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TRAVEL Oakland

neighbourhoods: CHINATOWN: rich tapestry, real art

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ou won’t ďŹ nd tourist-oriented knickknack shops or cute red lanterns lining the streets in Oakland’s Chinatown, one of the oldest in the United States. It came to be in the 1850s, when a wave of Chinese immigrants moved to the Bay area to work on Central PaciďŹ c Railroad. The population and diversity of the neighborhood grew in the 20th century after the destruction of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1906 earthquake, along with a major increase in immigration from China and Southeast Asia in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. The end of the Vietnam War brought thousands of refugees from the southeastern part of Asia. This is a working Chinatown, with its 16 blocks ďŹ lled with people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese ancestry busy with

life. That’s a big part of its appeal, along with the terriďŹ c public art and food that I’m still thinking about. “Oakland’s Chinatown doesn’t have all of the merchandise and trinket shops. It has a thriving culture and a rich tapestry of art. It’s real,â€? said 3AGE ,ORING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE $RAGON School, a non-proďŹ t association that has created an outdoor art gallery in Chinatown. Neighbourhood youth, with guidance from established grafďŹ ti artists and graphic designers, have created more than 100 dragons throughout Chinatown. They work with business owners to create the public murals and are now branching out to other colourful creations, such as the Chinese zodiac. “Robust public art is a visual cue that a city has a lot of entrepreneurial and artistic types. That is so Oakland,â€? Loring said. ! STROLL LOOKING AT THE $RAGON 3CHOOL ART will take you by some excellent restaurants,

including Tay Ho, a Vietnamese restaurant run BY CHEF $ENISE (UYNH AND HER MOTHER WHO hand make the steamed rice noodle rolls called banh cuon that the restaurant is known for. Filled with pork and mushrooms and topped with house-cured beef, sweet-potato fritters and a side of green-bean and shrimp-fried bread, they sell out fast and are worth the trip ALONE)COULDGOONANDON Tay Ho has a full bar and is verging on hipster - a bike hangs from the ceiling - yet it is still the type of place that people bring their grandma. .EARBY 3HAN $ONG IS KNOWN THROUGHOUT the Bay area for its handmade dumplings, and its noodles slathered in sesame paste or meat sauce. A couple hours in Oakland’s Chinatown makes you realize you really don’t need yet another fridge magnet saying you went somewhere.

food & beveragescene: TEMESCAL AVENUE/ TEMESCAL ALLEY: hunger games

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OAKLAND TOURISM PHOTO

emescal Avenue is a foodie’s delight. You’ll ďŹ nd everything from some of the Bay area’s best Italian food at Pizzaiolo to Ethiopian food at Abesha to a modern take on Indian street food at the Juhu Beach Club, run by former Top Chef CONTESTANT0REETI-ISTRY4HEFOOD46STAR AND CHEF !NTHONY "OURDAIN IS A FAN IS AS fantastic as the cheeky dĂŠcor — hot pink, with monkey wallpaper. Oakland has become a mecca for restaurateurs. In the past three years, more than 200 restaurants have opened in Oakland, ranging from chefs who got their start at the celebrated Chez Panisse in

adjacent Berkeley to pop-ups that became so popular, they stayed put. Many of them came to the Temescal area. The area has historically been home to Italian, Ethiopian, Eritrean and Korean communities, and there are an excellent variety of ethnic restaurants that can take you on a quick worldwide tasting tour. These changes have happened over the last decade or so, said B.J. Hanson, who runs Sacred Wheel, a cafĂŠ and cheese shop that is a must-stop for its sriracha-topped fried mac and cheese and tomato soup, made with a touch of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. “When I was growing up, you didn’t go to Oakland. It was a place you didn’t even drive through,â€? said the 46-year-old. Now it’s so popular that a lot of people working in Oakland can’t afford the rents. >

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