If you are looking for authentic Chinatown, walk under the new street banners, glance down the street at the updated wall as you cross the fancy Chinese Zodiac crosswalk just north of the spanking new Gallery Place. In the middle of the block between H and I Streets, this unassuming shop is easy to walk right by, but I’d suggest a wander in. The proprietors of Da Hsin have not spiffed up their sign for the urban renewal that’s sterilizing these blocks, and luckily haven’t changed the store, or their incredibly low prices, much to keep up with times either.
Don’t be deterred by the small and jumbled storefront, for inside you’ll find rows of food, condiments (so many sauces!), an entire row of liquor, sweets, mushrooms, and a counter with musty jars of Chinese herbs and tonics. (The Internet says a Chinese herbalist is on hand to magic up a cure for what ails you, but I’ve not witnessed that.)
There’s another entire row of crockery, tableware, kitchen accessories, indoor slippers and chopsticks in any color you wish. Decor gifts, souvenirs and liquor round out the selection. Duck through to the adjoining shop for an assortment of garden pots and statuary, plus indoor and outdoor furniture.
At Chinese New Year, this is the place to stock up on red envelopes and waving cats for your celebration. And please, consider a purchase or two, it would be nice to keep this nearly 30-year-old establishment around for another few decades.