China Town Port Louis (Chinese Food and Cultural Festival)

Arts & Culture Family Fun Food & Drink
Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius though being mostly known as a business centre and the busiest area for trade, hosting the only Port of the island is also home to a number of traditional and cultural treasures. One of them is China Town. Compared to China Town areas in other countries, this one is relatively small and less animated however it has its own unique charm. The China Town area runs for about 500 meters along the well-known ‘Rue Royale’ in Port Louis. It is a true cultural heritage for Mauritius.

The first wave of Chinese immigration took place during the 18th century. Thousands of voluntary migrants set sail for Port Louis from Guangzhou on board British, French, and Danish ships in the 1780s. Upon their arrival they settled along the street in the center of Port Louis and quickly formed a small Chinatown. They were working as blacksmiths, carpenters, cobblers, and tailors. Most of the first Chinese migrants spoke Cantonese but, later, those speaking Hakka grew high in number coming from Meixian, further east in Canton (modern day Guangdong). So far from their home in this foreign land of Mauritius where they did not understand the language, immigrants had a tendency to regroup. The new immigrants coming from China were directed to China Town, where it was easier for them to settle with the help of those who were already living there for some time. 3,000 Chinese contract workers arrived on the island between 1840 and 1843; by mid-century, the total population of Chinese residents reached 5,000.

Nowadays China Town is a living proof of the Chinese contribution and culture throughout the years although the Chinese community in the Mauritian population comprises only of a minority (3%). The streets in China Town are always busy on weekdays. It is common to see people rushing on the streets for business meetings / trading. The area is well-known for its tasty food; Chinese cuisine, now forms an integral part of Mauritian culture, fried noodles, dumplings, chopsuey, Pekin ducks are dishes which are appreciated by all Mauritians whatever his origin. The old shops found there have such a large variety of articles on offer ranging from toys, Chinese paintings, clothes, and books all under the same roof and at cheaper prices. There are also shops which deal in traditional medicines. The smell of Chinese spices along with authentic Chinese cakes will tease your taste buds. Any Chinese cooking ingredient you are looking for can be found there.

Every year the China Town holds a food festival which celebrates the diversity of Chinese cuisine. This is the perfect occasion to enjoy a melting pot of flavours and immerse yourself in the Chinese culture. Crowds of people gather around the spicy smelling stalls. Discover unknown dishes and traditions straight from the land of the rising sun. The event also enables you to enjoy typical Chinese shows such as; lion and dragon dance, cracking of firecrackers, street arts performances, cultural and music shows, martial arts demonstrations, chinese games, chinese calligraphy etc… This is the perfect time for a stroll in the streets with the opportunity to visit numerous shops and grocery stores selling a variety of items. Taste the delicious foods such as: noodles, dim sum, dumplings, paow, Moon-cake and many more on the menu, at the sound of traditional Chinese music.

Below are some glimpses of the event through our gallery for you to enjoy till your visit in person there!