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Chinatown

Chinatown (41)

When the first Chinese immigrants arrived in London at the beginning of the 19th century they mainly settled close to the wharfs of the Limehouse area, which at the time was famous for being rather seedy and for legendary tales of opium smokers and illegal gambling rooms which had come from the exaggerated descriptions of specific writers of the time. 

The Limehouse area was severely punished during the bombings of the Second World War, and from 1950 the Chinese community moved to other parts of the city. Soho, where at that time it was possible to rent property at a reasonable price, was their main focus to settle , and in the streets around Leicester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue what we today know as Chinatown gradually took shape.

The arches in the form of a pagoda that overlook Gerrard Street, Chinatown’s main street, will welcome you to this district that is overflowing with Chinese restaurants, souvenir shops and supermarkets. Lisle Street is another of the most well-known streets of this area generously decorated with flags and Chinese lanterns.

Despite this being an essentially commercial area, every year there is an interesting ceremony to celebrate the coming of the Chinese New Year.

If the rich aromas and roast ducks that hang from the counters of the restaurants give you an appetite, do not hesitate to stop and eat. Given the abundant supply of restaurants, it might be a bit complicated deciding which restaurant is appropriate. Take a tip that always works: check out which restaurant has most Chinese people eating inside and go straight in without hesitating. 

Enjoy a really interesting stroll, and you will even feel that you are not sure if you are in a street in London or Shanghai.

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