You will find Chinatowns in many cities around the world.
They are both enclaves for Chinese migrants, many of whom settled the districts over a hundred years ago, and important centres for commerce, as well as dynamic precincts that are often the first stop for both locals and travellers seeking out Asian culture and a variety of exotic cuisines.
Now there is a travel guide online for people who wish to visit these vibrant precincts in many of the world’s major cities: www.chinatownsguide.com
The Chinese Diaspora
Many Chinatowns were once urban ghettos, where restaurant work was the only employment available for poorer immigrants who would buy time to gain fluency in the language of their adopted country. Many countries banned women as migrants or guest workers, and so early Chinese enclaves were often male-only groupings that meant intermarriage with the host community became common. Today, however, these vibrant suburbs are an important part of the multicultural fabric of their cities, and are revitalised living and working communities that have become major tourist destinations.
Chinatowns were established in cities such as Vancouver, New York City, Chicago, Toronto, while European Chinatowns in Europe, including Paris and Manchester, have a more recent establishment date as part of burgeoning post World War Two migrations. After the Vietnam War in the late 1970s, waves of “boat people” migrants settled in the various Chinatowns revitalising the neighbourhoods as pan-Asian business districts and residential neighbourhoods.
Most Chinatowns will have both authentic and touristic Chinese restaurants. Previously, restaurants mainly served authentic Chinese dishes to immigrant customers and have not had to modify their food, but now increased awareness of regional Chinese cuisine, such as Hakka, Szechuan, and Shanghai cuisines, have made the traditional restaurants highly-rated dining destinations. Some Chinatowns, such as Singapore and Lima, developed a localised style of Chinese cuisine that this has evolved with time to become distinctive and equally as popular as traditional cuisine. And while Chinatowns are renown as Chinese food destinations, other Asian cuisines such as Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, and Malaysian are often equally as well represented.
Today you can travel the world and never be far from Chinese culture as presented in dozens of world Chinatowns. Browse the destinations listed on this site to learn more about their history and get practical information that will help you plan your next Chinatown holiday.