The Chinese presence in Western Australia dates back to the 1840s. In the 1980s, more than a century after their arrival, an archway was constructed to commemorate their presence. This archway stands on Roe Street in the inner city suburb of Northbridge and marks the official Chinatown in Perth.
Perth Chinatown archway
The archway was constructed as part of a commercial establishment and leads to a complex of shops unlike other archways that marks the entrances of Chinatowns.
As such, the archway do not bear the inscription of Perth Chinatown unlike most Chinatown archways.
Nevertheless, it is the most visible symbol of Perth Chinatown especially when approaching from afar.
Foodscape of Perth Chinatown
Perth Chinatown is made up of many restaurants attracting both ethnic Chinese as well as locals and tourist searching for Asian food. The foodscape in Perth Chinatown is a microcosm of the waves of Chinese migration in Perth or even Australia in general.
Visitors can find the traditional dim sum restaurants and sea food restaurants alongside the modern Chinese fusion food. With influx of students in the universities, Chinese youth food cultures such as the bubble tea also makes their presence in Perth Chinatown.
Perth Chinatown in Multi-Cultural Australia
Perth Chinatown also forms part of Australia’s multi-cultural landscape and receives support of state government to vitalise the Chinatown area.
Unlike other Chinatowns, there are no temples, clan associations, lion dance or dragon dance schools that you can visit. But that is not to say it does not exist.
These cultural capital emerge to public view during major celebrations. Like other Chinatowns around the world, Chinese New year is a big event and the celebrations becomes a site of cultural interaction. The celebrations featuring food stalls, lion dance and dragon dances, and cultural performances attracting tens of thousands of participants and audiences.
This is one Chinatown where visitors can eat their way to appreciate the layers of cultures and history. A nice way to experience and taste cultural authenticity.