Dubai Mall’s Chinatown: Inside the new dining and retail space
Chinese lanterns hanging overhead, funky neon signs and a gigantic panda statue are some of the sights at the newly opened Chinatown in Dubai Mall.
The mall has redesigned a section on its first floor, embellishing it with East Asian-inspired decor to replicate the neighbourhoods around the world that are home to Chinese residents. Chinatown can be accessed through an entrance opposite the Dubai Ice Rink, or through a door on the fifth floor of the cinema parking. A five-minute walk across the section takes you to the Address Fountain Views.
Dubai’s Chinatown has Far East-inspired art plastered on walls, as well as lounges with wooden furniture and round-themed rugs. Every corner is Instagram-worthy, but the area with neon street signs is definitely a highlight. It is inspired by the bustling streets of Asian cities at night, such as Kowloon in Hong Kong, crowded with protruding, brightly lit billboards and signage from various restaurants and bars.
The new Chinatown is home to several Chinese brands, with some venturing into the UAE for the first time.
Only a few steps from the entrance is technology retailer Xiaomi, and across it Haidilao restaurant, one of the biggest hot pot chains in China, with more than 1,300 branches in the mainland and about 180 overseas. While a lot of the shops are still closed, both these brands are accepting customers.
Another store that is open for business is ftNFT Art, where users can browse through a portfolio of digital collectables and easily buy one through the shop’s NFT terminals. A few artworks are prominently displayed at the store, making it another good photo opportunity.
Taking up another huge space is Yinyang Platinum Spa, also already open, which offers various types of massage services based on the holistic well-being approach of traditional Chinese medicine.
There is also a Starbucks on-site, aptly featuring Asian-inspired decor. Beams of wood stick out from the ceiling, and the walls are painted in a calm sage green.
Similar to other Chinatowns in major cities around the world, food is a major focal point. Chinatown in Dubai Mall has a food court with 16 stalls.
Only six stalls are currently open, including the first UAE outpost of Hawker Chan, the famed Singaporean street-food cart that earned a Michelin star in 2016 (it didn’t retain its star in 2021, but is still part of the Michelin Bib Gourmand category).
Other operational stalls at the food court include Lanzhou Beef Noodle, Golden Joy Express, Sushi Joy Express, Nine Squares and milk tea place Koi The.
A handful of other stalls are yet to open, including an outpost of Ri Hua Xuan — which is believed to be where xiaolongbao, a small steamed bun filled with meat and soup — was created.
Street food cart Hong Kong Yue Baby, which serves Asian desserts such as salted glutinous rice balls and red bean double-layer steamed milk, is also setting up shop in Chinatown.
Other stalls opening soon at the Chinatown food court include:
- Fu Lu Jiang Re Lu Fen Mian
- Dagu Rice Noodle
- Go Bou
- Bai Sui Wo Jia Suan Cai Yu
- Heyihong Bibimbap
- Gao Xiao Shan Pie
- Family Dumpling
- Zheng Dong Dan Dan Noodle
- Luckin Spring Chinese Pastry
Scroll through the gallery below to see images of popular Chinatowns across the world