South of Canal Street lies bustling Chinatown, which has over the years expanded into the Lower East Side taking over most of Little Italy in the process and is continuting to expand almost daily. The largest Asian community in North America can be found among the narrow streets between Worth and Hester and East Broadway and West Broadway; its main street is Canal Street.
Within these boundaries, you’ll find everything from traditional Chinese herbal-medicine shops, acupuncturists, food markets filled with amazing varieties of fish and exotic vegetables, funky pagoda-style buildings, stores selling all manner of items from beautiful jewelry and silk robes to hair accessories and plumbing parts, and hundreds of restaurants serving every imaginable type of Chinese cuisine, from dim sum to fried noodles to extravagant Cantonese, Hunan, Mandarin, or Szechuan banquets. An amazing area and well worth a visit. Ans when you get thirsty or hungrey there are over 200 cafe/resturants in Chinatown to choose from.
The many signs in Chinese, the music pouring into the streets from open windows, the delicious smells from the restaurants, noodle shops and tea houses packed side by side, and the sound of the language swirling around you make it easy to feel like you’ve flown half way around the world in the short time it took to get downtown.
Although the neighborhood is known for its excellent Chinese cuisine, perhaps one of its more secret highlights is the Eastern States Buddhist Temple on Mott Street. Step inside – your spirit will be refreshed and your eyes will be delighted by the sight of 100 golden Buddhas shimmering in the candlelight. Frequent festivals and parades (especially during the January and February Chinese New Year celebrations, when paper puppet dragons, firecrackers, and beating drums rule the streets!), as well as the galleries and curio shops create a glorious celebration of Chinese culture.