The 10 Most Authentic Chinatowns in the World

by Paul Joseph  |  Published January 23, 2017

2. Melbourne

A restaurant sign in Melbourne's Chinatown plays on the name of China's former Revolutionary Leader (Photo: Trans World Productions via Flickr)

A restaurant sign in Melbourne’s Chinatown plays on the name of China’s former Revolutionary Leader (Photo: Trans World Productions via Flickr)

Following the discovery of gold in Australia, the mid-19th century saw vast swathes of Chinese immigrants descend on Melbourne, hoping to build a new life of prosperity here. One of the first things they did was create a fraternal enclave where they could enjoy the kind of pursuits to which they had become accustomed back home. Whether it was feasting on authentic Chinese food, gambling or smoking opium, there was no doubt that Melbourne was now home to its own little corner of China.

Today Melbourne’s Chinatown has grown significantly, stretching between Swanston and Springs streets and with restaurants, bars, shops, arcade noodle houses and grocery stores packed in cheek by jowl, many in their original low-rise brick buildings, retaining the area’s historic character.

But that’s not all. There’s also Chinese medicine and herbalist centres, bookstores, fashion boutiques and other retail outlets in arcades such as the Village Centre, The Target Centre and Paramount Plaza, ensuring that whatever your tastes, there’ll be something here for you.

TOP TIP: Anyone seeking to learn more about the history of Chinese people in Melbourne can pop into the Chinese Museum on Cohen Place, which offers a fascinating insight into this rich heritage
MORE INFO: www.chinatownmelbourne.com.au