[[quoteright:350:[[Film/BigTroubleInLittleChina http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/big_trouble_in_little_china.png]]]]

It is a known fact of social sciences that minority ethnic groups in a foreign country tend to bunch together, often for company and mutual protection -- not to mention, for new immigrants, being able to talk to people. In the American West through the 1880s and '90s, mob violence against the 'heathen Chinee' living in smaller towns led to the survivors' leaving to live in a few Chinatowns in the larger cities.

One manifestation of this is "Chinatowns", which feature in countless cities worldwide. Streets with ''paifang'' arches at the entrance, full of Chinese restaurants, shops, acupuncturists, and so on, they have become a rich source for scriptwriters (who for some reason have not noticed how modern day Chinatowns have become mostly pan-Asian affairs, with Chinese herbal stores, Japanese electronic stores, and Vietnamese noodle shops all next to each other).

Want to have [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triad]] members in a story? Have them in Chinatown. Ming dynasty vases being sold illegally? Chinatown. [[OpiumDen Opium Dens]]? Chinatown. People who [[AllAsiansKnowMartialArts know martial arts]]? Chinatown. You don't even need to leave your own city!

Additional note: if someone is trying to skip town in the Northeastern US, they may end up in Chinatown for the notorious--but cheap and until recently little-known--[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinatown_bus_lines bus services]].

Expect a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_dance dragon dance]] at some point even though those are only done [[ItsAlwaysMardiGrasInNewOrleans during Chinese New Year]].


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Used extensively in ''Manga/PetShopOfHorrors'' and its sequel, ''New Pet Shop of Horrors'' (re-titled ''Tokyo Pet Shop of Horrors'' by Tokyopop). The beginning of the mangas and of each volume clearly underlines that Chinatown is a mysterious, thrilling, and dangerous place to which people are basically attracted like moths to flames. And they're full of cruel exotic Chinese who might or might not be non-humans.
* ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'' has one on a deserted island.
** China has one built in the Allied Powers' conference room one day. It would seem China has a team on call to build one whenever he wants dumplings.
* The Digital World has a Chinatown, as revealed in an episode of ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02''.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ''ComicBook/DoubleHappiness''.
* In ''ComicBook/LeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'', [[Literature/FuManchu the Devil Doctor]] is based in London's Limehouse district.
* Subverted in ''Comicbook/DoctorStrange: The Oath'', where Strange and Wong visit a disreputable pawnshop in Chinatown in search of a magical cure for Wong's ailment and nearly get mugged for their trouble.


[[folder: Film ]]

* Polanski's ''Film/{{Chinatown}}'', of course, though it appears as a setting only briefly.
* In ''Film/{{Gremlins}}'', Randall Peltzer buys Gizmo at the Chinatown in New York. In the [[Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch sequel]], Daniel Clamp (a bit of a Donald Trump [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed parody]]) is buying property there to build a shopping centre.
-->"Where business gets [[IncrediblyLamePun oriented]]."
* The 1994 film version of ''Film/TheShadow'' - it's where Cranston meets with Shiwan after the latter sends a mind-controlled Margo to Cranston's home.
* ''Film/GangsOfNewYork'' features the 1860s prototype to Chinatown.
* ''Film/{{Tanguy}}'' features the French Chinatown, set in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. The title character briefly moves there, probably to indulge his Asiaphilia (he later moves to China proper).
* The setting of ''Film/BigTroubleInLittleChina'', as the title implies. San Francisco's Chinatown, be to specific.
* Parodied in ''Film/TheDictator'', where one of the places Aladeen goes after being deposed is New York's "Little Wadiya" neighborhood, [[spoiler:whose population seems to be entirely made up of people Aladeen had ordered executed, but escaped and fled the country]].


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Amy Tan uses San Francisco's Chinatown as a setting for some of her stories. Waverly in ''Literature/TheJoyLuckClub'' is named for Waverly Place. You can briefly see some Chinatown streets in the Young Waverly sequence of the film version. Mrs. Louie in ''Literature/TheKitchenGodsWife'' lives and has her flower shop there.
* ''[[Literature/GoldenMountainChronicles Child of the Owl]]'' by Creator/LaurenceYep has the main character Casey being sent to live with her maternal grandmother, Paw-Paw, in San Francisco's Chinatown, and thereby getting connected with her Chinese roots. A number of other books by Laurence Yep are also set in Chinatown or have the characters visiting it.
* The heroine of Literature/SafeHaven flees to Philadelphia when escaping her abusive husband and heads to Chinatown, knowing she'll find cheap places to stay and plentiful waitressing jobs (it's the only skill she has).


[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' story ''The Talons of Weng-Chiang''.
* ''Series/MacGyver''
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' episode "Hell Money", one of the few episodes where the threat they face is largely unsupernatural (though still extremely weird). Chinese gangsters running a crooked betting parlour where desperate people wager away their eyeballs & internal organs. When these guys say "I left my heart in San Francisco", they ain't kidding!
* ''Series/TheSopranos'': The New York family that Tony's feuds with hangs out in Little Italy, which is rapdily being swallowed by Chinatown in real life. The characters comment on this.
* ''Series/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent'': "Chinoiserie"
** In general Chinatown is a fairly common setting in all parts of the ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' franchise. Commonly the plots involve Chinese gangsters and [[TheIllegal illegal]] [[AsianHookerStereotype prostitutes.]]
* ''Series/FatherTed'' puts a Chinatown on Craggy Island.
* ''Series/MagnumPI'' and ''Series/HawaiiFiveO'' often had stories set in Honolulu's Chinatown, not the least reason being the distinctive '30s architecture and the (until recently, TruthInTelevision) dangerous and seedy reputation of the main street in Chinatown, Hotel Street. In fact, the Wo Fat building, a Chinatown landmark, had its name borrowed by ''Hawaii 5-0's'' production staff for one of their recurring villains, a [[RedChina Chinese communist agent]].
* Philadelphia has a large Chinatown that for some reason never appears in fiction. Except in ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' the gang occasionally visit Philly's Chinatown. In one episode, the gang discusses how disappointed they are that Chinatown is nothing like ''Film/BigTroubleInLittleChina'', and Charlie is astounded by a group of men passing fish back and forth on the sidewalk. In another episode, Charlie and Dee seek out exotic meat at a grotesque Chinatown butcher shop and purchase some monkey.
* An odd, apparently RippedFromTheHeadlines plot began circulating on PoliceProcedural shows in 2008 that featured the ancient (and increasingly rare) Chinese practice of "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_marriage_%28Chinese%29 ghost brides]]": the family of a young man who died before getting married had a spiritual ArrangedMarriage with a deceased girl. The shows' plots revolved around the twist that whoever was arranging the ghost weddings ignored the ''deceased'' part for the prospective spiritual daughter-in-law. Shows that used this plot:
** ''Series/{{Numb3rs}}'', using Los Angeles' real Chinatown
** ''Series/{{Bones}}''
** ''Series/WithoutATrace''
** The headline in question may have been the story of Luen-chow Chan and Ai-ling Li of Kuala Lumpur, which turns up every so often in "believe it or nots". It seems that they'd been engaged while alive, but he died of cancer and she subsequently killed herself. His mother dreamed that he asked her to arrange for a ghost wedding, and she complied.
* In ''Series/KungFu: the Legend Continues'', Caine lives in the Chinatown area of the show's nameless city, and unsurprisingly much of the action takes place there.
* Parodied on ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' with Wee Britain.
* Twice in ''Series/{{Castle}}''. The first time, the team travels to Chinatown to infiltrate an illegal gambling club with Russian mobsters. The second time, the team clashes with a Chinese mob family when they are connected to a murder involving a cop's stolen gun.
* Episode 2 of ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' deals with a tong gang searching for a Chinese artifact stolen by a smuggler.
* [[http://youoffendmeyouoffendmyfamily.com/an-open-letter-to-tv-writers-on-how-to-write-your-%E2%80%98chinatown%E2%80%9D-episode/ This blog post]] points out several cliches of "Chinatown episodes."
* Emerson Cod's detective agency in ''Series/{{PushingDaisies}}'' is above a Chinese restaurant in their city's Chinatown.
* ''Series/{{Deadwood}}'': the town of Deadwood has a sizable Chinese population who are usually called "celestials, referring to the "Celestial Empire" of China. They live in "Celestial Alley," and are ruled by Mr. Wu, who runs a laundry (to clean out bloodstains), owns pigs (for handy corpse disposal), and sells opium.

[[folder: Music ]]
* The OpiumDen-filled Chinatown in Music/CabCalloway's songs, such as "Minnie the Moocher" and "Kickin' the Gong Around", is at an unspecified city.
* Also unspecified is the location of the "funky Chinatown" in Carl Douglas' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhUkGIsKvn0 "Kung Fu Fighting"]]
* "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMk4dSy8OhQ Chinatown, My Chinatown]]" is a classic Tin Pan Alley song from the 1910s. Col. Potter sings it in a ''Series/{{MASH}}'' episode when he's going to Tokyo on leave.
* In the "Hot Hot Hot" video, [[Music/NewYorkDolls Buster Poindexter]] and his retinue conga through New York's Chinatown, with a small amount of dragon motif paraphnalia.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* ''Literature/FlowerDrumSong'' is about Chinese residents of "UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco, UsefulNotes/{{California}}, U.S.A."


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' series has featured [[NoCommunitiesWereHarmed fictional counterparts]] of San Francisco's and New York City's Chinatowns. ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' even had a Koreatown, based off of the one in Los Angeles.
* ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines''
* The ''VideoGame/DinosaurKing'' episode "Beast or Famine" ("Dinosaur Hotel" in Japanese), took place in one of Japan's Chinatowns.
* Chinatown is an arena in ''[[BackyardSports Backyard Football]]''.
* A small portion of Millenium City in ''VideoGame/ChampionsOnline'' has a Chinatown aspect, complete with martial arts baddies (and a low level NPC vigilante group), fireworks at night, and at least one Temple Arch. No dragon dances, however.
* The San Francisco of ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}'' prominently features a Chinatown, re-settled [[AfterTheEnd after the Great War]] by the crew of a Chinese submarine. It was a Chinatown before the war, too, but its inhabitants had fled or died before the Shi made landfall.
* One level in ''VideoGame/BatmanDoom'' is set in Chinatown. Buddhist iconography, paper lanterns and shuriken-tossing Asian thugs abound.
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'', you can visit one of these by using a psychoanalytic jar to view the Suspicious-Looking Guy's Shady Past.
* A level in ''VideoGame/TheMatrixPathOfNeo'' is set in one of the Matrix's Chinatowns. Most of the buildings are covered with Chinese symbols and paper lanterns. You have to rescue a herbalist from police and Agents, with some brief help by a local gang.
* ''VideoGame/MadWorld'''s second level is supposedly one of these, made up of [[CultureChopSuey a medley of Chinese and Japanese stereotypes]]. Jack's VoiceWithAnInternetConnection snarks that "Asian-Town" looks like a more like a garish [[TheThemeParkVersion theme park attraction]] and doubts that it's designers had ever actually been to a real Chinatown, let alone anywhere in Asia.
* One of the neighborhoods in ''VideoGame/SunsetOverdrive'''s Sunset City is "Little Tokyo", complete with a large Japanese History Museum at it's center. You wind up visiting there several times in the story, since the museum is where one of your allied groups, Troop Bushido, have made camp.
* Lee Pai Long's stages from the first two ''VideoGame/ArtOfFighting'' games were both located in South Town's Chinatown.
* ''RacingLagoon'' has a [[AmazonBrigade street racing gang]] residing in the local Chinatown of South Yokohama, where they holds drag-race tournaments.
* ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' has Orient Town, a city full of Chinese-related stuffs, as you can see them doing Chinese martial arts katas or some of them delivering meat buns being the background, and also the temporary home of [[AnimeChineseGirl Litchi Faye-Ling]], whom the town seems ''very'' enarmored to. They're located at the 1st and 2nd game's setting, the 13th Hierarchical Town Kagutsuchi.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'', Uncle's Antiques Shop is in San Francisco's Chinatown.
* Played with on ''TheSimpsons'' which has had at various points a Chinatown (which picks on Tibettown), a Russia-town, Little Italy, "Guidopolis", Lower West Side (read: Yiddish) and at least half a dozen nonsensical 'ethnic' towns.
** Also inverted, when the family visit "Americatown" while vacationing in Japan.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' has Asiantown.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' had "Little Ireland".


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity's Chinatown is in the southern part of Manhattan, next to Little Italy ([[CaptainObvious a very Italian neighborhood]]) and the Lower East Side (home of YiddishAsASecondLanguage). That whole area of the island used to be cheap housing, so a lot of immigrants could afford to live there, and they naturally formed communities based on common language. (This also probably explains the stereotype of Jews eating Chinese food, particularly [[PekingDuckChristmas on Christmas]].)
** Since the 1970's two more Chinatowns have sprung up, one around Flushing in Queens and another in Brooklyn.
* Historically, the [[LondonTown London]] Chinatown was in Limehouse, it moved west to the Shaftesbury Avenue area. Contrary to the anit-Chinese rumors, it looks like it did ''not'' have any {{opium den}}s.
* Washington DC has a Chinatown, which features as a fixed address destination in just about every show set in DC, despite being ''really'' puny. (Same with "the red-light district"). Its problem is that it's right next to the massive Verizon Center sports arena and entertainment complex. Though, it does have the largest Chinese arch, and in order to prop up the bit of non-corporate culture in the area, the city has passed a law requiring all non-Chinese chain stores in the area (and the German Cultural Center) to post signs in Chinese.
* [[StargateCity Vancouver's]] Chinatown, which subbed for the real deal in the horror film ''Live Feed'', is home to the skinniest building in the world (the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Kee_Building Sam Kee Building]]). A minor point of irony is that while Chinatown is still overwhelmingly Chinese, complete with gates at some entrances and odd little medicine shops, downtown is seen as a fairly "white" part of the Greater Vancouver Area, and the City of Richmond to the south is far more predominantly Asian. To be fair, Vancouver actually has a large population of Asians, most likely due to being located on the West Coast.
* UsefulNotes/{{Toronto}} has a large Chinese population, with six Chinatowns in the Greater Toronto Area, most featuring signage in Chinese and other East Asian languages. Much like in other North American cities, the oldest Chinatown in downtown Toronto is steadily becoming more Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Chinese.
* [[UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}} The Windy City]] also has one, which too is imaginatively referred to as Chinatown.
* [[UsefulNotes/SaoPaulo São Paulo]] has Bairro da Liberdade which is something like this, but with a little twist, instead of Chinese people--it has Japanese people.
** Another "Japantown" can be found in Düsseldorf, Germany.
* UsefulNotes/{{Boston}}'s Chinatown made an appearance in ''Film/TheDeparted''; it used to have something of a reputation, but nowadays is no more dangerous than any other major urban center.
* And of course UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco has the largest, oldest, and most famous Chinatown in America.
* UsefulNotes/{{Seattle}}'s Chinatown, like Vancouver's, hasn't really appeared in anything, but like Boston's used to have a more unsavory rep, partly due to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wah_Mee_massacre the Wah Mee Massacre]]. Of interesting note is that Chinatown isn't even very Chinese; while the largest Asian population within it ''is'' Chinese, there's still a very large amount of Vietnamese and Japanese scattered within it, along with every other conceivable Asian population. Again, however, like Vancouver, there are places in Seattle which are still more Asian than the Chinatown: Beacon Hill comes to mind.
* Historically, nearly every City and small town in California had a Chinatown (Pasadena and Santa Barbara's were single city blocks). Even [[DoomedHometown Bodie]] had one with a population of 228.
* Manila's Chinatown is the first and oldest existing one, dating back to 1594. Formerly called Parian, it was now called Binondo.
* Houston has two, the original east of downtown (aka. East End or [=EaDo=]) and the second in southwest Houston which is far bigger and has Vietnamese and other Asian populations as well.
* There's also not one, but three Chinatowns in Japan. The largest of these, and the largest in the world, is located in Yokohama; the oldest one is in Nagasaki and is probably the second-oldest in the world after Manila's, dating back to the 16th century.
* In an aversion the Max transit stop in Portland Or, "old town/chinatown" is not just not a WretchedHive of Tongs, and Opium Dens, it is not even Chinese at least in appearance. For the matter of that it doesn't look very old either. There would have been a lot of Chinese immigrants in Portland in old times though, so perhaps a real chinatown was simply overbuilt.
* Chinatown in UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}} is rather interesting for three reasons:
## It has successfully fought off what its residents consider several different attempts to destroy it, including several highway-construction projects and an abortive attempt by the [[UsefulNotes/MLBTeams Phillies]] to build a new stadium there in the 90s. The highway project-thwarting probably kept Center City[[note]]Read: downtown[[/note]] from the corrupting influence of expressways, so a lot of historic Philly has Chinatown to thank for still existing, or at least for having a nice view.
## It contains/is right next to (depending on your definition) the house where UsefulNotes/ThomasJefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Seriously. The library built next door has Chinese signage on it.
## It contains a rather high number of HongKong-style bakeries, which are a somewhat unusual sight in modern American Chinatowns.
* [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] in the case of The Bund in UsefulNotes/{{Shanghai}} as a Western (chiefly Britain and [[UsefulNotes/TheBritishEmpire its various subjects]], with American and French influence making up much of the rest; there was also German, Russian, Belgian, Dutch, Danish, Italian, and later Japanese presence) enclave of architecture and culture within a Chinese city. Arose with the opening of several Chinese cities via the Unequal Treaties of the mid- and late-19th Century (Shanghai becoming the most prominent center of Western-driven finance and trade) and persisted until the UsefulNotes/SecondSinoJapaneseWar and the establishment of the People's Republic of China a few years later (which led to all those trading and banking institutions moving to Hong Kong).
** Tianjin, which is also a port city in China, but further north and closer to Beijing, has similar places. Known as Concessions of Tianjin, the area saw similar history as the Shanghai one, although the buildings are preserved and serve as the old district of Tianjin.
* Liverpool also has the oldest Chinatown in Europe that dates back to the early 19th century.
* [[UsefulNotes/{{Sydney}} Sydney's]] Chinatown is the largest in the country and is part of a chain of smaller satellite Chinatowns such as Cabramatta or Chatswood. Noted worldwide for being one of the safest and cleanest Chinatowns in the world, it also has the Chinese Garden of Friendship, a gift to Sydney from its sister city Guangzhou.
* UsefulNotes/{{Melbourne}} has the longest continual Chinatown in the entirety of the western world, centered around the eastern half of Little Bourke Street. Victoria Street in Richmond is a prominent Vietnamese area. The suburb of Box Hill also has a prominent Chinese population. Bendigo also has Chinese descended from the miners during the Victorian Gold Rush.
* The commercial venue [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrio_Patronato Patronato]] from Santiago, UsefulNotes/{{Chile}} is an interesting example. It didn't start as a Chinatown, but as a general commercial district with Middle-Eastern influences [[note]](Chile has large Lebanese and Christian-Palestinian communities)[[/note]] but specially from TheNineties onwards it attracted Chinese and Korean families that opened their business there. Anyone can find several Asian owned stores where they sell clothing, accessories, gifts, traditional foods and apparel, etc. Many of these shops have an Asian architecture and some are exclusively catered toward Asian costumers, like stores selling unsubed Korean doramas. However, several other stores are owned by Chilean families and one can even find shops that sell products from all over the world, and there are still many Middle-Eastern themed places as well.
* UsefulNotes/{{South Korea}} has several of those, but the most notable ones are in UsefulNotes/{{Seoul}} and Incheon. The original Chinatowns formed a century ago when the country opened it's gates have only traces of it left, due to the harsh policies of the military government towards overseas Chinese who they thought would be a major threat as they gained massive financial power in Southeast Asian countries over time. The new ones are being populated by Korean Chinese, who are ethnically Koreans but culturally Chinese as they were born in China and have spent their entire lives at there.
* Even [[OopNorth Newcastle ]] has a Chinatown. It consists of a single small street near to St James Park, with a couple of Chinese restaurants and a Chinese supermarket. However, a very ornate gate will fool you into thinking it's bigger than it looks.