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Bakeries, markets, restaurants, and buffets crowd the brightly graffitied streets of Chinatown, the city's aromatic destination for pan-Asian cuisine. Distinguished at its entry points by towering vermillion paifang gates, the compact neighbourhood acts as a focal point for the Chinese community, hectic with educational facilities, cultural centres, acupuncturists, and foreign-language newspapers.
Especially vibrant in the warmer months, when the sweet smell of dragon beard candy along the pedestrian walks of Rue de la Gauchetière signal the beginning of the outdoor street fair season, Chinatown is a treasure hunter's dream, with enough knickknack and curiosity shops to tempt even the pickiest shoppers. The convivial vibe picks up after dark, when the area's active nightlife offers evening crowds their choice of drink, dance, and midnight snacks of pho or oysters. Chinatown's mix of new and old, with herbal remedies being sold alongside pop-culture DVDs, gives the area its own animated brand of moxie.