Explore Manchester’s vibrant Chinatown district and find great food, culture and diversity at every turn. Read on to find out what to see and do in the area.
Among the largest in all of Europe, Manchester’s Chinatown community is brimming with things to see and do. As soon as you enter through the traditional paifang on Faulkner street it’s almost as if you’re in another world – the streets are covered in Chinese writing, you can meet people speaking their native language, and find the ingredients, items and cuisines that help make this part of town authentically Chinese.
There’s a lot more to Chinatown than just a few interesting shop fronts though – this is a place packed with interesting history and bursting at the seams with culture.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Chinatown – this unique community grew and developed over several decades as more Chinese immigrants settled in the area and shared some of their culture with the city.
Ping Hong, on Mosley Street, was the first Chinese restaurant in all of Manchester – it opened its doors in 1948 and at the time was an anomaly. It would be several more years before more restaurants like it started cropping up in the area. Thanks to relaxed immigration laws after World War II, more Chinese immigrants made Manchester their new home – more restaurants began to open, and a community developed in the heart of the city. Other businesses began to set up shop here, too – it wasn’t long before supermarkets, medicine shops, and financial and legal services started to line the streets and shape China Town into what it is today.
No visit to Manchester would be complete without a walk around Chinatown and a visit to some of its most memorable spots. From the Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport it’s easy to fly into town and settle in at a base that’s within easy reach of Chinatown and other popular attractions. While you’re here don’t miss:
- Chinese Arts Centre – The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art is a hub of Chinese culture and a great place to explore Chinese art, local and international exhibitions and take part in special festivals, events and symposia. There’s plenty here to spark your imagination and a host of touring exhibitions means even if you’ve visited before there’s plenty of new and exciting things to see.
- The Bank of East Asia – While it might look like any other bank branch, the Bank of East Asia on Charlotte Street is significant; it’s one of the largest banks in Hong Kong and opened in Manchester for the first time this year – further reinforcing the strong ties the community still has to China.
- Paifang Archway – The distinct archway that marks the entrance to Chinatown on Faulkner Street is hard to miss. But it’s more than just an interesting landmark – the traditional paifang was made in china and shipped in three parts before being assembled in Manchester. It’s adorned with dragons and phoenixes and was a gift to the Chinese people of the city from Manchester City Council.
- Guardian Telephone Exchange – Chinatown might be the last place you’d expect to find a nuclear bunker, but believe it; in World War II this underground bolthole was constructed with a series of tunnels 35 metres below the surface. Until the late 1960s no one even knew it existed – the media were banned from revealing its existence and it was built by a workforce sworn to secrecy who knew little about its intended use.
- Red Chilli – No visit to Manchester’s Chinatown would be complete without sitting down for an authentic Chinese meal. Red Chilli is a great place to start – the menu has plenty of dishes to please the uninitiated palate along with the experienced foodie.
Have you ever been to Manchester’s Chinatown?