Chinatown

Amsterdam's Chinatown has exploded in the past few years. It's gone beyond it's confines in the Red Light District and is now spilling over past the Nieuwmarkt. To call it "Chinatown" is a misnomer of course, because the area include numerous Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian restaurants, shops, salons, apothecaries, markets and more.

A transformation in a good part of the Red Light District has occured thanks to the success of the many restaurants in the area, and the introduction of new ones. Add to this the reconstruction of many fašades, and the repaving of the streets, and this district has been metamorphized from seedy to inviting. The hordes of hungry tourists in the area can attest to this.

The Oriental Supermarket facing the Nieuwmarkt is just one of the success stories in the area. The number of good quality Thai restaurants has not just tourists, but locals flocking in to feast on Tom Yam soup and Phad Thai.

Yes, the ducks still hang in the windows of the REAL Chinese restaurants where the waiters will probably converse with you in English since their Dutch isn't so great. When I say REAL Chinese, I mean as opposed to Indonesian Chinese which is a strange variant which I find a bit greasier and lacking the finesse of true Chinese cuisine. Those Indonesian Chinese restaurants don't usually have much in the way of regional Chinese cuisine, like say spicy Sichuan or Hunnan.

Besides restaurants and markets (which are great for stocking up for your home-cooked Asian meals), there are some very interesting shops with all sorts of dry goods from China. Everything from Dragon masks to ceramics to incense can be found in these stores.

The new Fo Kuang Shan temple, a Taiwanese organization, on the Zeedijk is a testament to the religious tolerance in Holland, as well as the prosperity of the local Chinese.

You can also find apothecaries selling all sorts of Asian remedies for whatever ails you. Martial arts schools can focus your mind and body and help develop confidence and clarity. It's interesting to note that the Zeedijk is now completely free of prostitutes and coffeeshops! Wow!

So the "new" Chinatown in Amsterdam has already transformed the Red Light District into a more friendly place for tourists and locals to enjoy Asian culture and great food!

Note: Amsterdam's Chinatown has exploded in the past few years. It's gone beyond it's confines in the Red Light District and is now spilling over past the Nieuwmarkt.





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