San Francisco Chinatown

San Francisco Chinatown

(work in progress)

While we can't travel during the pandemic, I decided to discover what's around me in the city of San Francisco.  This is the 3rd art blog about San Francisco neighborhoods.  Chinatown.  It is work in progress and will be finished in May

Ping Yuen Mural

Ping Yuen and North Ping Yuen are part of the four-building public housing complex in Chinatown.   In the early 20th century, Chinatown was what would be called a "ghetto", "the worst slum in the world", a confined area where Chinese immigrants could reside with very high population density and the highest rate of tuberculosis.  In 1930s the plan was put forward to build public housing for Chinese immigrants in Hunters Point.  However, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt stepped in and federal funding was secured to build the public housing in Chinatown itself.

Darryl Mar, a Los Angeles-based muralist completed the 1,400 square foot mural in 1999.  The mural is dedicated to "Sing Kan Mah and those who have struggled to make America their home".

Ping Yuen mural in San Francisco Chinatown


At the corner of Broadway and Columbus Avenue in San Francisco - at the edge of Chinatown and North Beach, Bill Weber created his famous Jazz mural in 1987.  As Weber recounted, Giovanni Toracca commissioned the murals:

"Because it’s where three neighborhoods intersect. He wanted me to paint the Barbary Coast on the corner, North Beach on the Columbus side, and Chinatown and a Chinese dragon on the Broadway side."

These murals are located above New Sun Hong Kong Restaurant at 606 Broadway.

San Francisco murals in Chinatown, Jazz by Bill Weber

Mel Waters Murals

An absolute must-see mural by San Francisco native Mel Waters is on the corner of Washington St and Grant Avenue (743 Washington St)

Mel Waters, Chinatown girl mural

and this one by Mel as well.  Did you know that Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco Chinatown?  Born to parents from Hong Kong in 1940 in San Francisco, they moved back to Kowloon, Hong Kong.  This mural is on Broadway and Grant at 1142 Grant Ave.

In my humble opinion, these two are some of the best murals in SF.

Bruce Lee mural by Mel Waters, San Francisco Chinatown


 Good Mong Kok Bakery

If you're in the mood for some Cantonese Dim Sum, this place seems to be quite popular with the locals, Good Mong Kok Bakery at 1039 Stockton St.  Lines can be long but they're moving quickly.  The place definitely fits in hole-in-a-wall category, but when I see a long line of locals standing and waiting in front of this place and ~3000 Yelp review, I know it must be good.

My favorites here are:

  • #1 Pan Fried Scallion Cake
  • #29 Steamed BBQ Pork bun
  • #19 Shrimp Dumplings
  • #14 Sesame Ball
  • #16 Egg Custard Tart

Good Mong Kok Bakery and dim sum

Seafood Co.

One of the new murals is on Stockton and Columbus.  From the Covid-19 masks, this mural has sprung up in the last year and presents a very different view of Chinatown. 

Seafood Co mural in San Francisco Chinatown

I am not ready to follow unpack yet, but this mural and the next one:

Chinatown murals in San Francisco, Meat packer

remind me of this classic work I've seen one in the Guggenheim Museum in New York by Zeng Fanzhi:

Zeng Fanzhi, SF MOMA

Tiger Dragon Mural

By Luke Dragon (720 Grant Ave) by the Wok Shop

Dragon Papa Dessert

Dragon Beard candy made from corn starch and molasses.  In the past was only made for the Emperor, so it can be considered Royal dessert.  752 Grant Ave.


Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

56 Ross Alley, San Francisco, CA 94108


Vital Tea Leaf

1044 Grant St,



"We don't have to travel far"

Art blogs about San Francisco:

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