April 05, 2012

ChinaTown DC

A few weeks ago I took the train up to DC to see some friends. Pulpjunkie and I hit the zoo, went museum-hopping, saw friends and, on two of the days we were there we ate in Chinatown. I only took a few pics of Chinatown, not realizing that its days might be numbered.

Now with Marion Barry's new idea involving... well I'll let him tell it...

"We've got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses -- those dirty shops," Barry said Tuesday night. "They ought to go. I'll just say that right now, you know. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too." 

Anyway, it looks like a good time to post those pics.

DC has two Chinatowns....official Chinatown and Actual Chinatown. You see, some years ago DC noticed that it HAD a Chinatown and it was shrinking, so they passed a bunch of strict ordinances to maintain the asian aesthetic, sponsored a big sports and entertainment center ( Now the Verizon Center) which made it a happening place. The appearance ordinances were a burden on small businesses, the influx of capital around the new entertainment complex raised rents and the small businesses run by Chinese-Americans had to leave. Note that those ordinances are still in place so Official Chinatown is now...this...

So...No Right Whale steaks? Is that what you're sayin'?

Nearby is the Chinatown Gate, a gift from the PRC. It is fortuitously placed, because if you are coming from the interstate it is the entrance to Official Chinatown. If you are walking out of Official Chinatown it's very nearly the entrance to Actual Chinatown.

Aside from a few justifiably expensive restaurants Chinatown proper begins about half a block down.

We dined at the Chinatown Express, near the corner of 6th and H. It had two things visible that tend to bode well. WindowDucks* and a gentleman hand making noodles.

We noted upon entering that they had WindowPigs and WindowCuttlefish too. This looked exceedingly promising and we were not disappointed. About the only issue we encountered was that we both ordered rather too much...and ate rather too much...but this is not a reflection upon the establishment. The food was top notch! Even the fried rice was better than average. The noodle dishes were astounding.

In any event DC's ChinaTowns are only about two blocks square each. In Actual Chinatown there is a lot more to see, there are groceries, gift shops little drugstores and basically anything that isn't a gas station. Regrettably,we did not stay long nor peruse widely as our main business was elsewhere.

*Windowducks are utterly distinct from Wonderducks and the two should NEVER be conflated.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 04:31 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 451 words, total size 5 kb.

1 Legal Sea Foods is a chain. It's a weird name, and I have no idea why they chose it, but the food is actually quite good. 

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thu Apr 5 17:07:58 2012 (+rSRq)

2 Indeed...but just about everything in Official Chinatown DC is a chain...with either Kanji or simplified Chinese on their signs.

I don't quite grok the strategy behind their name either.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Thu Apr 5 17:40:15 2012 (EJaOX)

3 How'd you manage to foul up your site formatting with this post? Looks like the CSS has stopped working.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thu Apr 5 17:53:27 2012 (+rSRq)

4 I dunno...
It seems to have been an image insert glitch.
I deleted and reposted the text and images of the whole post...that seems to have fixed it.


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Thu Apr 5 18:11:45 2012 (EJaOX)

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