Around the world on a dragon
Celebrate the Chinese New Year in an authentic way by jetting off to a Chinatown.entertainment Updated: Feb 06, 2011 01:18 IST
You will find a Chinatown in almost every corner of the globe. We bring to you 10 such places, where you can usher in the Chinese New Year in the most authentic way.
London’s Chinatown is a perfectly formed little firecracker that ushers in the new year with a bang. Customarily festooned with red lanterns, previous years have seen parades with lion and dragon dances through its streets, as well as acrobatics, martial arts, dance and opera displays.
Located in the southern part of the city centre’s 13th arrondissement, the Quartier Chinois (Chinese Quarter) is known as Europe’s largest Chinatown. Furthermore, the City of Light also has another, smaller and more recently established in the Belleville area to the north, as well as others dotted around the city.
Manhattan’s Chinatown has been a major centre of the city’s Chinese community for more than a century. The neighbourhood is known as one of the oldest ethnic Chinese enclaves outside Asia and the area encompassing it and bordering Little Italy has been designated a historic district on the USA’s National Register of Historic Places.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is perhaps the most famous in the United States. The city was the main entry-point for Chinese who had crossed the Pacific to the USA during the mid-19th century. Between the more tourist-oriented Grant Avenue — and the ostensibly more authentic Stockton Street — this historic area attracts more visitors every year than the Golden Gate Bridge.
Honolulu’s Chinatown can be traced back to two ships that docked here in the 1780s. Today, Chinatown is one of the must-sees on the island of Oahu — great restaurants and food stalls,and markets groaning with fresh, local produce. The historic area with restored buildings transports visitors back to the bustling late 19th century.
Downtown Toronto’s Chinatown runs along Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue although the Greater Toronto area has half-a-dozen Chinatowns. In years past, this area served as the focal point for the Chinese men who helped to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. It throngs today with shops and produce markets and a multitude of eateries that serve mouth-watering cuisines such as Hunan, Mandarin and Cantonese.
This Chinese enclave in the City of Glass centres on Pender, Main and Keefer streets, having grown from a small community centred around the Canton Alley and Shanghai Alley of the late-19th century to become Canada’s largest Chinatown. Trendy restaurants and boutique hotels stand side-by-side grocery shops, bakeries and, in the summer months, a night market. Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden at Carrall Street offers the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle for a few moments.
Taking in Yaowarat Road and its surrounding area in the Samphanthawong district, the Thai capital’s Chinatown is one of the oldest parts of the city and contains a labyrinth of street-stalls offering all type of trinkets, tasty treats, clothes, toys, domestic products and antiques. Sunday market days are particularly bustling and so a good time to get the full flavour of the neighbourhood. The area is also known for its gold dealers, and it has long been associated with commerce and prosperity.
Other chinatowns that won’t disappoint
Mauritius: During the Chinese Spring Festival, the most exciting sight is the Dragon Feast when Chinese musicians and dancers perform the traditional Lion dances through the streets.
Melbourne: In 1851, Chinese prospectors flocked to the State of Victoria, drawn by the lure of gold. Melbourne's Chinatown is known as the oldest Chinatown in Australia and the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world. The lodging houses for miners are replaced by restaurants, shops and the Chinese Museum.