Chinatown is the name by which the famous Chinatown of London is known. This neighborhood is located in downtown, in Soho, and stands out for the large number of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, shops and other Chinese establishments that you can find there.
So read maybe you do not realize how curious and interesting it can be to visit this area of London but when you put your foot in the entrance to this peculiar neighborhood you will not regret having arrived there. By the way, at the entrance and at the exit you will find some barriers with Chinese decorations in which all the tourists take a photograph.
First, most of the windows of the restaurants in Chinatown are full of roasted chickens hanging that turn a red color that draws attention. It gets to be a very strange situation to be surrounded by so many red chickens since it is something we are not used to seeing in Spain.
History of Chinatown
Chinatown did not start in the location we know it now. At the beginning of the 20th century the majority of Chinese inhabited the eastern part of the city: Limehouse (East End), to be more specific. The problem in this area is that it began to acquire a reputation as a poor area and to house illegal substances and opium smokers. It is not something that surprises because in the current area it is also rumored about people working illegally and all that kind of gossip.
In any case, when the Second World War ended, the most widespread emigration of people from Hong Kong to London began and Asian food began its peak in the Western world. This is how the area we know today as Chinatown became established.
Eating in Chinatown
If there is something in Chinatown, there are a lot of restaurants that fill up every night with people who come to Soho for dinner. Unlike the Chinese restaurants we found in Spain, these are much more authentic and the flavors of the food they offer are not as westernized as in the rest of European countries.
If you want to try Asian food you really have the perfect opportunity visiting Chinatown. One of the most popular dishes is the noodles with vegetables of all kinds, meat, chicken... 100% recommended and for less than 15 pounds !
Chinese New Year
On the dates when the Chinese New Year is celebrated it is very common to go to Chinatown to witness the spectacle that its streets are welcomed, with the Dragon Dance being the star of the moment. If you visit London at the end of March you will be able to attend the celebration of the Chinese New Year in the first person. You're going to love it!
Arrive in Chinatown
To get to London's Chinatown you have several options, although the subway is the most recommended among them. You can get off at the three closest central stops: Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. All of them are nearby and you will only have to walk a few minutes so you can take advantage to do some shopping for the large number of stores that are located in these areas.