Within the broad borders of the metropolis of Chicago, there is a tight knit community of Chinese Americans who live together in their version of homeland China: Chinatown.
“There are many things to do in Chinatown that relate to our culture so well, “said Rui Ma, a hostess of Lao Sze Chuan, a popular Cantonese restaurant.
In Chinatown, there are locations, architecture and artistic elements that are unique to the place many Chinese Americans call home.
The neighborhood is located within the boundaries of the Chicago River to the north, 26th Street to the south, Clark Street to the east, and Halsted Avenue to the west. It also has a population of approximately 7,254 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
There are approximately 60 restaurants located in Chinatown, two schools, a public library, along with multiple specialty shops and community centers.
When you reach Chinatown, a red gate welcomes you.
In the many shops that fill the streets of the oriental community, many different pieces of handcrafted arts are sold such as vases, statuettes of Bruce Lee, Buddha figurines and much more.
Chinatown also houses many restaurants within its gates; some have even won multiple awards in the years, such as the “Best of Chicago” culinary award and many others.
“We come here to enjoy the food,” Peter Dang said, a Vietnamese visitor from around the Chinatown area.
The restaurants serve authentic Chinese cuisine, much different than the American-ized versions of Chinese counterparts that we eat on a constant basis.
The bustling neighborhood also houses its own “City Hall” known as the Pui Tak Center.
Built in 1927 as the On Leong Merchants Association Building, it has been renovated into a local hall, providing various Chinese Americans to obtain literacy training or immigration to the United States.
There are also many different pieces of art in Chinatown, such as the Nine Dragon Wall.
“When most people think of China,” said Rahsaan Liddell, a docent for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. “They think about Dragons.”
Chinatown retains its state as one of the most popular, and most unique centers of culture for the Chinese community and tourists alike.
“In Chinatown Chicago, everyone is friendly,” Ma said. “Everyone gets along together.”