Located in the district of Jung-gu, Incheon China Town is the largest of its kind in South Korea and dates as far back as 1884. It’s packed with shops selling Chinese goods and traditional foods, as well as being home to a Chinese temple and an elaborate entrance gate.
In the 1940s, Incheon China Town was renowned for its shops selling Chinese silk, oriental medicine and chinaware, but regulations against the Chinese during the Korean War saw the population reduced and the area’s prominence heavily diminished. Today most of the businesses in the area have been transformed into Chinese restaurants which serve up sweet and sour pork, noodles with black soybean sauce and moon cakes to tourists, as well as traditional gongal pita bread. It’s a good place to shop for Chinese tea and antique pottery, in addition to traditional qipao dresses. The History of Three States Mural Street features colourful murals detailing influential historic events between China and Korea, while the Korea and China Cultural Center fosters the relationship between the two nations. There’s also the Chinese Village Culture Experience which offers a glimpse into the rural life and is fronted by the impressive, 11 metre-high Paeru entrance gate, as well as the Jajangmyeon Museum which explores the history of this much-loved Korean Chinese noodle dish.
Incheon China Town is easily accessed from Seoul by subway to Incheon Station, with the grand entrance gate visible across the street from its exit. It’s also just a short walk away from many of Incheon’s other sights, including “Jayu”, or Freedom Park, the Sinpo Market and the Dapdong Catholic Church.
Incheon China Town emerged following the signing of the China-Korea Treaty in 1882 and the opening of the Incheon Port the next year, with Incheon being a designated extraterritoriality of the Ching Dynasty. By 1892 there were more than 600 Chinese living in Incheon, with many residents today being 2nd or 3rd generation Chinese.