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American Chinatown

American Chinatown

A People’s History of Five Neighborhoods

Winner of the 2009 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature; a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and Best of 2009: 50 Notable Bay Area Books selection

In American Chinatown, acclaimed travel writer Bonnie Tsui takes an affectionate, attentive look at the neighborhood that has bewitched her since childhood, when she eagerly awaited her grandfather’s return from the fortune cookie factory. Tsui visits the country’s four most famous Chinatowns — San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Honolulu — and makes her final, fascinating stop in Las Vegas; in her explorations, she focuses on the remarkable experiences of ordinary people. Tsui beautifully captures their vivid stories, giving readers a deeper look into what “Chinatown” means to its inhabitants, what each community takes on from its American home, and what their experience means to America at large. American Chinatown is an all-access pass.


“A wonderfully revealing and compassionate trip into the real lives of men and women who straddle the world’s two great powers… Tsui plunges into Chinatowns that are, like China itself, reinventing themselves before our eyes, showing not only to what it means to be Chinese in the world, but also the spirit of self-invention that made America great.”

– Evan Osnos, staff writer, The New Yorker

“A fascinating and thoughtful look at a thoroughly American phenomenon.”

– Gish Jen, author of The Love Wife