Chinatown centres around Gerrard Street, in the heart of London’s Soho. It is filled with red lanterns, dragons and Mandarin street signs.
It is particularly busy during the weekend, when the local Asian population flock to the shops to stock up on Chinese foodstuffs, not readily available elsewhere. And if you want a taste of China, its got the best Chinese restaurants in town.
Chinese New Year
The most colourful time to visit is during the Chinese New Year – at the end of January/early February. Huge papier-mâché dragons dance through the streets with fire-crackers banging on the pavement.
Drummerboy – “I reckon about 75% of the shops are restaurants, and the rest are either Chinese supermarkets, herbal remedy shops or travel agents offering one-way tickets back to Beijing. They’ve got a few fast-food joints but not like McDonalds. The Chinese version of Kentucky Fried Chicken has got the chickens hanging in the window, for all to see, all cooked and browned and suspended from the ceiling. The supermarkets don’t look like Sainsburys either. The ones I went into just had wooden pallets on the floor piled high with rice sacks as big as compost bags, and huge army-sized drums of cooking oil… continued.”