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Decorated streets, Chinese restaurants and aroma-filled shops

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Chinese Food Shops
Chinese Restaurants
Decorated Streets
Chinese New Year (Jan/Feb)
There has been a Chinese community in London since the 19th century. Originally they were concentrated around the East End docks, frequented by Chinese sailors.
The area became known for its slum housing and tales of opium dens, rather than the Chinese restaurants and supermarkets in the current Chinatown. Following extensive damage by aerial bombing during the Second World War and an influx of immigrants from Hong Kong, a Chinese community was established in Soho, where an ever expanding Chinatown has been created.
Chinatown today contains decorated archways, many Chinese restaurants and aroma-filled shops selling oriental produce. In late January, the Chinese New Year is celebrated in a colourful street festival, with massive paper-Mache animals dancing through the streets.

Did You Know?

Samuel Johnson and Joshua Reynolds met at the Turk's Head Tavern (now 9 Gerrard Street) to found The Dining Club in 1764.

Part of a Dragons Head at the Chinese New Year celebrations
Photo © Phillie Casablanca

The Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac relates an animal to a 12 year cycle. In Chinese astrology the animal sign in the year of your birth, determines your personality as follows:
Tiger – Unpredictable, rebellious, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive
Rabbit – Gracious, kind, sensitive, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic
Dragon – Stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, direct, dignified, eccentric
Snake – Wise, mystic, graceful, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd
Horse – Cheerful, popular, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative
Sheep – Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, shy, artistic, creative, gentle
Monkey – Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative
Rooster – Neat, meticulous, organized, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist
Dog – Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive
Pig – Gallant, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere
Rat – Forthright, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, intellectual
Ox – Dependable, ambitious, calm, methodical, patient, hardworking

Which animal are you?


Visitor Information
A good time to visit Chinatown is during the evening. Most restaurants and shops are open very late! The nearest tube station is Leicester Square.

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