Bustling Stockton Street teems with both familiar and foreign-to-western-eyes fresh
this street are traditional herb shops
selling dried plants and animal parts,
for use in prescriptions written by
traditional Chinese healers. Still other
stores sell ceremonial “money” and
paper goods to be burnt as offerings
to ancestors. Even DVD players and
washing machines made out of paper
are sold for burning purposes, as no
one knows for sure what's needed in
the afterlife. Stockton St. (between
Sacramento St. & Broadway).
9 Chinese Historical Society.
Founded in 1963 to record and dis-
seminate information about the his-
tory and contributions of America's
Chinese immigrants, the society
displays documents, photographs,
and artifacts such as clothing from
the earliest immigrants, traditional
herbs, and the original Chinatown
telephone book. 965 Clay St.
(between Stockton & Powell sts.).
y 415/391-1188. Tues-Fri 11am-
4pm; Sat-Sun noon-4pm. Admission
$3, $2 college students & seniors,
$1 kids 6-17.
0 Bank of Canton. Dating from
1909, this colorful pagoda-like struc-
ture is the oldest Asian-style edifice
in Chinatown. Until 1945 it housed
the China Telephone Exchange,
which was famous for its operators
who were fluent in numerous Chi-
nese dialects and English, and who
knew (by heart!) the phone number
of virtually every Chinatown resi-
dent. 743 Washington St. (between
Grant Ave. & Kearny St.).
! Portsmouth Square. Captain
John B. Montgomery of the USS
Portsmouth raised a flag here in
1846 to declare San Francisco part
of the United States. A year later,
California's first public school was
opened on the plaza, and just a year
after that Sam Brannan announced
the discovery of gold in the state.
Today the square is an important
communal center for Chinatown
residents, who practice tai chi,
gamble over cards, or bring children
to frolic here. Next to Kearny St.,
between Washington & Clay sts.
@ R&G Lounge. Is your stomach
growling for an authentic Cantonese
meal but you're overwhelmed by
so many choices on each block?
Why not try this local favorite?
(See p 112 for full review). 631 Kearny
St. (at Commercial St.). y 415/982-