In our days, every European capital, I think, has its own Chinatown. On village model, the Chinese immigrants settled themselves almost as casts in the same local area so that they continue to live together and live their customs even though they are at thousands of kilometers apart from their homeland.
When I first heard of such a Chinese neighborhood here, in Paris, I instantly got curious and went to have a taste of it. Interesting to say that I wasn’t at all impressed. Besides a grand boulevard with Chinese restaurants and supermarkets it wasn’t anything special about it. I am sorry that I didn’t take any pictures, because as I said I wasn’t impressed. The quarter is situated in the area of the Olympiades tower and is well known as the official Chinatown of Paris. The only thing that I liked were the women on the streets selling vegetables or homemade dishes. I even took some of their donuts, they looked like donuts, 2 euros 4 pieces , and they were actually good.
What I didn’t know at that time was that there has been another Asian neighborhood developing in the last decade in Paris – in Bellevile. It is not actually a ville it is only a Metro station in Paris that has flourished in Asian and restaurants stores like in Shanghai.
I went by on a Saturday afternoon and it was full. The streets were busy, the restaurants lively. You could easily spot the tourists coming in the neighbourhod for a cheap meal and the locals minding their own business. Everywhere were you turned your head you could read Asian.
Being a fan of Asian food, I didn’t wonder long and got into a restaurant that was packed of French and Asian people. I sat down next to a middle-aged man whom I asked if he knew the place. The man was actually a lawyer who was living in the neighbourhood and working for the Asian immigrants. He told me that I was in one of the best restaurants from the area. I got really excited.
The service was really quick, but really quick and efficient. You don’t go there to linger, you eat, pay and go. As for the meal I could hardly finish. I let you be the judge.
Awful! It’s disrespectful to what the Asian food means. Never ever get fooled like me and choosing a restaurant by looking at how many people are inside. Never ever!