The SF Chinese New Year parade was last weekend and once again my family had a great time, despite the rain. Actually by the time of the parade there was just a light drizzle. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes – it was a feast for everyone. We did much of the usual. Except we also shared the day with friends who hadn’t ever been to the parade. Experiencing it with someone new is always fun and my kids loved showing them around.
Starting with the Pet Store. It has an amazing array of unique fish (koi from $2 to $200 each), birds (they even said “hello” and “bye bye”), and reptiles.
Next it was visiting the shops on Stockton Street to see and smell the dried fish, teas, and uniquely chinese ingredients.
On next to the fortune cookie factory. I’ve paid the $.50 in the years previous to take a photo but didn’t feel the need to do it again as there were many people waiting and it was drizzling inside. Here’s last year’s photo. Nothing changes here anyways.
Finally it was time for dinner at the Oriental Pearl Restaurant. This year I was able to get a photo of the seafood bird’s nest before they cracked it open. We also had peking duck, lettuce cups, dumplings, noodles, pea shoots (my favorite) and shu mei. The kids like the large “lazy susan” (turntable) in the middle of the table the best. Spinning tea and food to their friends was hard to resist.
Then it was on to the parade. The rain and cold (in the low 40’s!) didn’t dampen the spirits and there were plenty of people on the streets. After a few stilt walkers floats and bands our kids were more interested in the poppers, smoke bombs and firecrackers in the crowd and got a bit restless. They did a few of their own lion dances and spraklers, then we decided to head home early and watch the televised parade with a closer view from our warm house. That’s the end of the Chinese New Year festivities for 2011. Although we’ll plan to experience the sights and flavors of Chinatown throughout the year. Gung Hay Fat Choy!