatown used to be the center of the Chinese community. Since more and more new Chinese immigrants moved to LA, they have developed a new Chinese community on the east and southeast sides of the city. Now many Chinese are living and hanging out in San Gabriel, Monterey Park, Irvine, etc. The restaurants and stores in these areas are more similar to those in China today. But for people who are interested in traditional Chinese culture, you can easily spot oriental elements and traditional Chinese architecture here in the original Chinatown.






You will see something very typical Chinese here; for instance, Chinese farmers’ market along the street. With low prices, you can get fresh fruits and vegetables. There is a live poultry market, where you can purchase fresh chicken and ducks. There is a Saigon Plaza, which is very similar to the night market in China. It gets more crowded when the night comes. Every store is stuffed with all kinds of products. You can buy anything you want here, Qipao, pajamas, T-shirts, little decorations…



ONEDAY-LA-Chinatown-10  ONEDAY-LA-Chinatown-07



Late Night Sweet Tooth

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm (or later)

Phoenix Inn is my go to place when I am craving for Chinese food without driving to San Gabriel, especially when I have a sweet tooth at night. It opens till 1:00am every day! It offers a wide selection of Chinese desserts. Mango rolls and egg tarts are my favorite. Phoenix Inn has been around in the Chinatown since 1960s. For many Chinese who were born in Los Angeles, Phoenix Inn is part of their childhood memory. Next time, when you have a late night sweet tooth, how about giving it a try with some authentic Chinese desserts?







Until next time!

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  • Reply
    December 10, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Great Post! Very informative, will def try the food!

    • Reply
      December 10, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      Thank you Jason! Hope you enjoy our other posts too!

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