I’m surprised sometimes at how the street festivals of San Francisco span the spectrum of size and sophistication. Most of the elements are found in all of them, entertainment, crafts, and food, but each festival is pretty unique and the experience at each of them is rarely the same.
Our outing to the Asian Heritage Festival in the Tenderloin was interesting, to say the least… Although I was excited about the idea of an Asian-themed street fair (mainly because I figured there would be a variety of food vendors representing the entire Asian continent), I was surprised at the sea of people that flooded the 5-block stretch of Larkin between Ellis and McCallister. There was a bunch of different entertainment activities from Taiko Drums to Muay Thai Kickboxing demos to carnival rides to live music.
There was representation from countries across Asia where they were either selling their arts and crafts, serving their food, raising money for their community groups, or focusing on educational initiatives like colorectal screening and Hepatitis B testing for the broad Asian community. There was even a some genius Chinese Rubik’s Cube Champ named Tyson Mao doing demonstrations and signing autographs. Haha!
There was definitely a lot of variety in terms of food vendors, but none of them seemed to have anything terribly appetizing. I did try some lumpia and okoy from one Filipino stand, but that was about it. Nothing looked enticing, so Pdho and I actually ended up having pho at Turtle Tower which turned out to be one of the best decisions ever.
It seems rather fitting that the unveiling of the “Three-Headed, Six-Armed Buddha” coincided with the Asian Heritage Festival. Granted, I don’t know if it was intentional, but it seemed rather fitting. This 15 ton structure was created by Chinese artist Zhang Huan and is on display on the Civic Center to celebrate the sister city relationship between San Francisco and Shanghai.
Granted, this wasn’t one of those “must attend” type of events, but it was interesting nonetheless to at least go and check it out for a couple of hours.