May 02, 2013 11:05
Chinatown in Incheon is more than just a collection of historic buildings and restaurants decorated with red lanterns. It also includes a park, zoo, shopping area and serves as a venue for exciting cultural events, making it a choice spot for fun family outings -- especially for ethnic Chinese.
"I felt proud to be able to show some cultural aspects of my homeland to my child. It's also a good place to take the family in spring," said Chang Wiran, a Chinese woman who teaches Chinese language at a school in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. She visited Incheon last weekend with her family.
Serving as the first foreign community in Korea, Chinatown was formed by Chinese merchants after Incheon Port first opened in 1883. It offers opportunities to experience diverse aspects of the country's culture and cuisine, from clothing and pottery to notable buildings.
First, Chang and her family headed for a restaurant in the area's food street and ordered fried rice noodles and seafood noodles, dishes she used to enjoy back in her country. A typical Chinese meal contains many vegetables and is usually served with hot tea, she explained.
"The food here looks great, with plenty of ingredients like vegetables and seafood," Chang said. "It smells good and is very delicious."
After taking a stroll around nearby shopping streets nearby, she headed for Korea's first Western-style park, Freedom Park. This took her past a street with 77 murals that depict some of the key scenes from the 14th century historical novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms."
The park is lit up with beautiful flowers at this time of year. It also features a zoo and a statue honoring Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who led the amphibious Incheon Landing during the 1950-53 Korean War.
Wrapping up the day's journey, Chang said, "I'd like to come here again whenever I miss my hometown, or just for a family outing."
Meanwhile, a special festival to attract Chinese tourists will take place in Chinatown for three days from Friday. Marking the 130th anniversary of Incheon Port's opening, it is timed to coincide with the Chinese Labor Day holidays. It will start with an event to welcome tourists aboard the luxury Chinese cruise ship Henna, which is due to dock in Incheon on Friday. The opening ceremony will include a street parade and a concert by K-pop singers.
Over the weekend, visitors will be offered opportunities to watch performances of traditional martial arts by Chinese and Korean practitioners. K-pop fans will also be able to test their rhythm and footwork in a dancing competition. To enhance visitors' understanding of China, the performances will be clearly explained by experts. Guests will also get the chance to watch chefs make jajangmyeon, or Chinese-style black noodles, and enjoy the dish for free.
Visitors can get there by taking subway line No. 1 to Incheon Station.
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