I Ate My Way Through Chinatown Square. Here’s Everything You Should Know.

Chinatown Square/Facebook

Chinatown Square/Facebook

Chinatown is perfect the way it is, a shining example of a neighborhood fully bloomed, firing on all cylinders, brimming with energy and excitment. And its ever-changing foodscape rarely ceases to impress, attracting locals and tourists alike with the cunning use of bright neon, hanging ducks, and cartoon soup dumplings.

So when a two-story epic food hall called Chinatown Square soft-opens smack in the middle of it all (1018 Race Street), with a new roster of food purveyors doling everything from Middle Eastern shawarma to Cambodian meat sticks, you wonder what sort of affect it might have on the rest of the ‘hood.

I wondered, and I wondered and I wondered and I wondered, until, finally, last night, I went. And I ate.

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5 Chinese New Year Celebrations in Philly

International House is hosting a Lunar New Year Celebration on Friday.

International House is hosting a Lunar New Year Celebration on Friday.

Lunar New Year Celebration @ International House Philadelphia | Friday, January 27
The open-to-the-public celebration at I-House starts off with samples of Chinese cuisine in the Galleria, followed by a show in the Ibrahim Theater featuring traditional Chinese music, dance and martial arts performances. It’s $15, or $10 if you’re a member or alum. Read more »

Drink This Now: The Yin & Yang from Hop Sing Laundromat

Yin & Yang | Photo by Robert Neroni

Yin & Yang | Photo by Robert Neroni

Last week I visited Hop Sing Laundromat for happy hour where North Korea’s biggest fanboy, poured me a cocktail he had been working on. He wasn’t certain if the drink was better up and garnished with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry or served over a big ice cube with a an orange peel.

So Lê poured me half-measures of the drink up and on the rock and asked for my opinion. The difference in flavor between the two was striking. The breadth of flavor was made all the more striking since this was a two ingredient cocktail of Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof Bourbon and Averna Amaro.

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Chinatown Hosts Its Own Night Market

yeshi-night-market-chinatown-940

There is still at least one more Night Market to enjoy this year.

On Thursday October 13th, over 60 local Chinatown restaurants, businesses and food trucks will participate in Yè Shì Night Market. The Ye Shi night market is a production of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and is the result of several years of holding night markets in conjunction with the Food Trust.

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First-Time Find: A Budget-Friendly Banquet in Chinatown

1100 Vine St. #506, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107 | TREND Images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

1100 Vine St. #506, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107 | TREND Images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

Want to wake up to the rising sun?

Love good food but don’t want to cook all the time?

Are you the type that wants to be in the center of it all, but also enjoys getting out of town?

Have we got a condo for you.

This light-filled unit is part of a 194-unit high-rise condo on Chinatown’s western fringe. Both it and the building have a number of nice amenities that make it a great place to live, not the least of which is its location, which we will get to shortly. Read more »

Chinese Cultural Center Prepares for A New Future

The freshly restored face of a Chinatown icon. | Photos: Sandy Smith

The freshly restored face of a Chinatown icon. | Photos: Sandy Smith

A 185-year-old landmark in the heart of Chinatown is getting ready for a possible new lease on life once the legal hurdles are cleared. While waiting for that to happen, the company that stepped in to keep it from falling into the dustbin of history (or a heap of rubble, which is the same thing) is quietly testing the waters to see whether anyone might be willing to continue its rescue effort.

Maybe not so quietly as of Wednesday evening (Aug. 17th), when the building’s conservator, Scioli Turco, invited the interested and the merely curious inside the Chinese Cultural and Community Center at 125 N. 10th St. to inspect the ready-for-its-next-chapter property. Read more »

City Wants Development With ‘Social Impact’ At 8th and Race

The lot on the northwest corner of 8th and Race is currently used for parking | Image from Google

The lot on the northwest corner of 8th and Race is currently used for parking. | Image from Google

The surface parking lot on Race Street between 8th and 9th is one of the biggest empty spaces remaining in Center City, and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority is hoping its transformation will serve a purpose broader than the developer’s bottom line.

Later this month*, PRA will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the lot. For the first time, the Authority will require developers to describe the “social impact” of their development proposals. The social impact component is open-ended, including anything from affordable housing and minority-business participation to healthy food access, job creation, or even simple cash donations to nonprofits or community groups. Greg Heller, the director of the PRA, says he’s just hoping to be convinced that a particular proposal will be the best one for the neighborhood and the city. Read more »

Out-of-Town Developer Wants to Build Philly’s Biggest Nightclub in Chinatown

A Night Market in Chinatown is one thing. A nightclub's quite another.

A Night Market in Chinatown is one thing. A nightclub’s quite another. The community welcomed this party, but it’s already mobilizing to fight the dance club proposal.

Philly’s nightclub scene is about to be lit. There’s a 24-year-old “developer” from out of town with his eyes set on Chinatown, the neighborhood that could soon be home to his vision of a 1,000-person capacity nightclub, what he deems would be the biggest and most technically sophisticated in the city, the Inquirer reports.

And he plans to do it all with his mom’s help.

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Out-Of-Town Developers Want to Build Philly’s Biggest Nightclub in Chinatown

Photo: Jeff Fusco

Photo: Jeff Fusco

Philly’s nightclub scene is about to be lit. There’s a 24-year-old “developer” from out of town with his eyes set on Chinatown, the neighborhood that could soon be home to his vision of a 1,000-person capacity nightclub, what he deems would be the biggest and most technically sophisticated in the city, the Inquirer reports.

And he plans to do it all with his mom’s help.

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Tunnel of Love and Dumplings: Tom’s Dim Sum Reviewed

The Scallion Pancakes at Tom's Dim Sum | Photo by Claudia Gavin

The Scallion Pancakes at Tom’s Dim Sum | Photo by Claudia Gavin

There are a lot of restaurants in this town that I go to because it’s my job. There are some I find myself in because life is strange and sometimes the lesser of many evils is a plate of greasy mozzarella sticks and a hip flask of Jim Beam and Coke at 3 a.m. Others I go to because I get caught up in the excitement just like everyone else—the frenzy of the new—and want to be there to see what all the fuss is about. To weigh this particular fuss against the fuss of last week and whatever fuss might be coming along next.

And then there are places I go to because I simply can’t not go. Because something in them draws me like gravity—a comfort beyond simple sustenance, strong drinks or good company. The bar at Bud & Marilyn’s is like that. Ting Wong in Chinatown. El Rincon Criollo. This little sushi place in Suburban Station that I love just because all the sushi is made by robots and I love robots. Stargazy, which I sometimes dream about because the banoffee tart blew my mind once and I can’t ever get there often enough.

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