The 10 Most Authentic Chinatowns in the World

by Paul Joseph  |  Published January 23, 2017

10. Vancouver

A store teeming with authentic Chinese ephemera in Vancouver's Chinatown district (Photo: John C via Flickr)

A store teeming with authentic Chinese ephemera in Vancouver’s Chinatown district (Photo: Roy Duffield)

In recent years, Chinese investment and immigration from the Far East has served to change the face of Vancouver – for better or worse. But its history of opening its doors to Chinese arrivals stretches much further, and its Chinatown district was actually established way back in 1885.

The largest Chinatown in Canada, the district is centred on Pender Street, surrounded by Gastown and the Downtown Financial and Central Business Districts to the west, stretching for several blocks east. The vast space given over to the area means that the assortment of esoteric produce available is simply incredible. From Chinese herbs and spices to jade and silks, if it’s Chinese in provenance then you’re almost certain to find it here. Specialist shops dotted along East Pender and Keefer streets are particularly popular.

Other notable attractions nestled in Vancouver’s Chinatown include the Chinese Cultural Centre, which provides a useful introduction to the role of the Chinese in western Canada’s history, and the world’s narrowest commercial building – the Sam Kee Building – which is just 1.5 metres wide.

TOP TIP: For a quick pit-stop, pop into Perks Café on Pender Street, which serves up organic locally roasted coffee & tea to pair with home-made fresh baked goods, including the legendary Bacon Cookie.
MORE INFO: www.vancouver-chinatown.com