One of the best things about large cities is that they are not uniform, and behind every street corner you might as well find something new, something that you haven’t encountered before. And large cities tend to have little pockets of culture where people have retained their own sense of style, and sometimes language and culture. Ethnic enclaves might have started out as something else, but today they tend to be oases of color and uniqueness inside cities. Plus, they are the go-to place if you are in search of ‘authentic’ cuisine and products, as well as interesting sights. Here are 5 great ethnic neighborhoods from around the world, for travelers who want to break the monotony.
Tokyo sur Seine, Paris, France
Granted, Paris is visited by many Japanese tourists, but few would think that enough Japanese live in the French capital for an entire little Tokyo quarter. Tokyo sur Seine, not far from the famous Opera Garnier, is not a residential quarter, and it appeared because of the many duty-free shops on Rue St Anne, which attracted Japanese tourists. Soon, handfuls of Japanese restaurants popped up in the area, and you can find anything from noodle shops and Japanese fast-foods to the world famous restaurant Issei.
Southall, London, UK
London might be fun, but it does tend to be rather drab and grey when the weather is cloudy. But that’s not the case in Southall, London’s Little India, where come rain or shine everything is bright and colorful. Look at display windows stuffed with saris in all the colors of the rainbow, stop by the Sikh temple and don’t forget to eat a plate of curry at one of the pubs or restaurants.
Grønland, Oslo, Norway
Grønland in Oslo is a cultural melting pot with shops selling foods and wares from all over the world, but it is often called Little Karachi due to the large Pakistani community living and working in the area. There are tons of restaurants in the area, and although the neighborhood used to get bad rap, nowadays it is becoming increasingly modernized and friendly.
Chinatown, Toronto, Canada
Toronto’s Chinatown was established sometime in the 19th century and has grown to be one of the largest and busiest Chinatowns in the world. Although it was home to mostly Chinese immigrants in the past, today the Chinatown shows off a mix of various East-Asian cultures. You can find Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants, several malls and some interesting tourist attractions.
Greektown, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne has the third largest Greek population in the world, after Athens and Thessaloniki, so naturally its Greektown is quite lively. There is a nice selection of Greek restaurants on Lonsdale street, as well as souvenir shops and even travel agencies that specialize in Greek holidays.