About a block inside Centro Habana from Habana Vieja’s western border, the grand entrance to El Barrio Chino, Havana’s version of Chinatown, is likely to confuse most visitors, as it’s placed three blocks from any visibly ethnic change in the neighbourhood. The entrance, a rectangular concrete arch with a pagoda-inspired roof, is south of the Capitolio Nacional, on the intersection of Amistad and Dragones, and marks the beginning of the ten or so square blocks which, at the start of the twentieth century, were home to some ten thousand Chinese immigrants. Today only a tiny proportion of El Barrio Chino is discernibly any more Chinese than the rest of Havana, principally the small triangle of busy streets comprising Cuchillo, Zanja and San Nicolás – collectively known as the Cuchillo de Zanja – three blocks west of the arched entrance. Indeed, the first thing you are likely to notice about El Barrio Chino is a distinct absence of Chinese people, the once significant immigrant population having long since dissolved into the racial melting pot. The Cuchillo de Zanja itself does, however, feature its own tightly packed little backstreet food market, composed mostly of simple fruit and vegetable stalls. It’s lined with eccentric-looking restaurants, many still charging in national pesos, where the curious and unique mixture of tastes and styles is as much Cuban as Asian. Among the better restaurants here is Tien Tan.

 

 

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Cuba features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

18 brilliant pictures of life in Cuba

18 brilliant pictures of life in Cuba

Cuba – with its gorgeous beaches, verdant countryside and time-worn capital – made it onto the Rough Guide to 2018. And as Trump tightens restrictions on US…

14 Dec 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Video: a 1 minute guide to Cuba

Video: a 1 minute guide to Cuba

From the gorgeous countryside of Viñales to the brilliant beaches of Varadero – not to mention the atmospheric, timeworn streets of Havana – Cuba is a begu…

17 Nov 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right