Sunday, August 2, 2009

nob hill / china town

Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill.

When I first moved to San Francisco, I spent loads of time in Chinatown— not touristy Grant Street, but Stockton and its side streets. I bought my produce from the crowded little markets, had to defend my spot in line for coconut rolls at the AA Bakery on Stockton, and picked up drippy reddish ducks hanging in the window of restaurants. I forget the name of the place I used to get the ducks from, but the guy with the cleaver would always say a bunch of stuff to me in Cantonese, and I'd just smile with that "I don't understand" look and he'd laugh. I loved the madness of Chinatown— I learned how to glide through the crowds without colliding into people (which is a feat, let me tell you) and I knew which side of the street had the barrels of dried sea creatures whose smells I wanted to avoid. While most people only explore Grant, I recommend taking a little detour through Stockton if not only to see the extreme contrast between the two. Stockton is grittier and busier, and is worth trekking up to get a coconut roll at AA Bakery, which is between Jackson and Washington. Talking about these rolls is making me think I'll need to stop by tomorrow morning...

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