Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lean times at London's Chinatown

London+Chinatown+Chinese+New+Year+bannerLondon's Chinatown was covered under a sea of red lanterns in the lead up to Chinese New Year celebrations as per the previous years. I'm not sure whether its my imagination but there seems to be more lanterns this time round.

Walking along Gerrard Street, you'll have the impression the canopy of lanterns is so dense that you probably wouldn't even get wet under the typical English drizzle that's threatening to plague London for the entire of the coming week.

I can't help but notice the different banner that is displayed on the gate leading to Gerrard Street. Last year, the banner reads "Welcome to London's Chinatown" - in both Chinese and English gold letterings. This time round, it reads "Feng Yi Zu Shi", which literally translates to "May we have enough to clothe and feed ourselves".
The Chinese New Year banner of 2008

Not only there's a major reduction of words used, even the letterings used are relegated to plain yellow painted rather than gold threaded. Instead of mentioning London's Chinatown, a white piece of paper with "Shaftbury Plc" was slapped at the bottom of the banner. Definitely a cost cutting measure.

Tough times seem to have hit London's Chinatown. But then again, those restaurants that lined the entire street was doing a roaring business when I was there.

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iWalk said...

It's Chinese new year's eve today, I wish you a Happy OX year!


Eaststopper said...

happy lunar new year CK!

Best wishes,

Cashmere said...

Here's wishing you a prosperous Lunar New Year! May the year of the Ox brings you more happiness.. :)

Emmie said...

funnily enough I was in a chinese restaurant yest afternoon and they were quite busy too.. although it was all you can eat for £6... cant complain really!

Happy new year to you x

Nepal Trekking said...

Happy New Year 2009

drcrab said...

Happy new year CK! :)

SheR. said...

Hm.. It's the time of the year when Chinatown is filled with people of mixed races trying to catch the festive spirit.

It was odd for me in the first year to see the restaurants packed full of non-Chinese but eventually got used to it.

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone regardless of your race! Join us in this wonderful celebration to welcome the Spring Season! :)

Joeru said...

I was @ Chinatown yesterday (25 Jan) and it was really crowded. Being typical me, I went to my fav resturant and order 1/2 a roasted duck home and overheard the chef talking abt hanged up ducks and BBQ pork, claiming: so many leftovers... Apparantly, ppl do cut down of budget! :(

EastCoastLife said...


Happy Lunar New Year!

Gennaro said...

Gung Hey Fat Choy!

C K said...

@iWalk, Cashmere, Nepal Trekking, drcrab, Gennaro,

Thanks for the wishes! May this 'bull' year brings prosperity to all.

How's the celebrations back home coming along? Must be great having dinner(s) with family and all. :)

£6? Was there a recent increase in price? Which one did you go to? My favorite buffet is Mr Wu, which faces Shaftbury Ave.

Funnily, some of my colleagues (non ethnic Chinese) have got this funny idea that they should feast at a Chinese restaurant during Chinese New Year to soak up the atmosphere.

LOL, little did they know that they're paying a premium for food that is mass produced in the kitchen. Oh well...

Just wondering which restaurant at Chinatown serves the best roast duck. I've only been to a few of them. Any recommendations?

Well, probably they are just waiting for sweep up those ducks that will be sold at a discount towards the end of the day..., no?

Thanks, I've not seen that for a looooong time. :p

kyh said...

Hey congrats on getting mentioned by the guardian! woohoo you're a famous blogger! :D

the chinatown seems vast and exciting. i'm sure it's different from the ones we hv here.