A visit to Chinatown

Like every major city in the world, Milan too, has its Chinatown. Located between the streets of Via Paolo Sarpi, Via Bramante and Via Canonica, Milan’s Chinatown is not as picturesque as the one in London and not as big and much younger than the one in New York.

The first Chinese immigrants came to Milan in the 1920’s but only after 1979 did the real immigration wave set in, this was due to the political opening during the regime of Deng Xiaoping, increasing the number of Chinese residents in Milan up to roughly 10.000 by the time of the new Millennium.

As Milan’s Chinatown is such a young phenomenon and Italy does not have a history as an immigration country, Chinatown is the target of many prejudices and tension. The fear that many Italians have of China is mainly due to the fact that the very important fashion business suffers from dumping prices and copying.

People still tell the urban legend that “the Chinese never die” meaning they hide dead bodies and use documents for new immigrants, even though detailed research proves this to be completely untrue, unfounded and just plain rubbish.The city of Milan is discussing plans to move the entire Chinatown to a different district of the town where it is less infringing on the local community.

Whatever the development might be, Chinatown is not all about cheap products, blackmarket trade, design copying. It has a number of fantastic, interesting, authentic shops and trades that are worth visiting because they offer traditional Asian products that you get nowhere else in Italy.

So here are our Tips what to do in Chinatown:

Buy some of the various kinds of Tofu at “Da Zhong” in Via Paolo Sarpi, 4

Have a nice foot massage at Yin Yan Centro Estetico Orientale in Via P.Giannone, 6

Buy Asian food and objects at Kathay International Food Store in Via Rosmini, 11

Buy Chinese books, magazines and DVD’s at Libreria Xin Hua, Via Paolo Sarpi, 29

Eat at Jubin Restaurant in Via Bramante, 26

and if this is not enough do enter in one or the other fashion shops and have a look and have fun bargaining.

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