What banquet culture means to San Francisco — and Chinatown

April Chan, May 12, 2017

San Franciscans of a certain generation have a specific vernacular to describe things of epic proportion: hella. (To emphasize the epicness, trill the “l” for added dramatic effect.) For this San Francisco native, it’s the only word that comes to mind when I think of banquet dinners in Chinatown. As in, hella loud. Hella, hella food.
And in the case of Chinatown’s New Asia restaurant, hella big. So for me, news of the city’s decision to convert Chinatown’s largest banquet hall into affordable housing brings mixed feelings. With gentrification sweeping through many parts of San Francisco, any effort to keep increasingly disadvantaged, longtime residents of any neighborhood — let alone, a historic district such as Chinatown — should be lauded. Read more…

Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle / The popular New Asia restaurant in S.F.’s Chinatown is popular for banquets. The city is in contract to purchase the property and convert it into affordable housing.