Out with the old in the with the new in Chinatown

By Stephanie Lum bio | email

CHINATOWN (KHNL) - With Chinese new year approaching, it's out with the old and in the with new in Chinatown. The same could be said for the historical spot. As a special tour guide showed me, over the years, Chinatown has evolved into a multi-ethnic gathering place. You'll find everything from fresh fish, to locally grown produce, historical buildings stand tall, but signs of the new are all around. At Kekaulike Mall, times are tough and more vendors, trying to make a buck, fill the open marketplace.

"This particular section of the town used to have a whole bunch of Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Portugese. Today you have Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotion," said my dad.

You could say my dad is a regular in Chinatown. Everywhere he goes, he's always bumping into someone he knows. "Kung hee fat choy, kung hee fat choy," he said to a friend passing by.

Six and a half years ago, we walked these same streets. His favorite bakery where my late grandmother used to shop

is now replaced by the new Sing Cheong Yuan bakery owned and operated by the Fong family.

"How has business been?", I asked Darlene Fong. "Very good, we are doing very good," Fong said.

They offer the same Chinese treats like gau and tea cookies. With boxes in hand, we head to Lee's bakery, another family-run business. The draw here are Mister Lee's home-made pies.

"Even people from the outer islands wait in line to buy their pie it's amazing," exclaimed my dad.

It's out with the old and in with the new in this ever-changing town, but there is one thing that stays the same.

"Kung hee fat choy!"

It's that familiar spirit of Chinatown.