Anise and I went to the San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival in Chinatown for the year of the water dragon (sponsored by Southwest Airlines), which went from January 14 to February 19. Unfortunately, we missed most of the street fair performances but had some amazing food, and the the parade was fantastic. My thought is also that we can always see the street performances next year now that we know more about the event and where everything is.

First, we went to the Great Eastern Restaurant for a lunch of delicious dim sum. Before you ask, yes, I took my allergy pills first. Further details will have to wait for another blog post. Thankfully after lunch we still had time to visit the farmers market at the Ferry Building Marketplace. We walked back to Chinatown and went to the wrong section but found some really neat shops. I even got two pairs of neat shiny metal chopsticks; yea for being dishwasher-safe! I also found a new love for coconut juice with pulp. It’s scrumptious and full of nutrients and electrolytes.

After walking around for a while, we found ourselves hungry again but didn’t want to sit down to eat at a restaurant. We wanted something we could eat on the go, something to snack on, so we went on a search for more dim sum! That way we’d have more time to find the perfect spot at the courtyard/park by the Chinese Cultural Center on Kearny Street, or at least that was the goal. We stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall place, called Grant Palace Restaurant, on Washington Street. They had huge eye-catching menus plastered to the windows with quite an impressive selection of dim sum. We got huge pot stickers that were two to three times the size of regular ones, almost the size of my fist! chinatown gateThe little BBQ pork steamed buns were tasty and cute. It was perfect.

We got back to the park with lots of time to spare, but apparently that was the place to see the parade if you didn’t want to pay for a $30 seat on cold aluminum bleachers, or so everyone and their children thought. The spot kind of made me feel claustrophobic, we couldn’t see very well (remember I’m short) and standing in place on concrete even in good shoes was rather foot-pain inducing, therefore we decided to take a walk up the parade route. I’m glad we did. We got to see and experience so much more. The walk was good, less pain inducing and helped us work off all of the dim sum we ate that day. (So much dim sum!) Some of the time we actually got really close to the floats and parade SF Chinatowngroups. It was great to see all of the costumes, displays, martial arts katas, dance routines, school bands, community groups and adorable children. Those kids did such a great job and were real troupers for performing non-stop for three hours. Amazing!

We will definitely have to go back to explore more of the trade and import shops. 😉 I know there was a ton of stuff we missed as we tried to wade through the crowds of people and navigate the unfamiliar streets. There are so many more Chinese restaurants to try out! We want to visit the fortune cookie factory; that line wrapped around into the alleyway. I also want get more pictures of the architecture.