The main streets are pedestrianised and always bustling with people. And a steady flow of porters with pallets and trolleys full of Asian supplies for the supermarkets constantly coming and going.
The shops, street signs and street furniture is all inspired by Chinese design. Filled with Chinese restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets and tea shops. As a result the whole area looks, feels and smells like a small taste of Asia in the heart of London. Many of the stores now represent many Asian nations not only China.
Chinatown is a focal point for London’s Chinese community and British Chinese at times of celebration. Decorated with lanterns and street art during festivals, Chinese New Year celebrations and Mooncake festival.
Also Taiwanese bubble tea stores are incredibly popular right now. Also many tourists captivated by the incredibly photographic street often stop for a few pictures and something to eat.
Chinatown bakery on Newport Place is one of a handful of Chinese bakeries. The renowned Chinatown bakeries have amazing Chinese cakes, sweets and savouries. Chinatown Bakery had the one and only Taiyaki machine until recently.
Due to popularity now two bakeries have the machines taking pride of place in the windows. Although it is very difficult to visit a bakery and leave with just one item. The sweet and savory buns are often too hard to resist for visitors to Chinatown.
Taiyaki are Japanese fish shaped cakes. The bakeries use an ingenious and industrial looking machine to make the Tai-yaki cakes. So they are available fresh in store all day.
The Taiyaki making machines are in the windows of the stores rather than hidden in the back. And they certainly draw a crowd on the street outside, everyone keen to see the whole process of producing a cake.
The machines have heated fish shaped mounds. So initially batter pumps from above a fish shaped mould filling it level. Then After a few seconds cooking a second pump injects some custard in the centre. Finally a skillful operator removes cakes from the hot machine moulds. All resulting in a warm custard filled batter fish shaped cake. They are delicious especially still warm from the machine.
Check out my other videos and blog posts from London’s Chinatown for more great things to see, do and taste.