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Asian San Francisco: Chinatown, Japantown & Little Manila

The Facts

By Ian Baldwin

Most of the city's hotels are located around Union Square. Chinatown is a short walk away, but you need to drive to the other Asian neighborhoods, so rent a car during your stay. And make restaurant reservations well in advance.

The Arts
Asian Art Museum Golden Gate Park; 415/379-8801. The largest museum in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art. Some 12,000 artworks from more than 40 Asian countries.
Asian American Theater Company, 1840 Sutter St., Suite 207; 415/440-5545. Classical and contemporary works by APA playwrights.
Chinese Cultural Center Holiday Inn Hotel, 750 Kearny St., third floor; 415/986-1822. Lectures, exhibitions, performances, and workshops.

Restaurants
R&G Lounge Dinner for two $50.
Happy Immortal Dinner for two $35.
Maki Lunch for two $20; dinner $50.
On The Bridge Lunch for two $15.
Solita Club & Filipino Restaurant for two $30.
Slanted Door Lunch for two $20.
Kyoya Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St.; 415/392-8600; bento lunch boxes for two $36, dinner $100. Tokyo chic, with the freshest sushi.
Straits Café, 3300 Geary Blvd.; 415/668-1783; dinner for two $35. A storefront restaurant transformed into a Singapore eatery, complete with a bargain "banana leaf" lunch. The inventive menu deviates from pure Singapore cuisine, but with very good results.
Harbor Village Restaurant, 4 Embarcadero Center; 415/781-8833; dim sum for two $35, dinner $70. Mammoth Hong Kong-style restaurant much praised for both its dim sum and its Cantonese cuisine.
Yank Sing, 427 Battery St.; 415/781-1111; dim sum for two $30. Clean and modern dim sum restaurant in the financial district. Some say it's the city's best.
Khan Toke Thai House, 5937 Geary Blvd., between 23rd and 24th Aves.; 415/668-6654; dinner for two $30. Warm and atmospheric, with candlelight, Thai motifs, traditionally costumed staff, and authentic, tasty dishes. Be prepared to remove your shoes and sit on cushions.

Shopping
Japan Center, Post St. between Laguna and Fillmore Sts.
Eastwind Books, 1435 Stockton St.; 415/772-5877. Bilingual titles on China, Hong Kong, and Chinese America.
Kinokuniya Bookstore, Japan Center, 1581 Webster St.; 415/567-7625. Books and magazines on Japan and Asia in both English and Japanese.
Evelyn's Antique Chinese Furniture, 381 Hayes St.; 415/255-1815. Prices are high, but so is the quality.
Japonesque, 824 Montgomery St.; 415/391-8860 or 415/391-3530. Coolly chic gallery space with contemporary Japanese art and antiques.
—A.B.

Best Books
Compass American Guide: San Francisco And The Bay Area, by Barry Parr (Fodor) - A subjective introduction to the city, from famous sights to less-known corners, with hundreds of color photos.
San Francisco Chinatown: A Walking Tour, by Shirley Fong-Torres (China Books & Periodicals) - A peek inside the nooks and crannies often overlooked by tourists, including fortune-cookie factories, historic Taoist temples, calligraphy studios, food markets, and herb shops. Includes recipes.
—Martin Rapp

On The Web
Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco (http://www.infojapan.com/cgjsf) - This site contains a comprehensive events calendar that's a must-read for Japanophiles.
Chinese Culture Center San Francisco (http:// www.c-c-c.org) - A small, attractively designed site describing the center's exhibitions and events.
Filipino Express Online (http://www.filipinoexpress. com) - Stories from the leading Filipino-American newspaper. (Not limited to the Bay Area, but a good place to start cruising for Philippines-related sites around the world.)

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