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Just the facts
Main strip: 8th Street (near Webster)
Who dwells here: Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese
Main architecture: California bungalows built in the early 20th century
Neighborhood giant: Pacific Renaissance Plaza
Well-known residents: Amy Tan, Bruce Lee
Where to mingle with locals: Madison Park, Pacific Renaissance Plaza, Restaurant Peony
One of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States, Chinatown Oakland was settled in the 1850s, shortly after the gold rush. No longer just Chinese, this 16-block area is Pan Asian, with Koreans, Vietnamese and Japanese. Visitors will find foodie bliss in the hand-pulled Chinese noodles at Shan Dong; chew jow ho fun at Vien Huong; seasoned bahn mi at Cam Huong; and boba tea at Sweet Booth. Wares are displayed on the sidewalks or in the windows, from herbal teas, live seafood to porcelain and delicious shaomai at bakeries. What you won’t find in this Chinatown are ticky-tacky camera and T-shirt kiosks. This is the real deal. Look out for the expressive murals from block to block, including the Chinese Zodiac dragon on 10th and Jackson.
The inside inside scoop
The Fortune Cookie Factory is inside a storefront on a quiet strip of 12th Street. The proprietors offer tours of the factory for just $1, so there’s no excuses for missing this deal.
If you have only three hours
Check out the schedule at Oakland Asian Cultural Center for workshops, cultural performances, classes and exhibitions. Cooking classes are also offered for many different cuisines like Filipino and Hawaiian.
Stop by Madison Square Park early in the morning to see much of the community hitting the greenery to practice Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
Steps away from the heart of Chinatown is the 300,000-square-foot Oakland Museum of California (OCMA), which hosts a crazy fun Friday night with food trucks and street mingling. Offbeat exhibits are balanced with interesting California history.
Hungry for more? Sign up for the Savor Oakland Chinatown cultural food tour for a guided taste of some of the best eats in the area.
How to get here
Freeway exit: From San Francisco, take 1-80 E to 1-980 W (Jackson Street exit); from the South Bay, take 1-880 N (Oak Street exit); from Berkeley, take 1-80 W to 1-580 E, taking 1-980 W to 5th Street (exit at Jackson Street)
BART stop: Lake Merritt BART Station
Bus lines: 1, 1R, 11, 12, 14 (more can be found at actransit.org)
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Serving pho noodle soups, banh mi sandwiches, and Vietnamese coffee.
Serving authentic Cambodian food during lunch and dinner. Vegetarian options available.
Known for their great tasting rice clay pots at a great price.
Binh Minh Quan's goal is still to serve the most authentic Vietnamese food possible and to...
Serving Indian/Pakistani food. Customers love their lunch specials of naan, rice, salad,...
Popular for its Vietnamese sandwiches, baked pork buns, and other baked goods.
Affordable Chinese food. The fried chicken is a huge hit with customers.
Site of early morning Tai Chi Chuan and other exercise programs.
Selling traditional Chinese furniture.
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Strictly vegetarian, Golden Lotus offers a menu of soup, noodles, rice plates, clay pots,...
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This favorite Chinatown restaurant specializes in interesting and tasty dim sum creations....
Well known for their jook (congee), Gum Kuo Restaurant also serves wonton noodles,...
Popular for its wonton noodle soups and barbequed duck.
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Pastries galore. Delicious birthday cakes, egg tarts, and more.
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Chinese pastries galore. Their sponge cakes and "wife cakes" are a hit here.
Serving a wide variety of Chinese vegan dishes. Nature Vegetarian cooks with no MSG and...
Good place for late night Chinese food. Open until 2am.
Located in Chinatown's Pacific Renaissance Plaza, this organization is one of the largest...
The Edward W. Chin Auditorium is a space that has dark wood paneling and contemporary...
Peony Seafood Restaurant brings the Bay Area a taste of Hong Kong's finest Chinese...
Authentic Vietnamese dishes. Customers rave about the pho.
A variety of Chinese pastries all at a great price. Customers love the egg tarts and...
Serving Hong Kong style cafe meals. Their baked pork chops are a customer favorite.
A fun and casual karaoke venue with private rooms available for parties and gatherings.
Popular for their noodles and dumplings cooked Mandarin style.
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Featuring Tonkotsu 'pork bone' - Made from boiling pork bones, fat and collagen for 24...
Serving Szechuan style dishes. Pay Spices 3 a visit if you like spicy food. Popular items...
Selling dim sum and pastries. The dumplings and steamed BBQ pork buns are a crowd...
Sun Hing Restaurant's barbequed meat plates and their lunch specials are a hit with...
Good dim sum for a great deal.
Good for takeout dim sum and popular for its BBQ pork buns.
Featuring regional Vietnamese dishes such as Bun Cha Hanoi (Hanoi Trio of Pork), Hanoi...
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Chinese bakery serving up delicious egg tarts, BBQ pork buns and more.
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Serving fried rice, chow fun, chow mein, BBQ meats and more.