Barrio Chino, Panama: I Want to Go to There

I’ve had a lifelong dream to go to Havana, Cuba. Taking that flight from Vancouver or Tijuana and arriving in a city that hasn’t changed much since JFK was still rockin Marilyn Monroe a skinny suit and black tie. I mostly wanted to visit the Chinatown in Havana, and was able to, virtually, through a DVD from Cheuk Kwan of Tissa Films. A documentary called Chinese Restaurants, split into 5 DVDs spanning 5 continents:

DVD 1: Song of the Exile (Israel, South Africa, Turkey)
DVD 2: On the Islands (Mauritius, Trinidad & Tobago, Cuba)
DVD 3: Three Continents (Madagascar, Norway, Canada)
DVD 4: Latin Passions (Peru, Brazil South, Argentina)
DVD 5: Beyond Frontiers (India East, Brazil North, India West)

So when Anthony Bourdain visited Panama’s Barrio Chino and noted that 1/5 Panamanians had Chinese ancestry and the CTown was the oldest in the Americas (take that Canal & Mott!), I thought of a ridiculous Portuguese/Chinese meal I once had and wanted some of that Latin Chinese new new. Simple as that. Take a look at the episode and tell me you wouldn’t want to slurp MSG with Bourdain, himself.


5 thoughts on “Barrio Chino, Panama: I Want to Go to There

  1. Hi,
    Here in Panama, The China Town is almost dissapearing, some tends and commerces have moved to EL DORADO, another unofficial (but modern) China Town in Panama City.

    If you Want to now more about it, you can ask me through my mail.



    • Hi Denshou: I am interested in finding out what tends and commerces have moved unofficially to EL DORADO. Also I am from San Francisco, California and would like to know from you where is the best won ton mein, roasted duck,bar-b-que pork, dim sum and are there any Vietnamese, Thai restaurants in Panama City.

      Thanks in advance for any information you provide.




    • Yes, Denshu, I want to know more. I want to visit it from the US, see how the Chinese in Panama live, work and play. Do many still speak their own language? I want to meet up with a Chinese person to act as my informal guide around C-town and El Dorado. Thanks much.


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