Chinatown Los Angeles is Full of Surprises!
According to Time Out Los Angeles, the original Chinatown sprang up in the 1850’s in and around Alameda Street. In June of 1938 Central Plaza (look at pictures) was opened to the public. All these years later it remains a focal point, even with a statue of Bruce Lee in the middle of it all, next to excellent Jazz Club. One of the best in the city. Th Plaza feels inauthentic, a genuine Chinese-American amalgam of anything but real Chinese culture and heritage. It is more like what those people who created it way back when imagined their homeland to be like, I guess. The same can be said for all of Chinatown. It is more American than Chinese, but still is a great place to go on a Saturday afternoon to get lost, explore and eating amazing food. Chinatown Los Angeles is hands down one of the freshest spots in all LA.
This obviously is not San Francisco where Chinatown defines the very heart of the city and goes on for miles and miles. No. Los Angeles Chinatown is much smaller and more of a touristy type place. All the real Chinese have moved to larger homes, with more green in their front lawns in places like Alhambra and Montebello.
Chinatown might be small but it sure got spunk and plenty of flair. Look for the women selling small turtles, go into the store that sells wonderful bamboo shoot creations with LED-light waterfalls. Get lost in the back streets and pay your respects at the Buddhist Temple, which is one of the gems and best kept secrets of Chinatown.
Another secret on the down low is that if you look hard enough there are massage joints with zero hanky- panky, but with some of the most amazing full body massages and super cheap. You will find bankers, soccer moms and the like getting naked, full body massages while their kids shop around the corner.
You have a toothache, back pain, sexual dysfunction, bad spirits plaguing you late at night. Make sure to visit one of Chinatown Los Angeles famous botanical doctors so they can give you a prescription of various roots (etc) to make you feel all better or make your mate very very happy. Like they would tell Jack Nicholson in the movie Chinatown, “Its Chinatown Jack!” True, very true.