Kind, warm, friendly, nice people: Asia’s (and Chinatown’s) authenticity

Sara is a young woman from Spain who moved to the Netherlands in 2013. Back then, she lived in The Hague and discovered Chinatown.


Ever since she’s been a regular visitor. Having a deeply rooted love for Asia and having traveled all over the Asian continent, she visits Chinatown the Hague to relive her experience of Asia: kind, friendly, warm, nice people!


Sara, what is your happiest memory of Chinatown?


“Definitely the Chinese New Year celebrations in 2018. It was a super sunny Sunday, and on the Rabbijn Maarsenplein there were all the dragons, they were so beautiful! It was a very special day because it was the first time my sister visited me living in The Hague. She loved it, and we had a very great day. We really felt that this was a celebration of the Chinese community living in the Hague, and it’s so beautiful to see that these people can keep celebrating these occasions to the fullest!”


That does sound like an amazing day!


“Yes, and after that, we also actually visited a fashion or art show somewhere in the center. And we spotted some people doing Chinese calligraphy. At the end of the day, we went to Momiji Sushi and had some ramen. It was really great because we love to eat super authentic food. We fell in love with Japan when we went there, so the experience of eating real ramen again was amazing.”


Wow, so you have traveled to Asia before?


“We have! My husband and I have been to Japan, but also to Thailand and Indonesia. We feel that the people in Asia are so warm and welcoming. When we go to Asia, we feel that even though we are not from there, we are almost immediately welcomed like family. We were planning to travel to Taiwan and China, too, but the pandemic hit and we had to postpone our travels, unfortunately.”


That is unfortunate, indeed. But we are sure that you will eventually travel there. Keep us updated of your travels to China and Taiwan, we’re curious about your experience! One more question about Chinatown, though. Do you have any food recommendations?


“I do! My husband and I frequently go to Chinatown just to visit there. We park nearby and stroll through. You know, I actually introduced both my husband and my friend to Chinatown. Even though they are Dutch, and I am not, they didn’t know of Chinatown’s existence before I brought them. I really like going to the Asian supermarkets there, and Li&U bakery has really nice foods!”


You’re well-versed in Chinatownness for sure!


“Correct. When going around there, I’m always looking to get the same feeling I have when traveling around Asia. I’m looking for things that have the essence of being authentic. The places should make you feel like they are in the country of origin. Once we went to a Chinese supermarket, and we bumped into some employees that didn’t speak Dutch or English, but they still tried very hard to help me out and I felt so welcome. I really appreciate the sense of togetherness there, I feel that these people can live their life fully and happily because they have such a strong community in Chinatown!”


Green lights on authenticity there! Do you have any other favorite places in Chinatown?


“One more, actually. There’s the Chinese furniture store, Oriëntique. They always have such beautiful objects, I just love going there and asking about the stories behind the things they sell. It’s fascinating and such a treat for my eyes!”


Amazing story, Sara! We hope you’ll find yourself enjoying Chinatown a lot more and more. Should be possible, if the cases stay down. We hope to hear from you once again. If you have any stories to tell, just reach out to us!


This article is part of ‘Chinatown Chats’ – stories of people who have a connection to Chinatown The Hague. Do you have a story to share? Let us know via the contact form on our website or send us a DM on Facebook of Instagram!