Chinatown

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  • Sweet score in Chinatown.
    Sweet score in Chinatown.
  • Sai Woo Sour cocktail
    Sai Woo Sour cocktail
  • Kissa Tanto Tortellini
    Kissa Tanto Tortellini
  • july 2010 214
    july 2010 214
  • The Keefer Bar
    The Keefer Bar
  • Keefer alley between Columbia and Main, Chinatown
    Keefer alley between Columbia and Main, Chinatown
  • Propaganda Coffee on East Pender
    Propaganda Coffee on East Pender

Chinatown, a commercial (and increasingly residential) neighbourhood within the Downtown Eastside, has been one of Vancouver’s most vibrant areas since the City’s beginnings. It got its start as a ghetto on the edge of the Granville Townsite in the late 1880s when scores of Chinese immigrants arrived to work BC’s mines and build its railroads. Despite the institutional racism of the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act and the anti-animated neon signage laws of 1974, it has endured with outside forces doing little to curb its vibrancy. Today it is home to an eclectic mix of traditional and trendy eateries, markets, gardens, temples, and a wide assortment of businesses ranging from tea shops and apothecaries to art galleries and vintage stores. Its future is uncertain, however, as developers are cashing in on its cool cachet and consequently – dramatically – impacting the neighbourhood’s affordability while also eroding its unique character. How much more of this it can take remains to be seen, but the tipping point between its survival and its end feels closer than ever. Chinatown’s borders are debatable, but they can be squared roughly by Abbott St. in the west, Gore Ave. in the east, E. Pender St. in the north and E. Georgia St. in the south.

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the-colour-palette

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Blue/Orange facades of Ho Sun Hing Printers & Fresh Egg Mart on East Georgia; the leafiness of Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Gardens; ugly blue LED streetlights; Erin Templeton shop facade; cheese sauce at Bestie; Mamie Taylor’s green walls; Matchstick Coffee’ house “Catalogue” blend; yellow window shutters above Fat Mao; orange awning above New Town Bakery; omnipresent decorative red and gold; freshly horked old man loogie; marinated eggplant with soy, garlic, and ginger at Bao Bei; stinky summer fish gut puddle; the best table in the house (#43) at Kissa Tanto; green signage at Kent’s Kitchen; dead alleyway pigeon tri-colour; dried tokay gecko on a stick.

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DEAD LIZARDS FOR YOUR PENIS*
$8.99 (AND CHEAPER) HAIRCUTS
EXCELLENT PARADES WITH BAGPIPES, DRAGONS, & SIKHS ON MOTORCYCLES
THE RENNIE COLLECTION AT WING SANG
THE OFTEN BIZARRE ASSORTMENT OF VINTAGE AT SPACE LAB
THE OCCASIONAL RAT
PRESENTS FOR YOUR MOM
GAMES OF POOL AT THE LONDON PUB
THE VIEW FROM THE TOP OF THE KEEFER PARKADE
AN UNSUSTAINABLE AMOUNT OF MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES
AMAZING JAPANESE KNIVES AT AI & OM
OUT OF THE ORDINARY BLIM WORKSHOPS
SWEET VINTAGE AT DUCHESSE
TERRIFYING GUTTER PUDDLES
THE NICE GUYS AT THE SHOP
THE PLAZA SKATEPARK
SUPPLIES FOR LIQUOR LOVERS
A WHOLE LOTTA PIGEONS
LEATHER BAGS AT ERIN TEMPLETON
* the dried lizards (tokay geckos) are a traditional Chinese medicine for impotence, tuberculosis, and asthma.

what-to-eat-and-drink

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MARINATED EGGPLANT (OR PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING) AT BAO BEI
APOTHECARY COCKTAILS AT THE KEEFER BAR
HOT & SOUR PORK NOODLES AT FAT MAO
“RED” RAMEN FROM THE RAMEN BUTCHER
THE FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICHES AT JUKE
LATE NIGHT FRIED RICE AT GAIN WAH
ICE CREAM SANDWICHES FROM SCENT OF A SANDWICH
BBQ DUCK AT MONEY FOODS
GIN & TONICS AT JUNIPER
GOOD AEROPRESS COFFEE & CONVERSATION AT AUBADE
HAM & MUSTARD GALETTES AT MATCHSTICK
SWEET & SOUR PORK FROM SAI WOO
PERFECT PASTA AT PAZZO CHOW
CHICKEN WINGS & GARLIC PRAWNS AT PHNOM PENH
HAM GRENADES AT MAMIE TAYLOR’S
AVOCADO TOAST AT ROOST
EXCELLENT BEANS AND SPACE TO BREATHE AT PROPAGANDA COFFEE
PORK BUNS AT NEW TOWN BAKERY
SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM FROM PRIME TIME CHICKEN
TORTELLINI & SINGAPORE SLINGS AT KISSA TANTO
PORK THURINGER CURRYWURST AT BESTIE

cool-things-of-note

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– The oldest standing structure in Chinatown is the Wing Sang Building on Pender, built in 1889 by Chinatown pioneer Yip Sang.

– Market Alley, spanning from Main Street and Carrall between Hastings and Pender, was a turn-of-the-century hotspot for opium production, gambling, and after-hours debauchery.

– Dr. Sun Yet-Sen Classical Chinese Garden was the first of its kind to be constructed outside of China.

– Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in Canada and one of the largest in North America.

– Note so cool: a city ordinance was passed in 1937 that prohibited Chinese-owned restaurants from employing white women. In 1939, city council amended the law to permit white waitresses in Chinatown restaurants that served “English meals to English customers”.

the-things-weve-seen

  • The Talent | Chinatown Night Market
    The Talent | Chinatown Night Market
  • IMG_1908
  • Chicken sandwiches with grainy mustard mayo, slaw, BBQ sauce | Juke
    Chicken sandwiches with grainy mustard mayo, slaw, BBQ sauce | Juke
  • Parkade view
    Parkade view
  • Chinese New Years
    Chinese New Years
  • Chinatown
    Chinatown
  • A Soggy Chinese New Year Parade
    A Soggy Chinese New Year Parade
  • Bestie | Chinatown
    Bestie | Chinatown
  • Snow Day in Chinatown
    Snow Day in Chinatown
  • Dumpling Eating Contest at the Chinatown Night Market
    Dumpling Eating Contest at the Chinatown Night Market
  • Chinatown Paste-up
    Chinatown Paste-up
  • Ken Tsui | Chinatown Night Market Wrangler
    Ken Tsui | Chinatown Night Market Wrangler
  • Favourite Rooftop Parkade
    Favourite Rooftop Parkade
  • Chinatown
    Chinatown
  • The Keefer
    The Keefer
  • Dollar Meats | Chinatown
    Dollar Meats | Chinatown
  • Anna & Anna - Duchesse Vintage and Such
    Anna & Anna - Duchesse Vintage and Such
  • Fat Mao
    Fat Mao
  • After the fire on East Pender St.
    After the fire on East Pender St.
  • IMG_2936
  • Simon and Ron At Mamie Taylor's
    Simon and Ron At Mamie Taylor's
  • Meatballs at Mamie Taylor's
    Meatballs at Mamie Taylor's
  • Butcher Shop
    Butcher Shop
  • IMG_3437
  • Snow Day in Chinatown
    Snow Day in Chinatown
  • The Classic at The Ramen Butcher
    The Classic at The Ramen Butcher
  • propaganda
    propaganda
  • Kissa Tanto
    Kissa Tanto
  • The Ramen Butcher on opening day
    The Ramen Butcher on opening day
  • Fried chicken skin with sour cream and onion mousse | Juke
    Fried chicken skin with sour cream and onion mousse | Juke
  • Chinatown paste-up
    Chinatown paste-up
  • Chinatown Doorway
    Chinatown Doorway
  • BBQ Window Chinatown
    BBQ Window Chinatown
  • Rooftop Parkade
    Rooftop Parkade
  • Night Market Vendors and their unbridled enthusiasm
    Night Market Vendors and their unbridled enthusiasm
  • Chinatown
    Chinatown
  • Kents Kitchen | Chinatown
    Kents Kitchen | Chinatown
  • Chinatown Fancy Lady
    Chinatown Fancy Lady
  • Chinatown Sky
    Chinatown Sky
  • Maya Sciarretta | Pazzo Chow
    Maya Sciarretta | Pazzo Chow
  • BBQ Duck window | Chinatown
    BBQ Duck window | Chinatown
  • On The Bus in Chinatown
    On The Bus in Chinatown
  • Bartender Of The Year | The Keefer
    Bartender Of The Year | The Keefer
  • The Pie Shop
    The Pie Shop
  • Chinatown Street Scene
    Chinatown Street Scene
  • Fried Fish | Chinatown
    Fried Fish | Chinatown
  • Matchstick Coffee Roasters | Chinatown
    Matchstick Coffee Roasters | Chinatown
  • Cocktailery | Juke
    Cocktailery | Juke
  • Bestie | Chinatown
    Bestie | Chinatown
  • Chinatown Street Scene
    Chinatown Street Scene
  • Food Ho Ho | Chinatown
    Food Ho Ho | Chinatown
  • On Columbia Street
    On Columbia Street
  • At The Keefer
    At The Keefer
  • Kissa Tanto | Peacock Baby (junmai sake, cucumber, maraschino liquer, pastis, lime, egg white)
    Kissa Tanto | Peacock Baby (junmai sake, cucumber, maraschino liquer, pastis, lime, egg white)
  • Alley in Sunlight | Chinatown
    Alley in Sunlight | Chinatown
  • Looking across Chinatown to North Shore Mountains
    Looking across Chinatown to North Shore Mountains
  • Chinatown
    Chinatown
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  • Red Light on Pender | Chinatown
    Red Light on Pender | Chinatown
  • Snow in Chinatown
    Snow in Chinatown
  • Jack Chow Insurance Rainbow | Chinatown
    Jack Chow Insurance Rainbow | Chinatown
  • Plump Crows In Chinatown
    Plump Crows In Chinatown
  • IMG_2874
  • A cupping at Matchstick
    A cupping at Matchstick
  • End of the day | Chinatown
    End of the day | Chinatown
  • IMG_5417
  • IMG_4860
  • The bar | Juke
    The bar | Juke
  • Alleyway shadows | Chinatown
    Alleyway shadows | Chinatown
  • Kissa Tanto creme caramel with rhubarb
    Kissa Tanto creme caramel with rhubarb
  • A Crowd Gathers To Watch A Slide Show At The Chinatown Night Market
    A Crowd Gathers To Watch A Slide Show At The Chinatown Night Market
  • Clean Quiet Rooms | Chinatown
    Clean Quiet Rooms | Chinatown
  • Kissa Tanto
    Kissa Tanto
  • Chinatown Night Market
    Chinatown Night Market
  • Ni Hao
    Ni Hao
  • IMG_4380
  • New Sun Ah Hotel
    New Sun Ah Hotel
  • IMG_3458
  • Smoke Break in Chinatown
    Smoke Break in Chinatown
  • Ken Tsui at Chinatown Night Market
    Ken Tsui at Chinatown Night Market
  • Bestie - Packed to the rafters with sausage lovers
    Bestie - Packed to the rafters with sausage lovers
  • Kissa Tanto
    Kissa Tanto
  • Chinatown
    Chinatown
  • Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens | Chinatown
    Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens | Chinatown
  • View of the Night Market
    View of the Night Market
  • The Emerald | Chinatown
    The Emerald | Chinatown
  • Single yellow lantern in Chinatown
    Single yellow lantern in Chinatown
  • Chinatown Night Market
    Chinatown Night Market
  • Georgia Street
    Georgia Street
  • Mamie Taylor's under construction
    Mamie Taylor's under construction
  • Jimi Hendrix Shrine, Union Street
    Jimi Hendrix Shrine, Union Street
  • The burger at Mamie Taylor's
    The burger at Mamie Taylor's
  • Summer Night Market | Chinatown
    Summer Night Market | Chinatown
  • IMG_4797
  • Matchstick Chinatown location under construction
    Matchstick Chinatown location under construction
  • Chinatown delivery time
    Chinatown delivery time
  • IMG_0599
  • Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens
    Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens
  • Chinatown Night Market
    Chinatown Night Market
  • IMG_5593
  • The Keefer
    The Keefer
  • IMG_1157
  • Potato Tornado at the night market
    Potato Tornado at the night market
  • Chinese New Year
    Chinese New Year
  • View of the night market from inside the Tin Can Studio
    View of the night market from inside the Tin Can Studio
  • Ron and Simon of Mamie Taylor's
    Ron and Simon of Mamie Taylor's
  • IMG_7887
  • Bestie | Pender Street, Chinatown
    Bestie | Pender Street, Chinatown
  • Rhek makes dumplings | Chinatown
    Rhek makes dumplings | Chinatown
  • Chinatown moment
    Chinatown moment
  • Fat Mao
    Fat Mao
  • IMG_3358
  • beautiful cuts at Mamie Taylor's
    beautiful cuts at Mamie Taylor's
  • IMG_5876
  • Chinese New Year
    Chinese New Year
  • In the kitchen at Bao Bei
    In the kitchen at Bao Bei
  • Phnom Penh Lunch
    Phnom Penh Lunch
  • The Mayor Of Awesomeness of Foursquare
    The Mayor Of Awesomeness of Foursquare
  • Cupping at Matchstick
    Cupping at Matchstick
  • Bao Bei
    Bao Bei
  • IMG_3551_2
  • Chinatown Night Market
    Chinatown Night Market
  • Waiting for the bus in Chinatown
    Waiting for the bus in Chinatown
  • Bao Bei Feast
    Bao Bei Feast
  • Fresh Egg Mart | Chinatown
    Fresh Egg Mart | Chinatown
  • Chinatown Colour Study
    Chinatown Colour Study
  • Chinatown Night Market dumpling competition
    Chinatown Night Market dumpling competition
  • The Shop Vancouver | Under Construction
    The Shop Vancouver | Under Construction
  • Cold day in Chinatown
    Cold day in Chinatown
  • IMG_3360
  • Jimi Hendrix shrine
    Jimi Hendrix shrine
  • Foggy Night in Chinatown
    Foggy Night in Chinatown
  • IMG_4771
  • Fat Mao on East Georgia St.
    Fat Mao on East Georgia St.
  • Staff Meal at Bao Bei
    Staff Meal at Bao Bei
  • Chinatown
    Chinatown
  • Bao Bei feast
    Bao Bei feast
  • Chinatown goodies
    Chinatown goodies
  • The Emerald detail
    The Emerald detail
  • Chinatown Rooftops
    Chinatown Rooftops
  • Foggy morning on Gore
    Foggy morning on Gore
  • Duchesse Vintage and Such
    Duchesse Vintage and Such
  • Chinatown lizards
    Chinatown lizards
  • Chinatown
    Chinatown
  • Pender Street | Chinatown
    Pender Street | Chinatown
  • Bar-Ate Kid Bartending Competition
    Bar-Ate Kid Bartending Competition
  • Propaganda Coffee on East Pender
    Propaganda Coffee on East Pender
  • Sometimes the crowds in Chinatown can make one a little grumpy
    Sometimes the crowds in Chinatown can make one a little grumpy

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