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A Chinatown
Chinatown
(Chinese: 唐人街; pinyin: Tángrénjiē; Jyutping: tong4 yan4 gaai1) is an ethnic enclave of Chinese or Han people located outside mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan, most often in an urban setting. Areas known as "Chinatown" exist throughout the world, including Asia, Australia, the Americas, Africa and Europe. The development of most Chinatowns typically resulted from mass migration to an area without any, or with very few Chinese residents. Binondo
Binondo
in Manila, established in 1594, is recognised as the world's oldest Chinatown. Notable early examples outside Asia include San Francisco's Chinatown
Chinatown
in the United States
United States
and Melbourne's Chinatown in Australia, which were founded in the mid-19th century during the California gold rush
California gold rush
and Victoria gold rush
Victoria gold rush
respectively. A more modern example, in Montville, Connecticut, was caused by the displacement of Chinese workers in the Manhattan Chinatown
Manhattan Chinatown
following the September 11th attacks
September 11th attacks
in 2001.[1][2]

Contents

1 Definition 2 History

2.1 In Asia 2.2 In the West 2.3 1970s to the present 2.4 Chinese-themed shopping centers

3 Characteristics

3.1 Demographics 3.2 Architectural styles 3.3 Chinese language
Chinese language
signs 3.4 Chinese restaurants

3.4.1 Cantonese
Cantonese
seafood restaurants 3.4.2 Barbecue
Barbecue
delicatessens/restaurants 3.4.3 Localized cuisines

3.4.3.1 Chop suey
Chop suey
and chow mein eateries (United States) 3.4.3.2 Chifas (Peru)

3.5 Chinese and Asian businesses

3.5.1 Markets and supermarkets 3.5.2 Chinese bakeries 3.5.3 Religious supplies

3.6 Antiquated features 3.7 Annual events

3.7.1 Chinese New Year 3.7.2 Mid-Autumn Festival 3.7.3 Miss Chinatown
Chinatown
Beauty Pageant

4 Benevolent and business associations 5 Names

5.1 English 5.2 Chinese 5.3 Other languages

6 Locations

6.1 Africa 6.2 Americas 6.3 Asia 6.4 Australia and Oceania 6.5 Europe

7 In popular culture 8 See also 9 References

9.1 Citations 9.2 Sources

Definition[edit] The Oxford Dictionary
Oxford Dictionary
defines "Chinatown" as "... a district of any non-Chinese town, especially a city or seaport, in which the population is predominantly of Chinese origin".[3] However, some Chinatowns may have little to do with China.[4] Some "Vietnamese" enclaves are in fact a city's "second Chinatown", and some Chinatowns are in fact pan-Asian, meaning they could also be counted as a Koreatown
Koreatown
or Little India.[5] One example includes Asiatown in Cleveland, Ohio. It was initially referred to as a Chinatown
Chinatown
but was subsequently renamed due to the influx of non-Chinese Asian Americans who opened businesses there. Today the district acts as a unifying factor for the Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Nepalese and Thai communities of Cleveland.[6] Further ambiguities with the term can include Chinese ethnoburbs which by definition are "...suburban ethnic clusters of residential areas and business districts in large metropolitan areas [7] where the intended purpose is to be "... as isolated from the white population as Hispanics".[8] A New York Times
New York Times
article blurs the line further by categorizing very different Chinatowns such as Chinatown, Manhattan, which exists in an urban setting as "traditional"; Monterey Park's Chinatown, which exists in a "suburban" setting (and labeled as such); and Austin, Texas's Chinatown, which is in essence a "Chinese themed mall", known as "fabricated". This contrasts with narrower definitions, where the term only described Chinatown
Chinatown
in a city setting.[9] In some cities in Spain, the term denotes an area, neighborhood or district where prostitution or other businesses related to the sex industry are concentrated; i.e. a red-light district. Some examples of this are the Chinatown
Chinatown
of Salamanca and the Chinatown
Chinatown
of Barcelona, although in Barcelona
Barcelona
there was a small Chinese community in the 1930s. History[edit] See also: Chinese emigration Trading centres populated predominantly by Chinese men and their native spouses have long existed throughout Southeast Asia. Emigration to other parts of the world from China
China
accelerated in the 1860s with the signing of the Treaty of Peking
Treaty of Peking
(1860), which opened the border for free movement. Early emigrants came primarily from the coastal provinces of Guangdong
Guangdong
(Canton, Kwangtung) and Fujian
Fujian
(Fukien, Hokkien) in southeastern China
China
– where the people generally speak Toishanese, Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew (Chiuchow) and Hokkien. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, a significant number of Chinese emigration
Chinese emigration
to North America
North America
originated from four counties called Sze Yup, located west of the Pearl River Delta
Pearl River Delta
in Guangdong province, making Toishanese a dominant variety of the Chinese language spoken in Chinatowns in Canada
Chinatowns in Canada
and the United States. As conditions in China
China
have improved in recent decades, many Chinatowns have lost their initial mission, which was to provide a transitional place into a new culture. As net migration has slowed into them, the smaller Chinatowns have slowly decayed, often to the point of becoming purely historical and no longer serving as ethnic enclaves.[10] In Asia[edit]

The Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
celebrated in Chinatown, Kolkata

Binondo's Chinatown
Chinatown
located in Manila, Philippines
Philippines
is the oldest Chinatown
Chinatown
in the world, established in 1594.[11] Several Asian Chinatowns, although not yet called by that name, have a long history. Those in Nagasaki, Japan,[12] Binondo
Binondo
in Manila, Hoi An and Bao Vinh in central Vietnam[13] all existed in 1600. Glodok, the Chinese quarter of Jakarta, Indonesia, dates to 1740.[14] Chinese presence in India
India
dates back to the 5th century AD.[15] A Chinatown
Chinatown
first appeared in the Indian city of Calcutta (now renamed Kolkata) and subsequently in Mumbai and Chennai. The first Chinese settler in Calcutta was Young Atchew around 1780. The Chinatown
Chinatown
centered on Yaowarat Road
Yaowarat Road
in Bangkok, Thailand, was founded at the same time as the city itself, in 1782.[16] In the West[edit]

Chinese seamen established one of the earliest Chinatowns around the docks in Liverpool
Liverpool
in the mid-19th century.

An early enclave of Chinese people
Chinese people
emerged in the 1830s in Liverpool, England
England
when the first direct trading vessel from China
China
arrived in Liverpool's docks to trade in goods including silk and cotton wool.[17] Many Chinese immigrants arrived in Liverpool
Liverpool
in the late 1850s in the employ of the Blue Funnel Shipping Line, a cargo transport company established by Alfred Holt. The commercial shipping line created strong trade links between the cities of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Liverpool, mainly in the importation of silk, cotton and tea.[17] The Chinatown
Chinatown
in San Francisco
San Francisco
is one of the largest in North America and the oldest north of Mexico. It served as a port of entry for early Chinese immigrants from the 1850s to the 1900s.[18] The area was the one geographical region deeded by the city government and private property owners which allowed Chinese persons to inherit and inhabit dwellings within the city. Many Chinese found jobs working for large companies seeking a source of labor, most famously as part of the Central Pacific[19] on the Transcontinental Railroad. Other early immigrants worked as mine workers or independent prospectors hoping to strike it rich during the 1849 Gold Rush. Other cities in North America where Chinatowns were founded in the mid-nineteenth century include almost every major settlement along the West Coast from San Diego to Victoria. Economic opportunity drove the building of further Chinatowns in the United States. The initial Chinatowns were built in the Western United States in states such as California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona. As the transcontinental railroad was built, more Chinatowns started to appear in railroad towns such as St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Butte Montana, and many east coast cities such as New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, and Baltimore. With the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, many southern states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, and Georgia began to hire Chinese for work in place of slave labor.[20] The history of Chinatowns was not always peaceful, especially when labor disputes arose. Racial tensions flared when lower-paid Chinese workers replaced white miners in many mountain-area Chinatowns, such as in Wyoming with the Rock Springs Massacre. Many of these frontier Chinatowns became extinct as American racism surged and the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. Other Chinatowns in European capitals, including Paris and London, were established at the turn of the 20th century. The first Chinatown in London was located in the Limehouse
Limehouse
area of the East End of London[21] at the start of the 20th century. The Chinese population engaged in business which catered to the Chinese sailors who frequented the Docklands. The area acquired a bad reputation from exaggerated reports of opium dens and slum housing. France
France
received a large settlement of Chinese immigrant laborers, mostly from the city of Wenzhou, in the Zhejiang
Zhejiang
province of China. Significant Chinatowns sprung up in Belleville and the 13th arrondissement of Paris.

The busy intersection of Main Street, Kissena Boulevard, and 41st Avenue in the Flushing Chinatown
Flushing Chinatown
(法拉盛華埠), Queens, New York City. The segment of Main Street between Kissena Boulevard
Kissena Boulevard
and Roosevelt Avenue, punctuated by the Long Island Rail Road
Long Island Rail Road
trestle overpass, represents the cultural heart of Flushing Chinatown. Housing over 30,000 individuals born in China
China
alone, the largest by this metric outside Asia, Flushing has become home to one of the largest and fastest-growing Chinatowns in the world.[22]

Manhattan's Chinatown, the largest concentration of Chinese people
Chinese people
in the Western Hemisphere 

Chinatown, San Francisco, one of the largest Chinatowns in North America 

Paifang
Paifang
gate to Chinatown, Boston 

1970s to the present[edit] By the late 1970s, refugees and exiles from the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
played a significant part in the redevelopment of Chinatowns in developed Western countries. As a result, many existing Chinatowns have become pan-Asian business districts and residential neighborhoods. By contrast, most Chinatowns in the past had been largely inhabited by Chinese from southeastern China. In 2001, the events of September 11 have resulted in a mass migration of about 14,000 Chinese workers from Manhattan's Chinatown
Chinatown
to Montville, Connecticut
Montville, Connecticut
due to the fall of the garment industry and workers transitioning to casino jobs fueled by the development of the Mohegan Sun
Mohegan Sun
casino. In 2012, Tijuana's Chinatown
Chinatown
formed as a result of availability of direct flights to China. The La Mesa District of Tijuana was formerly a small enclave, but has tripled in size as a result of direct flights to Shanghai, with an ethnic Chinese population rise from 5,000 in 2009 to roughly 15,000 in 2012, overtaking Mexicali's Chinatown
Chinatown
as the largest Chinese enclave in Mexico. Chinese-themed shopping centers[edit]

Splendid China
China
Mall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

In recent years, Chinese-themed shopping centers have started to take on a role as historical and touristic centers, though the centers themselves are not "Chinatowns" by definition, usually as they are built in areas where the Chinese populations are intermixed with the general population at large. For example, the "Chinatown" in Albany, New York has been created as an attraction rather than an enclave, intended to give the feeling of the "old Chinatown" in an upscale setting.[23] The new Chinatown
Chinatown
in Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
will be built with a five-star hotel, and is intended mainly as a visitor attraction.[24] Other examples of Chinese-themed malls exist in Richmond, British Columbia, Houston, Las Vegas, Dubai, and Santo Domingo have received official recognition as a "Chinatown". While many Chinese-themed areas have in many cases displaced original Chinese enclaves as places where authentic Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
restaurants and shopping can be found, they are not considered tourist attractions as the most notable historic Chinatown
Chinatown
districts are.[25] Bonnie Tsui in her book states that the newer "commercial Chinatowns" rely on the Chinatown
Chinatown
being built before the local Chinese population arrives.[26] Characteristics[edit] The features described below are characteristic of many modern Chinatowns. Demographics[edit] The early Chinatowns such as those in San Francisco
San Francisco
and California
California
in the United States
United States
were naturally destinations for people of Chinese descent as migration were the result of opportunities such as the California
California
Gold Rush
Gold Rush
and the Transcontinental Railroad drawing the population in, creating natural Chinese enclaves that were almost always 100% exclusively Han Chinese, which included both people born in China
China
and in the enclave, in this case American born Chinese.[27] In some free countries such as the United States
United States
and Canada, housing laws that prevent discrimination also allows neighborhoods that may have been characterized as "All Chinese" to also allow non-Chinese to reside in these communities. For example, the Chinatown
Chinatown
in Philadelphia
Philadelphia
show sizeable white and black races residing within the community.[28] A recent study also suggests that the demographic change is also driven by gentrification of what were previously Chinatown
Chinatown
neighborhoods. The influx of luxury housing is speeding up the gentrification of such neighborhoods. The trend for emergence of these types of natural enclaves is on the decline (with the exceptions being the continued growth and emergence of newer Chinatowns in Queens and Brooklyn in New York City), only to be replaced by newer "Disneyland-like" attractions, such as a new Chinatown
Chinatown
that will be built in the Catskills
Catskills
region of New York.[29] This includes the endangerment of existing historical Chinatowns that will eventually stop serving the needs of Chinese immigrants. Newer developments like those in Norwich, Connecticut
Norwich, Connecticut
and the San Gabriel Valley, which are not necessarily considered "Chinatowns" in the sense that they do not necessarily contain the Chinese architectures or Chinese language signs as signatures of an officially sanctioned area that was designated either in law or signage stating so, differentiate areas that are called "Chinatowns" versus locations that have "significant" populations of people of Chinese descent. For example, San Jose, California
California
in the United States
United States
has 63,434 people (2010 U.S. Census) of Chinese descent, and yet "does not have a Chinatown." Some "official" Chinatowns have Chinese populations much lower than that.[30] Architectural styles[edit] Main article: Chinese architecture Many tourist-destination metropolitan Chinatowns can be distinguished by large red arch entrance structures known in Mandarin Chinese as Paifang
Paifang
(sometimes accompanied by imperial guardian lion statues on either side of the structure, to greet visitors). Other Chinese architectural styles such as the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Sydney Chinatown
Sydney Chinatown
and the Chinese stone lions
Chinese stone lions
at the gate to the Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia
Chinatown
Chinatown
are present in some Chinatowns. Mahale Chiniha, the Chinatown
Chinatown
in Iran, contains many buildings that were constructed in the Chinese architectural style. Paifangs usually have special inscriptions in Chinese. Historically, these gateways were donated to a particular city as a gift from the Republic of China
China
and People's Republic of China, or local governments (such as Chinatown, San Francisco), and business organizations. The long-neglected Chinatown
Chinatown
in Havana, Cuba, received materials for its paifang from the People's Republic of China
China
as part of the Chinatown's gradual renaissance. Construction of these red arches is often financed by local financial contributions from the Chinatown community. Some of these structures span an entire intersection, and some are smaller in height and width. Some paifang can be made of wood, masonry, or steel and may incorporate an elaborate or simple design.

Chinatown
Chinatown
landmarks

Entrance to Chinatown, Sydney 

Paifang
Paifang
in Philadelphia 

Paifang
Paifang
in Buenos Aires, Argentina 

Chinatown, Boston
Boston
looking towards the paifang 

Gate of Chinatown, Portland, Oregon 

Chinatown
Chinatown
entry arch in Newcastle, England 

Chinese Garden of Friendship, part of Sydney Chinatown 

Chinese stone lions
Chinese stone lions
at the Chinatown
Chinatown
gate in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 

Harbin Gates in Chinatown
Chinatown
of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 

Millennium Gate on Pender Street in Chinatown
Chinatown
of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 

Chinese Cultural Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada 

Chinese Temple "Toong On Church" in Kolkata, India. 

Chinese language
Chinese language
signs[edit] Chinese characters
Chinese characters
are very commonly seen in areas officially labeled as "Chinatown", and many stores that are located in such districts use Chinese calligraphy on storefront signs. Many Chinatowns, such as the one in Oakland, California, employ bilingual street signs that are in Chinese as well as English. In Washington, DC's Chinatown, storefront signs are required to have a translation in Chinese characters
Chinese characters
when the establishment is located in this district, whether the store is Chinese in nature or not. Local franchises of national chains, such as Starbucks
Starbucks
coffeeshops and CVS drugstores conform to this rule.[31]

Chinatown
Chinatown
signage

Street signs in Oakland Chinatown
Chinatown
in English and Chinese 

McDonald's in the Triangle de Choisy in Paris 

The 700 block of H Street, Northwest, Washington, D.C.
Northwest, Washington, D.C.
showing a Subway restaurant with Chinese characters. 

Neon signs in Chinese and Thai adorn buildings alongside Yaowarat Road in Bangkok's Chinatown 

Chinese restaurants[edit] Main articles: Chinese restaurant
Chinese restaurant
and Chinese cuisine

This section contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed. (March 2015)

Cooks at a Manhattan Chinatown
Manhattan Chinatown
restaurant taking a break

Most Chinatowns are centered on food, and as a result Chinatowns worldwide are usually popular destinations for various ethnic Chinese and other Asian cuisines such as Vietnamese, Thai, and Malaysian. Some Chinatowns, such as in Singapore, have developed their own localized style of Chinese cuisine. Chinatown
Chinatown
restaurants serve both as major economic components and as social gathering places. In the Chinatowns in many western countries, restaurant work may be the only type of employment available for poorer immigrants, especially those who cannot converse fluently in the language of the adopted country. Most Chinatowns generally have a range of authentic and tourist-oriented restaurants. Some restaurants in Chinatown
Chinatown
do not cater towards non-Chinese customers. Because of ethnic Chinese immigration and the expanded palate of many contemporary cultures, the remaining American Chinese and Canadian Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
restaurants are seen as anachronisms,[who?] but remain popular and profitable. In many Chinatowns, there are now many large, authentic Cantonese
Cantonese
seafood restaurants, restaurants specializing in other varieties of Chinese cuisine such as Hakka cuisine, Szechuan cuisine, Shanghai
Shanghai
cuisine, and small restaurants with delicatessen foods. Cantonese
Cantonese
seafood restaurants[edit] See also: List of seafood restaurants Cantonese
Cantonese
seafood restaurants (海鮮酒家, Pinyin: Hǎixiān Jiǔjiā, pronounced in Cantonese
Cantonese
as hoy seen jau ga) typically use a large dining room layout, have ornate designs, and specialize in seafood such as expensive Chinese-style lobsters, crabs, prawns, clams, and oysters, all kept live in fish tanks until preparation. Some seafood restaurants may also offer dim sum in the morning through the early afternoon hours, as waiters announce the names of dishes while pushing steaming carts of food and pastries around the restaurant. These restaurants are also a popular place for weddings, banquets, and other special events. These types of restaurants flourished and became in vogue in Hong Kong during the 1960s, and subsequently began opening in various Chinatowns overseas. Owing to their higher menu prices and greater amount of investment capital required to open and manage one (due to higher levels of staffing needed), they tend to be more common in Chinatowns and satellite communities in developed countries and in fairly affluent Chinese immigrant communities, notably in Australia, Canada, and the United States, where they have received significant population of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Chinese émigrés. Poorer immigrants usually cannot start these kinds of restaurants, although they too are employed in them. There are generally fewer of them in the older Chinatowns; for example, they are practically non-existent in Vancouver's Chinatown, but are found in its suburbs such as Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Competition between these restaurants is often fierce; hence owners of seafood restaurants hire and even "steal" the best chefs, many of whom are from Hong Kong.[citation needed] Barbecue
Barbecue
delicatessens/restaurants[edit]

A display of Cantonese
Cantonese
roast duck for sale in a delicatessen in Chinatown, Los Angeles

Also, Chinese barbecue deli restaurants, called siu laap (燒臘 shāo là) and sometimes called a "noodle house" or mein ga (麵家 miàn jiā), are generally more modest in size and decor, and serve less expensive fare such as wonton noodles (or wonton mein), chow fun (炒粉 chǎo fěn, stir-fry rice noodles), Yeung Chow fried rice (揚州炒飯 Yángzhōu chǎofàn), and rice porridge or congee, known as juk in Cantonese
Cantonese
Chinese. They also tend to have displays of whole pre-cooked roasted ducks and suckling pigs hanging in their windows, a common feature in most Chinatowns worldwide. These delis also serve barbecue pork (叉燒 chāshāo, cha siu), tripe, chicken feet, and other Chinese-style items less familiar to the typical Western palate. Food is usually intended for take-out. Some of these Chinatown
Chinatown
restaurants sometimes have reputations for being "greasy spoons" and for poor service, whereas others may be clean and well-lit, with suitable decor and attentive waitstaff. Vietnamese immigrants, both ethnic Chinese and non-Chinese, have opened restaurants in many Chinatowns, serving Vietnamese pho beef noodle soups and Franco-Vietnamese sandwiches. Some immigrants have also started restaurants serving Teochew Chinese cuisine. Some Chinatowns both old and new may also contain several pan-Asian restaurants offering a variety of Asian noodles under one roof. Localized cuisines[edit] Chop suey
Chop suey
and chow mein eateries (United States)[edit] Often lit by neon signage, restaurants offering chop suey or chow mein, mainly for the benefit of non-Chinese customers, were frequent in older Chinatowns. These dishes also are offered in standard barbecue restaurants and takeouts (take-away restaurants). Chifas (Peru)[edit] A special feature of the Chinatown
Chinatown
in Lima, Peru
Lima, Peru
( Barrio Chino de Lima) is the chifa, a Chinese-Peruvian
Chinese-Peruvian
type of restaurant which mixes Cantonese
Cantonese
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
with local Peruvian flavors. Chifa is the Peruvian Spanish
Peruvian Spanish
derivative of the Cantonese
Cantonese
phrase jee fon (饎飯 chì fàn), which renders as "cook rice" or as "cook meal'". This type of restaurant is popular with native Peruvians. Chinese and Asian businesses[edit]

Typical grocery store on 8th Avenue in one of the Brooklyn Chinatowns on Long Island, New York, USA. New York City's satellite Chinatowns in Queens and Brooklyn are thriving as traditionally urban enclaves, as large-scale Chinese immigration continues into New York,[32][33][34] with the largest metropolitan Chinese population outside Asia.[35]

Most Chinatown
Chinatown
businesses are engaged in the import-export and wholesale businesses; hence a large number of trading companies are found in Chinatowns. Markets and supermarkets[edit] Main article: Asian supermarket In addition to the restaurant trade, grocery stores and seafood markets serve a key function in Chinatown
Chinatown
economies, and these stores sell Chinese ingredients to such restaurants as well as to the general public. Some markets are wholesalers, while smaller Chinatown
Chinatown
grocers and markets are often characterized by sidewalk vegetable and fruit stalls, a quintessential image of many Chinatowns. Many local residents buy fresh food daily, taking advantage of its ready availability, and also avoiding the space, ventilation, and electrical requirements of large refrigerators at home. Stores also sell a variety of grocery items imported from East Asia (chiefly Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea) and Southeast Asia (principally Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia). For example, most Chinatown
Chinatown
markets stock items such as sacks of Thai jasmine rice, Chinese chrysanthemum and oolong teas, bottles of oyster sauce, rice vermicelli, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
soybean beverages, Malaysian snack items, Taiwanese rice crackers, and Japanese seaweed and Chinese specialties such as black duck eggs (often used in rice porridge), bok choy, and water chestnuts. These markets may also sell fish (especially tilapia) and other seafood items, which are kept alive in aquariums, for Chinese and other Asian cuisine dishes. Until recently, these items generally could not be found outside the Chinatown
Chinatown
enclaves, although since the 1970s Asian supermarkets have proliferated in the suburbs of North America
North America
and Australia, competing strongly with the old Chinatown markets. Chinese bakeries[edit] Main article: Chinese bakery products Many Chinatowns have had ethnic bakeries for years, offering a large variety of steamed, boiled, or fried delicacies as well as baked goods. Most of the foods on offer were of Chinese origin, but storekeepers often added items adopted or adapted from the surrounding national culture. Chinese bakeries in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan were especially influential in mixing ingredients and techniques from other world cultures, developing new foods that have become standard items. In North America
North America
and elsewhere, the non-Chinese population has gradually discovered these delicacies, and Chinese bakeries have begun to sell their products to a wider market. Religious supplies[edit] In keeping with Buddhist
Buddhist
and Taoist
Taoist
funeral traditions, Chinese specialty shops also sell incense and funeral items which provide material comfort in the afterlife of the deceased. Shops sell specially crafted paper replicas of small houses, radios, televisions, telephones, jewelry, and other symbolic material items. They also sell "hell money" currency notes, intended to be ritually burned in a furnace. These businesses also sell red, wooden Buddhist
Buddhist
altars and small statues for worship. Per Chinese custom, an offering of fresh oranges is usually placed in front of the statue in the altar. Sometimes altars are stacked atop each other. These altars may be found in many Chinatown
Chinatown
businesses as well as homes, to bring good luck and prosperity. Antiquated features[edit]

Far East Chop Suey restaurant in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles: Restaurants like this are now rare, but were once a common sight in the United States

Many early Chinatowns featured large numbers of Chinese-owned chop suey restaurants, laundry businesses, and opium dens, until around the mid-20th century when most of these businesses began to disappear. Though some remain, they are generally seen as anachronisms.[citation needed] In early years of Chinatowns, the opium dens were patronized as a relaxation and to escape the harsh and brutal realities of a hostile non-Chinese society, although in North American Chinatowns, they were also frequented by non-Chinese. Additionally, due to the inability on the part of Chinese immigrant men to bring a wife and lack of available local Chinese women for men to marry, brothels became common in some Chinatowns of the 19th century. Chinese laundries, which were labor-intensive but required very little capital or language fluency, were fairly common. These traditional businesses no longer exist in many Chinatowns and have been replaced by Chinese grocery stores, restaurants that serve more authentic Chinese cuisine, and other establishments. While opium dens no longer exist, illegal basement gambling parlors are still places of recreation in many Chinatowns, where men gather to play mahjong and other games. Annual events[edit] Many Chinatowns close off streets for parades, street festivals, Chinese acrobatics
Chinese acrobatics
and martial arts demonstrations, and amusement rides, under the request of the promoters or organizers for the major event. Smaller festivals may also be held in a parking lot/car park, playground, local park, or school grounds within Chinatown. Chinese New Year[edit] Main article: Chinese New Year Most Chinatowns present Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
(also known as Lunar New Year) festivities with dragon and lion dances accompanied by the rhythm of clashing cymbals, clanging on a gong, clapping of hardwood clappers, pounding of drums, and loud Chinese firecrackers. Special performances are held in front of Chinese businesses, where the "lion" character attempts to "eat" a head of lettuce or to catch an orange in its mouth. The lion costume typically contains two dancers, and performances may involve several athletic stunts. Dragon dancers often perform in larger groups, animating a long tubular dragon costume. In return, storekeepers usually donate some money to the performers, who usually belong to local martial arts clubs. Ironically, many lion and dragon dances are considered better preserved in true form in overseas Chinatowns rather than in China itself. This discrepancy is attributed to the fact that traditional Chinese customs, including lion and dragon dances, were unable to flourish during the political and social instabilities of Imperial China
China
under rule of the Qing Dynasty, and were almost eliminated completely under the Communist
Communist
regime of the People's Republic of China
China
under Chairman Mao Zedong. However, due to the migration of Chinese all over the world (particularly Southeast Asia), these dance traditions were continued by overseas Chinese and performed in Chinatowns. Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
dragon and lion dances are intended particularly to scare off evil spirits and bring good fortune to the community. They are also specially commissioned to celebrate a grand opening of a new Chinatown
Chinatown
business, such as a restaurant or bank. Ceremonial wreaths and leafy green plants with red-colored ribbons strewn across are also usually placed in front of new Chinatown
Chinatown
businesses by well-wishers (particularly family members, wholesalers, community organizations, and so on), to assure future success. Mid-Autumn Festival[edit] Main article: Mid-Autumn Festival The Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
or "August Moon Festival" is an annual celebration that occurs sometime between August to October, depending on the lunar calendar and local customs. Many stores sell special mooncakes in conjunction with this particular festival. In addition to street celebrations, dragon boat races are held on this occasion in some cities. Miss Chinatown
Chinatown
Beauty Pageant[edit] Some Chinatowns hold an annual "Miss Chinatown" beauty pageant, such as Miss New York Chinese Pageant (formerly known as Miss Greater Chinatown
Chinatown
NYC Beauty Pageant), "Miss Chinatown
Chinatown
San Francisco," "Mr & Miss Chinatown
Chinatown
Philippines," "Miss Chinatown
Chinatown
Hawaii," "Miss Chinatown
Chinatown
Houston" or "Miss Chinatown
Chinatown
Atlanta"[citation needed].

Chinatown
Chinatown
festivals

Celebrating Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
on 8th Avenue in Brooklyn Chinatown 

Moon festival lantern parade in Chinatown, Los Angeles, 1954 

Like Chinese worldwide, the people in Calgary, Alberta's Chinatown perform dragon dances for good luck 

Mooncakes, often eaten during the Mid-Autumn festival 

Benevolent and business associations[edit] Main article: Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

Headquarters of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
in Chinatown, San Francisco.

A major component of many Chinatowns is the family benevolent association, which provides some degree of aid to immigrants. These associations generally provide social support, religious services, death benefits (members' names in Chinese are generally enshrined on tablets and posted on walls), meals, and recreational activities for ethnic Chinese, especially for older Chinese migrants. Membership in these associations can be based on members sharing a common Chinese surname or belonging to a common clan, spoken Chinese dialect, specific village, region or country of origin, and so on. Many have their own facilities. Some examples include San Francisco's prominent Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (中華總會館 Zhōnghuá Zǒng Huìguǎn), aka Chinese Six Companies, and Los Angeles' Southern California Teochew Association. The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association is among the largest umbrella groups of benevolent associations in the North America, which branches in several Chinatowns. Politically, the CCBA has traditionally been aligned with the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
and the Republic of China. The London Chinatown
Chinatown
Chinese Association is active in Chinatown, London. Chinatown, Paris
Chinatown, Paris
has an institution in the Association des Résidents en France
France
d'origine indochinoise and it servicing overseas Chinese immigrants in Paris who were born in the former French Indochina. Traditionally, Chinatown-based associations have also been aligned with ethnic Chinese business interests, such as restaurant, grocery, and laundry (antiquated) associations in Chinatowns in North America. In Chicago's Chinatown, the On Leong Merchants Association was active. Names[edit] English[edit]

Official signs in Boston
Boston
pointing towards "Chinatown"

Although the term "Chinatown" was first used in Asia, it does not come from a Chinese language. Its earliest appearance seems to have been in connection with the Chinese quarter of Singapore, which by 1844 was already being called " China
China
Town" or "Chinatown" by the British colonial government.[36][37] This may have been a word-for-word translation into English of the Malay name for that quarter, which in those days was probably "Kampong China" or possibly "Kota China" or "Kampong Tionghua/Chunghwa/Zhonghua". The first appearance of a Chinatown
Chinatown
outside Singapore
Singapore
may have been in 1852, in a book by the Rev. Hatfield, who applied the term to the Chinese part of the main settlement on the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena.[38] The island was a regular way-station on the voyage to Europe and North America
North America
from Indian Ocean ports, including Singapore.

Sign inside Jefferson Station in Philadelphia
Philadelphia
pointing to "Chinatown"

One of the earliest American usages dates to 1855, when San Francisco newspaper The Daily Alta California
California
described a "pitched battle on the streets of [SF's] Chinatown." [39] Other Alta articles from the late 1850s make it clear that areas called "Chinatown" existed at that time in several other California
California
cities, including Oroville and San Andres.[40][41] By 1869, " Chinatown
Chinatown
had acquired its full modern meaning all over the U.S. and Canada. For instance, an Ohio
Ohio
newspaper wrote: "From San Diego
San Diego
to Sitka..., every town and hamlet has its 'Chinatown'."[42] In British publications before the 1890s, "Chinatown" appeared mainly in connection with California. At first, Australian and New Zealand journalists also regarded Chinatowns as Californian phenomena. However, they began using the term to denote local Chinese communities as early as 1861 in Australia[43] and 1873 in New Zealand.[44] In most other countries, the custom of calling local Chinese communities "Chinatowns" is not older than the twentieth century. Several alternate English names for Chinatown
Chinatown
include China
China
Town (generally used in British and Australian English), The Chinese District, Chinese Quarter, and China
China
Alley (an antiquated term used primarily in several rural towns in the western United States
United States
for a Chinese community; some of these are now historical sites). In the case of Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada, China
China
Alley was a parallel commercial street adjacent to the town's Main Street, enjoying a view over the river valley adjacent and also over the main residential part of Chinatown, which was largely of adobe construction. All traces of Chinatown
Chinatown
and China
China
Alley there have disappeared, despite a once large and prosperous community. Chinese[edit]

Street sign in Chinatown, Newcastle
Chinatown, Newcastle
with 唐人街 below the street name.

In Chinese, Chinatown
Chinatown
is usually called 唐人街, in Cantonese
Cantonese
Tong yan gai, in Mandarin Tángrénjiē, in Hakka Tong ngin gai, and in Toisan Hong ngin gai, literally meaning "Tang people's street(s)". The Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
was a zenith of the Chinese civilization, after which some Chinese call themselves. Some Chinatowns are indeed just one single street, such as the relatively short Fisgard Street in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. A more modern Chinese name is 華埠 (Cantonese: Waa Fau, Mandarin: Huábù) meaning "Chinese City", used in the semi-official Chinese translations of some cities' documents and signs. Bù, pronounced sometimes in Mandarin as fù, usually means seaport; but in this sense, it means city or town. Likewise, Tong yan fau (唐人埠 Tángrén bù "Tang people's town") is also used in Cantonese nowadays. The literal word-for-word translation of Chinatown—Zhōngguó Chéng (中國城) is also used, but more frequently by visiting Chinese nationals rather than immigrants of Chinese descent who live in various Chinatowns. Some Chinatowns have unique Chinese names used by the local Chinese. For example, the Chinese name for Chinatown
Chinatown
in Singapore
Singapore
is Niúchēshǔi (牛车水, Hokkien
Hokkien
POJ: Gû-chia-chúi), which literally means "ox-cart water" from the Malay 'Kreta Ayer' in reference to the water carts that used to ply the area. The Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, while officially known as Petaling Street (Malay: Jalan Petaling), is referred to by Malaysian Chinese by its Cantonese
Cantonese
name ci4 cong2 gaai1 (茨厂街, pinyin: Cíchǎng Jiē), literally "tapioca factory street", after a tapioca starch factory that once stood in the area. In Manila, the area is called Mínlúnluò Qū 岷倫洛區, literally the "district near the Rivers Mín Coherent to the River Luò". This is however a transliteration of the local term "Binondo" and an allusion to its proximity to the Pasig River. Other languages[edit] In Francophone
Francophone
regions (such as France
France
and Quebec), Chinatown
Chinatown
is often referred to as le quartier chinois (the Chinese Quarter; plural: les quartiers chinois). The most prominent Francophone
Francophone
Chinatowns are located in Paris and Montreal. The Spanish-language term is usually barrio chino (Chinese neighborhood; plural: barrios chinos), used in Spain
Spain
and Latin America. (However, barrio chino or its Catalan cognate barri xinès do not always refer to a Chinese neighborhood: these are also common terms for a disreputable district with drugs and prostitution, and often no connection to the Chinese.). The Vietnamese term for Chinatown
Chinatown
is Khu người Hoa (Chinese district) or phố Tàu (Chinese street). Vietnamese language is prevalent in Chinatowns of Paris, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Montreal as ethnic Chinese from Vietnam
Vietnam
have set up shop in them. In Japanese, the term "chūkagai" (literally "Chinese Street") is the translation used for Yokohama and Nagasaki Chinatown. In Indonesia, chinatown is known as Pecinan, a shortened term of pe-cina-an, means everything related to the Chinese people. Most of these pecinans usually located in Java.[45] Some languages have adopted the English-language term, such as Dutch and German. Locations[edit]

Street scene of the Chinatown
Chinatown
in Cyrildene, Johannesburg

Africa[edit] Main article: Chinatowns in Africa There are three noteworthy Chinatowns in Africa
Chinatowns in Africa
located in the coastal African nations of Madagascar, Mauritius, and South Africa. South Africa has the largest Chinatown
Chinatown
and the largest Chinese population of any African country and remains a popular destination for Chinese immigrants coming to Africa. Derrick Avenue in Cyrildene, Johannesburg hosts South Africa's largest Chinatown. Americas[edit] Main article: Chinatowns in the Americas In the Americas, which includes North America, Central America and South America, Chinatowns have been around since the 1800s. The most prominent ones exist in the United States
United States
and Canada
Canada
in New York City, San Francisco, and Vancouver. New York City
New York City
is home to the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, including several Chinatowns in and around Manhattan, Flushing, and Brooklyn. There is also a Little Fuzhou
Little Fuzhou
developing in Manhattan and in a nearby area of Brooklyn. San Francisco, a Pacific port city, has the oldest and longest continuous running Chinatown
Chinatown
in the Western Hemisphere.[46][47][48] In Canada, Vancouver's Chinatown
Chinatown
is the country's largest[49]. The oldest Chinatown
Chinatown
in the Americas
Americas
is in Mexico
Mexico
City and dates back to at least the early 17th century.[50] Since the 1970s, new arrivals have typically hailed from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Latin American Chinatowns may include the descendants of original migrants – often of mixed Chinese and Latino
Latino
parentage – and more recent immigrants from East Asia. Most Asian Latin Americans are of Cantonese and Hakka origin. Estimates widely vary on the number of Chinese descendants in Latin America. Notable Chinatowns also exist in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina
and Lima, Peru.

Chinatowns in the Americas

Manhattan Chinatown 

San Francisco's Chinatown 

Vancouver
Vancouver
Chinatown 

Chinatown
Chinatown
in Canada's Capital, Ottawa 

Arch honors Chinese-Mexican community of Mexico
Mexico
City, built in 2008, Articulo 123 Street 

Asia[edit] Main article: Chinatowns in Asia Chinatowns in Asia
Chinatowns in Asia
are widespread with a large concentration of overseas Chinese in East Asia
East Asia
and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
and ethnic Chinese whose ancestors came from southern China
China
– particularly the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, and Hainan
Hainan
– and settled in countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam
Vietnam
centuries ago—starting as early as the Tang Dynasty, but mostly notably in the 17th through the 19th centuries (during the reign of the Qing Dynasty), and well into the 20th century. Today the Chinese diaspora in Asia is largely concentrated in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
however the legacy of the once widespread overseas Chinese communities in Asia is evident in the many Chinatowns that are found across East, South and Southeast Asia.

Asian Chinatowns

Yokohama Chinatown's Goodwill Gate in Japan 

Kan Yin Temple (Kwan Yin Si), a place of worship for Burmese Chinese in Bago, also serves as a Mandarin school 

Chinatown
Chinatown
gate in Mangga Dua, Jakarta, Indonesia 

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
celebrated in Chinatown, Kolkata, India. 

Australia and Oceania[edit] Main articles: Chinatowns in Australia
Chinatowns in Australia
and Chinatowns in Oceania The Chinatown
Chinatown
of Melbourne
Melbourne
lies within the Melbourne
Melbourne
Central Business District and centers on the eastern end of Little Bourke Street. It extends between the corners of Swanston and Exhibition Streets. Melbourne's Chinatown
Chinatown
originated during the Victorian gold rush
Victorian gold rush
in 1851, and is notable as the oldest Chinatown
Chinatown
in Australia. It has also been claimed to be the longest continuously running Chinese community outside of Asia, but only because the 1906 San Francisco
San Francisco
earthquake all but destroyed the Chinatown
Chinatown
in San Francisco
San Francisco
in California.[46][47][48] Sydney's main Chinatown
Chinatown
centers on Sussex Street in the Sydney downtown. It stretches from Central Station in the east to Darling Harbour in the west, and is Australia's largest Chinatown. The Chinatown
Chinatown
of Adelaide was originally built in the 1960s and was renovated in the 1980s. It is located near Adelaide Central Market and the Adelaide Bus Station. Chinatown
Chinatown
Gold Coast is a precinct in the Central Business District of Southport, Queensland, that runs through Davenport Street and Young Street. The precinct extends between Nerang Street in the north and Garden Street/Scarborough Street east-west. Redevelopment of the precinct was established in 2013 and completed in 2015 in time for Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
celebrations. There are additional Chinatowns in Brisbane, Perth and Broome in Australia.

Chinatowns in Australia
Chinatowns in Australia
and Oceania

Paifang
Paifang
at Sydney Chinatown 

Paifang
Paifang
at Bendigo
Bendigo
Chinese Precinct 

Adelaide Chinatown 

Melbourne
Melbourne
Chinatown
Chinatown
entrance at Little Bourke Street 

Europe[edit] Main article: Chinatowns in Europe Several urban Chinatowns exist in major European capital cities. There is Chinatown, London, England
England
as well as major Chinatowns in Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester. Berlin, Germany has two established Chinatowns, with the Dong Xuan Center around Herzbergstrasse of Lichtenberg in the East, and the area around Kantstrasse of Charlottenburg
Charlottenburg
in the West. Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp, Belgium
has also seen an upstart Chinese community, that has been recognized by the local authorities since 2011.[51] The city council of Cardiff
Cardiff
has plans to recognize the Chinese Diaspora in the city.[52] The Chinatown
Chinatown
in Paris, located in the 13th arrondissement, is the largest in Europe, where many Vietnamese – specifically ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam
Vietnam
– have settled and in Belleville in the northeast of Paris as well as in Lyon. In Italy, there is a Chinatown
Chinatown
in Milan
Milan
between Via Luigi Canonica and Via Paolo Sarpi
Via Paolo Sarpi
and others in Rome
Rome
and Prato. In the Netherlands, Chinatowns exist in Amsterdam, Rotterdam
Rotterdam
and the Hague. In the United Kingdom, several exist in Birmingham, Liverpool, London, Manchester
Manchester
and Newcastle Upon Tyne. The Chinatown
Chinatown
in Liverpool
Liverpool
is the oldest Chinese community in Europe.[53] The Chinatown
Chinatown
in London was established in the Limehouse
Limehouse
district in the late 19th century. The Chinatown
Chinatown
in Manchester
Manchester
is located in central Manchester.

European Chinatowns

Map of Chinatown
Chinatown
Milan 

Gate of Chinatown, Liverpool
Liverpool
England, is the largest multiple-span arch outside of China, in the oldest Chinese community in Europe 

Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London 

Chinatown
Chinatown
in Birmingham, England 

Chinese new year celebration in Lyon, France. 

In popular culture[edit] Chinatowns have been referenced in various films including The Joy Luck Club, Big Trouble in Little China, and Chinatown. Also, many films in which Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
appears reference locations in Chinatown, particularly the Rush Hour series with Chris Tucker. Chinatowns have also been mentioned in the song "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas whose song lyrics says "... There was funky China
China
men from funky Chinatown...."[54] The martial arts actor Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee
is well known as a person who was born in the Chinatown
Chinatown
of San Francisco.[55] Other notable Chinese Americans such as politician Gary Locke
Gary Locke
and NBA player Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin
grew up in suburbs with lesser connections to traditional Chinatowns. Neighborhood activists and politicians have increased in prominence in some cities, and some are starting to attract support from non-Chinese voters. See also[edit]

China
China
portal Society portal

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
has media related to: Chinatown
Chinatown
(category)

Africans in Guangzhou, the largest people of the African diaspora living in China Chinatown
Chinatown
bus lines Europe Street, a street in China
China
dedicated to European culture Jack Manion San Francisco's Chinatown
Chinatown
squad List of U.S. cities with significant Chinese-American populations Koreatown Japantown Little Saigon Little Manila Little India List of named ethnic enclaves in North American cities

References[edit] Citations[edit]

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Chinese New Year
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St. Helena
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Sources[edit]

Chew, James R. "Boyhood Days in Winnemucca, 1901–1910." Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 1998 41(3): 206–209. ISSN 0047-9462 Oral history (1981) describes the Chinatown
Chinatown
of Winnemucca, Nevada, during 1901–10. Though many Chinese left Winnemucca after the Central Pacific Railroad
Central Pacific Railroad
was completed in 1869, around four hundred Chinese had formed a community in the town by the 1890s. Among the prominent buildings was the Joss House, a place of worship and celebration that was visited by Chinese president Sun Yat-Sen in 1911. Beyond describing the physical layout of the Chinatown, the author recalls some of the commercial and gambling activities in the community. Ki Longfellow, China
China
Blues, Eio Books 2012, ISBN 0975925571, San Francisco's Chinatown
Chinatown
during the 1906 earthquake and in the early 1920s. ([1]) "Chinatown: Conflicting Images, Contested Terrain", K. Scott Wong, Melus (Vol. 20, Issue 1), 1995. Scholarly work discussing the negative perceptions and imagery of old Chinatowns. Pan, Lynn. Sons of the Yellow Emperor: A History of the Chinese Diaspora (1994). Book with detailed histories of Chinese diaspora communities (Chinatowns) from San Francisco, Honolulu, Bangkok, Manila, Johannesburg, Sydney, London, Lima, etc. Williams, Daniel. " Chinatown
Chinatown
Is a Hard Sell in Italy", Washington Post Foreign Service, March 1, 2004; Page A11.

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