The Chinatown in Yangon, also called Tayoke Tan, is, if possible, even busier than the rest of Yangon. The trick is to let yourself be carried along by the crowd through the typical vibrant Chinatown-ness you can find in Chinese neighborhoods across the world. Big signs with Chinese characters fight for attention above jewelry, gold, flower, fruit, medicine and apparel shops and a variety of restaurants and food stalls beckon visitors with inviting smells, sizzling sounds and persistent attendants. There are a few temples to be found as well, such as the Guang Dong Kwan Yin Temple, where all the major Chinese festivals and celebrations are held throughout the year. These clan temples belong to either one of the two communities living in Tayoke Tan, the Hokkien community who historically mainly resided on Strand and Anawratha Road or the Cantonese community located on Mana Bandoola Road.
Especially 19th street has become a bit of a landmark and is known for the extensive barbecue stalls and the many restaurants with the small plastic chairs. The street is packed at all times of the day with locals and tourists alike. Menus are a rarity and if you don’t want dumplings or pastries, you are instead expected to point at piles of whatever skewers of meat, tofu, chicken, garlic, vegetables and seafood you want. In true Chinese build-your-own-dinner style, these skewers are then tossed on the charcoal grills or into steaming hot pots and accompanied by a big mug of draft beer. Sit down where it’s busiest, as the food there is bound to be the best.
Chinatown stretches between Shew Daung Dan Street and Shew Dagon Pagoda Road, as well as on 17th through 24th street in the Latha Township. As it is located in the center of town, it’s easiest to get there on foot or by taxi but once you reach the neighborhood, commence on foot as the streets are very busy.