The History of China Town

To celebrate the approaching Chinese New Year we are fully embracing all things Chinese. Whether that is sitting down with your friends and enjoying a hot mug of Green Tea, or heating up some spicy noodles with Bao dumplings to celebrate the Year of the Dog. To embrace the Chinese culture, we are going to explore the wonderful world of Chinatown.

gate at China Town

London’s own Chinatown is an exciting escape from the cosmopolitan city, allowing you to transport yourself to the busy streets of Beijing and savour traditional Chinese cooking. Along with being a must-see tourist attraction for anyone when visiting London whether that be for a day or for a weekend, visiting China Town is an important ritual in sampling many hidden treasures and recipes that have been passed on from generation to generation.

The history of Chinatown is long and has been firmly established in London, originally located in the East End, the community of bustling restaurants and businesses were in place back in the 1950s. yet it was during the 1980s that Chinatown as we know it was formed, when the now familiar gates, street furniture and pavilion were put in place.

Before being established in the 80s, Chinatown was previously located in the Limehouse area of East London around the Docklands to cater to Chinese sailors who found themselves in London.

The area become known for its legal opium dens, yet it was during the blitz in World War 2 when much of the docklands was destroyed, forcing many businessman and families to move elsewhere for sanctuary.

The area that Chinatown is now based was once farm land used for military training that was sold off to create space for housing after the Great Fire of London. It’s hard to believe that the vibrant centre of China Town had such humble and unplanned origins and has become a must-see attraction for visitors in London who are wanting to experience authentic Asian cooking and learn a new cuisine.

For those wanting to learn a new skill or try their hand at cooking up some authentic Chinese cuisine, School of Wok in Covent Garden offers classes in all styles of cooking, varying from Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese takeaway to Thai.

For those who are wanting to expand their cooking skills outside of a class room, why not purchase Jeremy Pangs cookbook, Hong Kong Diner. A fantastic cookbook, stuffed full of easy to follow recipes that will get you excited to get cooking.