The name Chinatown has been used at different times to describe different places in London. The present Chinatown is near the Soho area of the City of Westminster, occupying the area in and around Gerrard Street. It contains a number of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, souvenir shops, and other Chinese-run businesses.

The Chinese presence is everywhere. Just like there is a Chinatown in Manhattan and a Chinatown in Singapore, London too has it own exclusive Chinatown located in the Gerard Street area.Liecester place and Liecester Street both head north into Chinatown. It may be tiny in comparison to other cities, but then it is not really the home of London's Chinese Community, more like its market place. Lisle street is lined with restaurants and supermarkets, while pedestrianized Gerrard Street has been "themed" with Shinoiserie street furniture and gaytes to complement another stretch of busy restaurants. Both streets meet in Newport Place.

The London Chinatown is a vibrant part of the city full of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, souvenir shops, and other Chinese-run businesses.

History of Chinatown of London

A major tourist attraction, the history of the London Chinatown dates back to the late 18th century. The first Chinese settlers in London were those employed on ships owned by the East India Company Concentrated around Gerrard Street, it is close to Leicester Square, to the west of the Charing Cross Road.

One has to go back to the 1950's when the Chinese from Hong Kong started immigrating to UK and started making their fortune through the booming catering trade. Chinatown London is packed with Chinese traders who worked on the East India ships and also fresh immigrants following the handover of Hong Kong to Communist China. Cantonese and Szechuan restaurants dot this part of London and attract thousands of guests every day.

Supermarkets specializing in exotic oriental cooking ingredients are also a favorite among visitors to the London Chinatown.With the passage of time, the Chinese community began to prosper. Today Chinatown London covers a stretch between Shaftesbury and Leicester Square.Although initially the Leicester Square area was synonymous with filth and squalor, with time as the Chinese Community prospered, the British government spruced up the area and gave it a whole new look bearing in mind the mega bucks that tourism could generate through such an effort.

Today as you enter London's Chinatown, designer Chinese gates, Chinese shops and of course the Chinese restaurants dot the landscape. You will be surprised to see Chinese pagodas at the entry and exit of each street.
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