ALOHA FROM JENNIE: In most metropolitan cities where Chinese immigrants have settled, a cluster of shops and cultural centers known as 'Chinatown' is typically formed, and Honolulu is no exception.
Our island's Chinatown is located only minutes away from the Honolulu financial district, so in a blink of an eye, one is transported from the tall metropolitan office towers to quaint two or three story brick complexes built in the late 1800's. A number of these buildings have been restored, and are interspersed among stone guardian lions and fierce dragons decked out in good luck red and cold colors.
A four square block area contains row after row of shops and farmers' market style displays of fruit, fish, meat, and vegetables. Non-perishable imports such as clothing, plastic or ceramic furniture and knickknacks, dried foods such as jerky or noodles, and canned goods are also plentiful.
The community's activities and pace are diverse, ranging from the sedate elderly retirees playing mahjong to pass the time, to harried parents rushing about on errands, and bustling shopkeepers vying for customer patronage. When you're in the mood for an exotic meal or foreign cultural exposure, a visit to a nearby Chinatown is an interesting adventure!