10 of the World’s Most Popular Chinatowns
With a population of almost 1.5 Billion, China has been one of the most powerful and influential countries in the whole world. However, China was not always the superpower country that it is today.
Yes, China was the giant country in Asia that seems to dominate every aspect of the economy in the modern world, but in the 1800s, millions of Chinese fled their own country due to corruption, starvation, and war. More than 50 million Chinese fled to different countries mainly the USA and other Southeast Asian Nations, this mass exodus is called the Chinese Diaspora.
During those times, counties were not as civilized as they are today. So, racism was extreme those years and human rights were not enough to protect the Chinese immigrants. Therefore, they were often bullied, cursed at, and given unfair compensation as a low-class worker in foreign countries. Due to the unfair treatment, they were getting, Chinese people were encouraged to all come together as a race and form a stronghold in a single place, which is the Chinatown that we know today.
As years went by, more and more countries became more civilized and racism is no longer a major threat for the Chinese people. This allowed the Chinatowns to prosper and become a haven for people who appreciate one of the most amazing cultures in history. Today, more and more people are discovering the hidden gems of Chinese culture that can be found in these Chinatowns.
Now, let’s explore the 10 most popular Chinatowns in the world and learn more about their legendary culture!
San Francisco, USA
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the USA was one of the preferred destinations of Chinese immigrants because of the economic opportunities offered by the California Gold Rush in 1849. Over the years, the San Francisco Chinatown became the oldest, biggest, and most popular Chinatown in the whole world!
This bustling neighborhood spans over 24 city blocks offering different activities which will make you fall in love with Chinese culture. Tons of restaurants offering authentic Chinese food, herbal shops, and attractions are all waiting for you here. In fact, statistics show that more people are visiting the San Francisco Chinatown than the Golden Gate Bridge, that says a lot!
Some of the popular destinations here are The Chinatown Alleys, the Chinese Historical Society, and the Chinatown restaurants and shops on Grant Avenue and Stockton Street.
Next on the list is the Chinatown that’s settled right in the heart of the great British civilization, in London. More and more people are starting to love the neighborhood in London Chinatown where you can find countless shops and restaurants offering popular dishes and products from East Asian cuisine!
The Chinese community also holds several festivals throughout the year which attracts thousands of local and international tourists to flock to the busy streets of London. Some of the notable places to visit here at London Chinatown are the Baozilnn Romilly Street, Cafe TPT, and Gerard Cafe. All these restaurants offer delicious and authentic Chinese food that will surely satisfy your taste buds!
Another major Chinatown on the planet is located in the wonderful country of Australia. The Melbourne Chinatown offers to the world a whole new Asian experience featuring different shops, restaurants, karaoke bars, cocktail bars, and fashion boutiques!
There are a lot of things to look forward to in this Chinatown! Enjoy a gastronomic feast in renowned Asian restaurants such as the Shark Fin Inn and Westlake serving some of the best Cantonese fine dining experience in the area. Also, try visiting the Chinese Museum at Cohen place to discover more about “Chinese Australia”. Lastly, don’t miss the chance to celebrate annual festivals held in Melbourne Chinatown, especially the Asian Food Festival and the traditional Chinese New Year Celebration!
Just like the USA and Australia, the country of Peru is also heavily influenced by Chinese immigrants. There is a place in Lima, Peru called the Barrio Chino or Lima Chinatown. This spectacular neighborhood features streets full of diverse Asian cuisines and stores.
There’s a place here called the Calle Capon where you may feel that you’re suddenly in an entirely different country because lots of Chinese signs, vendors, and restaurants are scattered around the area. Moreover, hundreds of locals and tourists are also wandering around making this street the center of all the action in Barrio Chino.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Ah, we’re now headed towards the beautiful countries of the Southeast Asian region! The Kuala Lumpur Chinatown or Chee Cheong Kai is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire country of Malaysia. It is a place that never sleeps which offers a clear perspective of the amazing Asian culture, heritage, and tradition.
This Chinatown is widely known as a bargainer’s haven because you can find countless options of different Chinese goods from foods, products, toys, produce, clothes, shoes, and many more! Also, you can surely find several authentic Chinese foods along the busy streets of Petaling!
Next up! Thailand is home to some of the world’s most popular tourist attractions from natural wonders of nature to fun cultural experiences. However, there’s one part in its capital that clearly takes the spotlight! It’s no other than the Bangkok Chinatown.
This Chinatown is widely popular all over the world for its mouthwatering Chinese foods and spectacular temples. There are also different shops and museums offering you a whole new experience of Asian culture. You can score different items and products in the Bangkok Chinatown Market itself and while you’re at it, you can also explore different shops and restaurants offering delicious and authentic Chinese foods at Nai Mong Thod and Jek Pui Curry!
New York, USA
That’s right! The USA now comes back with its other representative on this list. The Big Apple also offers a massive neighborhood featuring countless stores and restaurants offering you the best Asian culture experience of your life!
The Manhattan Chinatown of New York City features different spots where you can find gems of Chinese cuisine. Columbus Park serves iconic foods such as Cantonese Barbecue and Hong Kong Fried Dumplings. You can also score amazing souvenirs and items from Canal Street and Doyer Street!
Of course, Japan wouldn’t come short of this list! The Yokohama Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in the whole country of Japan. In here, you can casually find thousands of locals and tourists roaming the grand streets of Yokohama featuring a plethora of Chinese stores and restaurants with colorful Chinese displays and decorations!
Japan also pays homage to Chinese culture because you can find a total of nine (9) colorful gates at the entrance and inside the Yokohama Chinatown. One of the most popular attractions here is called the Kanteibyo, a temple offered to the Chinese God of good business and prosperity.
However, the spotlight can’t be taken away from the Asian cuisine offered in the streets of Yokohama! Here, you can find endless food options like the Manju (steamed buns), ramen noodles, takoyaki, and other Chinese foods with a Japanese twist!
It’s not a surprise that Canada is also home to one of the most popular Chinatowns in the world given that about 5% of its entire population consists of Chinese people!
The Vancouver Chinatown, being one of the largest Chinatowns in the world, plays a huge role not only in Canada’s economy but also in its culture. The diverse neighborhood has a huge mark and appeals to locals and tourists alike! Also, it’s also a haven for many chefs, artists, and small business entrepreneurs. This just shows that Canadians, as a whole, love Asian culture and tradition.
Some of the most notable spots here at the Vancouver Chinatown are the Goldstone Bakery and Restaurant, Kokomo, The Union, The Keefer Bar, and the Fortune Sound Club.
Finally, another one of the world’s most popular Chinatowns is located at one of Asia’s busiest capitals, Singapore. The Singapore Chinatown is a unique spot in the busy central business district offering locals and tourists to have a different experience!
This is because the style and ambiance of Singapore Chinatown are entirely different from the skyscrapers surrounding the capital. It is filled with low-rise and discreet buildings oozing with the fragrant smells of fresh traditional Chinese foods! It’s like a much-needed vacation for some of the busy people of Singapore.
Don’t miss the chance to try the ever-famous Maxwell Hawker Center as well as Burnt Ends, Chinatown Food Street, and Yum Cha!
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Also read: Manila’s Chinatown: The World’s Oldest Chinatown