Duck displayed in the window, a chinese man chopping with a meat cleaver and bright neon lights from shop windows. Walking through to avoid the near misses from random people we completed the obstacle course. DSLR in one hand and Google Maps in the other we navigated our way through the markets that were to come. Does anyone need cheap manmade leather belts or a nice 3-piece suit for a wedding? The suspense is killing me. If you haven’t guessed already, we are in Chinatown…

We arrived at our car park where photo shoot was going on. A fashion shoot with a photographer and a model posing with her bag. The car park was semi secure, with galvanized metal gates and a stone gravel base. Driving at slow speeds is a must unless you want to fling large chunks of stones onto passers-by. Cautiously walking from the car toward the graffiti invested walls, with flooding across the floor, we arrived at the payment terminal and was pleasantly surprised with the payment options of £4 for 4 hours OR £4.50 for 12 hours. It was a no brainer. We quickly clambered for our change from a damaged 10-year-old wallet and inserted the coins. We dropped a coin in the process, stressing as if we were going to lose the most amazing car parking deal. We proceeded to take a deep breath. Ticket printed we were off.

Hungry with our belly’s yearning for sustenance, we picked a restaurant that had a 5 rating by the Food Standards Agency. This is important if you cherish the 24 hours after! Entering the restaurant where 70% of the menu and adverts were in Chinese, we are pointing at a picture which closely resembled chilli and chicken. The waitress replied, “ahh crispy chilli chicken”, good guess, I think? Accompanying the meal was your classic egg fried rice and something extra in Singapore fried noodles. Any drinks? No thank you… Tap water for us.

Birmingham Chinese Quarter has a lot to see and just around the corner is a market. You are better off travelling by foot once you get to the vicinity of the area. The roads can get quite congested and you may get stuck in traffic at peak times. Nevertheless, you do see a wide variety of Chinese establishments, from places to drink tea to eating dinner. The Chinese quarter isn’t the biggest in the UK but its small and intimate enough for you to explore.

Writing this post has made us realise how much more of Birmingham China Town we missed. Although coming from the East Midlands it’s always a short drive away. The sights, sounds and smells were also memorable, walking past a restaurant and looking at each other saying “Mmmm that smells nice” come to mind. Visiting Chinatown was the tip of the iceberg for us, we’re planning a trip to Hong Kong. We love the street urban culture and Hong Kong seems to fit the bill. Seeing street food vendors to random people pushing carts for day to day business. It’s all so intriguing and tells a huge story.

Have you ever been to Hong Kong?
What sorts of sights would you recommend?