There is no better place in San Francisco to feed the senses than Chinatown. This bustling neighborhood is chockablock with fish vendors, herb shops, acupuncture clinics, tea houses, and Buddhist temples.
1. Eat a Dim Sum Lunch
Stop into Hang Ah Tea Room (1 Pagoda Place; 415-982-5686) for an authentic and inexpensive dim sum lunch. Opened in 1920, Hang Ah claims to be the oldest Chinese restaurant in San Francisco.
2. Visit the Tin How Temple
Dedicated to the queen of the heavens and the goddess of the seven seas in 1855, the Tin How Temple (25 Waverly Place; open daily 9-5) is the oldest Chinese temple in the United States. Inside, hundreds of red and gold lanterns hang from the ceiling.
3. Restore Yourself at Daan Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture
In business for 40 years, Daan (614 Jackston St.; 415-433-3271) stocks traditional herbal remedies and employs two full- time acupuncturists.
4. Pick up a Souvenir at the Chinatown Kite Shop
This colorful, chockablock shop sells an impressive selection of kites, para foils, Chinese costumes and lanterns, and souvenirs. 717 Grant St.; 989-5182.
5. Take a Wok Wiz Tour
Learn about the ornate architecture and the best places to shop for souvenirs, jewelry, and linens on a Wok Wiz walking tour. Guides speak fluent Cantonese; tours are offered with or without a dim sum lunch.
6. Visit Buddha’s Universal Church
A San Francisco historical landmark, Buddha’s Universal Church (720 Washington St.; 415-982-6116) is the largest Buddhist Church in the United States. The church offers services in Chinese and English as well as tours and lectures.
7. Discover Your Future at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
This center of fortune cookie making in California turns out 20,000 cookies per day and also houses a small museum. Bags of cookies are for sale. 56 Ross Alley; 781-3956.