Chinatown Panama or Barrio Chino de Panama. The Chinatown in Panama is located in the neighborhood of San Felipe in the City of Panama. It consist of four Portals, beginning in Carlos A. Mendoza Street, covering Veraguas Street and part of the Eloy Alfaro and B Avenue. Most of the traditional Chinese shops are located in Carlos A. Mendoza Street, where you can find all kind of shops, which range from food, articles for parties and events, Chinese curiosities and a traditional Chinese food restaurant.
The current Chinatown in Panama has changed a lot throughout his many years of history. Since the early 90s many of the shop owners started to migrate to the new area in El Dorado, which is called now the new Chinatown. Basically because of two reasons: Better conditions and security. Nowadays it is not dangerous to walk around in Chinatown, just make sure you don’t carry visible expensive items (common sense)
One of my favorite shops is Casa Juan Siu, this is the traditional shops that introduced the Chinese products in Panama. They offer a great variety of Chinese products: cookies, candies, teas, Chinese decorative items, almost any Chinese product you need you can find them here. Besides the great variety of items, the brands they sell are renowned traditional brands which offer very high quality.
Just next to Casa Juan Siu, you can find the Dr. Wang Te House (or Casa del Te), which is very famous in town, and his teas are sold in many supermarkets in the country. it’s a place where hundreds of people have visited in search of a traditional remedy for different diseases, which range from bad breath to weight and circulation problems
In front of Juan Siu, you can find the House of Chinese curiosities, which sell typical chines stuffs: Fans, lanterns, Chinas, etc.
The China town Panama is also a good place to find fresh and cheap fruits and vegetables, including special Chinese vegetables like bak choi.
If you keep walking, in B Avenue are located most of the Chinese distributors. They sell distribute (and retail also) a lot of things, fragrances, Sterling, Party items at a very good price!
Lastly, you cannot walk away from Chinatown Panama without trying a traditional Chinese dish! Right in B Avenue you can find Restaurant Kwang Chow, the only traditional Chinese restaurant left in Chinatown. This place is so famous that even Anthony Bourdain (from No Reservations – Travel Channel) visited this place when he was in Panama. You can find here one of the best Dim Sum in Panama or if you come for lunch, they also offer very good traditional dishes. One of the Dishes I recommend is the White Rice with Duck or White Rice with Chicken (Chinese Style) and Pork, they cost around 8 bucks each.