Mexico City’s Chinatown is crowded, frenzied, and chaotic — but in an oddly great sort of way.
The neighborhood traces its origins in the late 18th century when Chinese immigrants began to arrive in Mexico en masse to work on railroads and other construction projects.
In years past Mexico City’s Chinatown had a bit of a bad reputation for pickpocketing and petty crime and as result, many folks chose to stay away. But thankfully in 2018, the area was remodeled and has been thriving ever since.
The main draw for most visiting Barrio Chino, as it is known, unsurprisingly is the food. Just about everywhere you look you will spot appetizing dim sum and dumpling joints.
But this being Mexico, the food on offer is not limited to restaurants, as countless popup shops and makeshifts stands offer up everything from ramen to Japanese edamame.
But it’s not just Chinese food up for offer, as Japanese, Korean and Thai options are also plentiful.
Other large Asian diasporas have long made up Mexico City’s vibrant makeup. Aside from the Chinese, one of these largest groups are made up of Koreans, some of whom can trace their family history in Mexico to over 200 years.
If you are craving sweets, CDMX China Town has something for just about everyone, though I am not sure how authentic some of these offerings really are.
One of the most popular times for sale appears to be colorful sweet buns, but alas, after my dumpling I was already way too full to try anything else.
Mexico City’s Chinatown covers an area of about four square city blocks and also features all sorts of stores and shops selling everything from stuffed animals, to action figures and video games.
The area is also a popular meeting place for Otakus, which is to say aficionados of anime and manga subcultures.
Despite a large number of businesses, the area does have a couple of small parks which are a little more relaxed, including the Parque Santos Degollado.
Perhaps surprisingly and perhaps not, it’s possible to find taco restaurants featuring both Chinese and Spanish signage here.
So next time you find yourself in Mexico’s largest city, make your way down to its historic Chinatown, and don’t be afraid to sample all of the sights and sounds it has to offer.
If you go
For anyone in the area but not staying downtown, CDMX Chinatown’s nearest Metro stop is San Juan de Letrán, and ride-sharing apps are fairly inexpensive and plentiful, as well.