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Discovery of China Town in Mauritius

Written on : 25 March 2020
By : Emma Di Gesaro
Discovery of China Town in Mauritius

A neighbourhood within a neighbourhood - Chinatown in Mauritius. The island is home to various cultures and religions, so when you travel to Mauritius, you will have the opportunity to stroll around Chinatown, this typically Asian neighbourhood located in Port Louis where you can find grocery stores, restaurants and typical Asian decorations!
 
Villanovo will take you for a walk in Chinatown, a small neighbourhood that runs 500 metres along the Royal Road in Mauritius. 
 

Chinatown: the origins

Chinatown: the origins

The Asian population of the island represents 1% of the total population (about 16,000 people), therefore culture is well established in Mauritius where Asian influences can be found in the delicious local gastronomy. The presence of Chinese-Mauritians is full of history and dates back to their ancestors who arrived in the 18th century to trade on the island. Following the abolition of slavery in 1835, the English, who had colonized the island, called upon workers to cultivate in the sugar cane fields. Most of these workers came from Asia, many of them from China, and then the island experienced a wave of immigration from that same country. Most of these immigrants left to join their families for a short period of time and then planned to return to China, their country of origin. However, the political situation in their country will force them to remain safe in Mauritius, their new host country. 
 
The development of the Chinese community on the island has, however, encountered difficulties, including problems of xenophobia, not to mention a criminal fire in 1999 in a gambling hall which unfortunately destroyed one-third of Chinatown. In spite of all this, the commercial dynamism of the Chinese population in Mauritius has constantly evolved, since the first Chamber of Commerce outside China was established in Mauritius in 1908.

What to do when you're in Chinatown?

What to do when you're in Chinatown?

Chinatown is a small neighbourhood but you can spend time walking the streets and reading the history of a community on the walls of the buildings that have stood since the arrival of the first Chinese immigrants to Mauritius. Here are some activities to do if you are passing through the area: 
 
  • Observe old and new buildings
  • Taste the Chipek
  • Getting lost in the back alleys 
  • Lunch in a traditional restaurant 
  • Attend the Food Festival. 
  • Enjoy Chinese New Year if you are in Mauritius in winter
  • Book a culinary tour in China Town 
  • Talk to the locals! 
  • Buy typical products in small shops 
  • Going to see Tang Loon, the Chinatown dragon.

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