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I don’t speak Chinese!
Usually the district of the Chinese community outside of China is called Chinatown wherever it is, in Europe, the United States etc and works as the actual working community for them. Believe it or not more than 200.000 people from china live at this district of NY! Because of some Hollywood kung fu films I saw as a kid I wanted to see the area that some of the actors play at!
All the stores here target to Chinese people as customers, the newspaper are in Chinese etc Of course, the area isn’t just an ethnic ghetto and it is very popular among the tourists too, at least the central part along Canal street where you can find many souvenir shops and a lot of seafood markets (pic 1) where old Chinese ladies go to shop some weird sea creatures that smell bad! :). There are also many markets that sell traditional herbal medicines (no I didn’t try any…) and a lot of street vendors everywhere with some strange exotic fruits. Try to avoid the imitation sunglasses, perfumes and handbags. You’ll find then at the Chinatown of your city too :)
I walked for a while in the small streets and I barely met with any other than Chinese people, we drunk something at Hon Café where nobody couldn’t understand in English that I just wanted a milkshake so I drunk something else!
Then we returned back to the small alleys and visited the central park of the area which is the Columbus Park. The Chinese community gather there for socializing. I noticed many ladies under their colorful umbrellas chatting and playing cards (pic 3) and the men in different tables playing an unknown to me domino game (pic 4). Some interesting points to see here are the two Buddhist temples I saw, probably there are more but those are the ones I already had info for.
The first one is the Eastern States Buddhist Temple (pic 2) located at.64 Mott street. It was full of visitors looking strange at the dozen of small Buddhas. The second temple is the Mahayanna Buddhist temple located at 133 Canal Street. It’s the largest one and it has a 5m tall golden Buddha in the main hall (pic 5) and a souvenir store. There’s no entrance fee and I enjoyed more because there wasn’t any other visitor inside.
Some streets have a lot of Vietnamese restaurants in case you know the difference between them (I don’t! I was confused with so many hanging ducks around!). It’s the first time in my life I see so many people eat with chopsticks and I also noticed a lot of Karaoke bars that probably will be full of people in the night.
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cheap Chinese in Chinatown
Great New York Noodle Town, at the corner of Bayard St and Bowery, 1 block south of Canal St at the Manhattan Bridge. I like the salt baked chicken, where the skin is baked off, leaving a low-fat dinner. I take an order of white rice on the side, and, if I'm with people, I get a side of pea pods. You get a matter-of-fact, no-frills Chinatown experience here. The salt baked chicken and rice come in at around $8, as of July 2008. Glass of tea and/or water are free, of course!
Prada, Hermes, Gucci, Louie
If you want to feel the excitment of shopping at a cheap price make sure you bring cash and do not bring big bills to China Town. The biggest mistake is to take anything there for the price they give you, bargain the price lower and do not pull out all your bills! Also if you see a bag you really want test the pockets and zippers you dont' want to be disappoited later on when you take home.
DON"T BRING A CREDIT CARD! $1 AND $5 AND $10 ARE BEST
ALSO GO DURING THE WEEK IF YOU CAN BECAUSE ON THE WEEKEND THE AREA IS JAM PACKED.
TAKE YOUR TIME AND ENJOY THE AREA SO GO EARLY AROUND 11:00 AM OR SO.
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Chinatown is a great place to spend a few hours wandering the streets. You can get a great feeling of the Asian community if you just walk around. If you are looking for that special Asian item, you will find it here. If you love to cook, you can find every single item under the sun for that great Chinese meal.
I love walking around and visiting their many restaurants and shops.
PLEASE NOTE: Do not come to Chinatown to purchase any of those "knock-off" items. It is illegal and if you are caught you may be fined.
You'll feel as if you were in China!
Chinatown New York is the world's biggest Chinatown, and also the biggest population of Chinese outside of China. Having mentioned this, you won't be too surprised when I tell you that you'll feel more like in China than in New York when you walk around there! Chinese shops line the streets, Asian mothers accompany their children to school, Chinese signs are everywhere (and you sometimes have trouble finding an English translation!), McDonald's looks for waiters who are fluent in Chinese, English and Spanish... As I had to get up early every morning when I was in New York, I could experience the daily work routines of Chinatown - in the morning, all the shops get their deliveries, fruits and vegetables are unloaded from numerous trucks, men and women set up their food stalls, the air smells sour and sweet, like rotten garbage, exhaust fumes, male sweat, and then suddenly like fresh spring rolls or fried chicken. It's really an experience to go there early in the morning. I usually came back at night to see Chinatown's million lights make the streets shine bright yellow, pink and blue while many of the food stalls were still selling hot meals to passers-by. Chinatown is a place that you have to experience with all your senses, and it makes sense to come back several times if you've got the time.
Check out my Chinatown travelogue for more impressions!
Now that's a Chinatown!
I always tell people that Montreal doesn't have a Chinatown, it has a Chinastreet. But New York City's Chinatown definitely deserves its title - even if people will generally point you in the direction of Mott and Canal St., with over 200,000 Chinese Americans living in Manhattan, NYC's Chinatown now covers most of the Lower East Side and has become North America's biggest Chinatown. While it was fun to walk through the less busy streets and try to pretend for a while that I'd traveled to another continent, Canal Street soon brought me back to reality. That's where most of the shops that sell cheap sunglasses, perfumes and what not are located, and the place was just swarming with people so we quickly moved on to another neighborhood, but not before having stopped by McDonald's to see what the menu looked like in Mandarin!
Since my first trip to the area over 30 years ago, much has changed. It used to be a neighborhood that held Chinese and kept close touch to the culture of the race. it now has a little of that and a lot of dirty looking and feeling streets. Chinese are generally neat people, so I do not get the reason for the lack of effort to keep the streets and vending shops clean. They have taken over the old Little Italy area almost completely. What a shame. I would be concerned in buying food at streetside vendors boothes, or get fresh seafood; maybe just me?
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Noodles, Ducks and all that Good Stuff ;)
Chinatown has cut out a fairly large slice for itself in the heart of New York. It was amazing to see how you can go from Little Italy on one block to Chinatown on the next block , from pasta places to a fish market in a matter of moments. Chinatown is very cool because if you have never been to the Orient then this the place to get a feel for it. There are shops selling everything from fish to soup to vegetables and almost every shop is written in Cantonese or Mandarin (not sure which one) but I am assuming Cantonese. The vibe is up tempo and English is only spoken by the tourists or when you try to buy something giving this entire area a very unique feel. You can wander around for a few hours and get lost because this area has a lot of offer. Great fun !!
Shopping in Chinatown
Shopping in Chinatown was a very interesting experience. The real deal we found was designer perfumes at a very low cost. Lots of haggling was involved but I ended up only paying $20-25 for my favorite perfumes.
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Shopping in Chinatown
Going to China town was an experience. In New York City, it consisted mostly of about 100 different stores, ALL identical. They all seemed to have the same purses, bags, jewelry and watches in each them. You will probably find a lot of good deals, since you are expected to bargain with the shop owners. Sometimes they're very generous and other times they'll refuse to reduce the price to you, but the best thing to do is be as demanding as possiple. If they don't think you'll buy it otherwise, they will probably offer a discount. This is also the benefit of having so many similar stores; if you can't get the item you want at a reasonable price in one, you're bound to find it somewhere else.
There is also lots of great food in the area; mostly Asian. There were a few Vietemese restaurants and butcher shops where we saw fried ducks (with still their heads and beaks) hanging in the window.. eww. The Vietemese restaurant we ate at was amazing though. Theres also lots of fruit being sold outdoors, such as white mangos and Chinese pears. Its great. Definitely try to make it out here for an afternoon or something!
One of the things that amazed me about New York is that different districts have a distinct identity. This was especially true in Chinatown. The fantastic fresh food was mouthwatering and the fresh fish something that I cannot say that I have seen so much in a high street before. A friend of mine goes to New York regularly and insists on eating in Chinatown all of the time as it is such good value. Take time to wander around and take in the atmosphere. We went to the Lower East Side Tennement Museum nearby.
Ahhh.. Chinatown, always a good place to visit in any city. There is always something happening there. And so it was over here in New York. A lot of street vendors, many restaurants with dirt cheap food, a McDonald's with its name in chinese characters, fresh vegetables, fresh fish. Oh and of course fortune tellers and a lot of shops you can place a bet. What would a Chinatown be without these last two? There was also a bonus and that came in the form of a modelshoot in one of the smaller streets in the area. Make sure to check it all out here and head into Little Italy.
Chinatown or Faketown?
Canal Street is the main place giving the name to ChinaTown. I don't know whether all people there are Chinese or from other Asian countries, however they only sell fake itemes and imitations.
If you want the cheapest loosy T-Shirt with I Love NY, that's the place. If you want any imitation of famous brand, that's the place. Don't forget that they might arrest you if you come back to Europe with fake brands.
Everybody is selling the same fake items, there is no typical shop, better or worse.
Chinatown, with its roughly 100,000 Chinese-Americans, is the largest concentration of Chinese in the entire Western Hemisphere! This area, founded in the late 1870s, is a great place to try Asian restaurants, pick up some fruit or fish at the Chinese markets, or find some unique gifts. The main shopping areas are along Canal Street, while the side streets certainly offer some interesting spots to eat, shop, and sightsee, including the area's numerous Buddhist temples.
Also close by is the Little Italy neighborhood which is centered on Mulberry Street.
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Walk down Broadway from Soho...shop for jeans or shoes along the way...there are good deals to be had. Suddenly, there you are! Canal Street. Chinatown. Don't worry, you'll know when you get there, suddenly everything changes. It is another world, one filled with hundreds of tiny shops and street hawkers. There are fresh vegetable shops and meat shops, fish stores, strange herbs from the orient. There are purses, jewelry, scarves, belts. Feel free to bargain. Every few steps you will be accosted by someone offering to sell you name brand purses and perfumes at discount prices. I think thy want you to follow them somewhere private to show you their wares. I did not do this but I still got some killer Christmas gifts at unbelievable prices.
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