a peek inside the fishbowl

07 Sep, 2011

Ottawa Attractions: Chinatown

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa

When’s the last time you’ve been to Ottawa’s Chinatown?

I mentioned a few of our favourite stops in a SavvyMom article about it recently. We like to head over there every once in awhile for a little wander. There’s so much to see –  and you know what –  I think it’s good to show our kids a world outside of their own.

I like to park on Somerset near Bronson, up the street from the famous arch:

Chinatown arch

The famous arch

Under the arch in Chinatown

First stop is Global Homeware. It’s full to the rafters with STUFF. I’ve picked up some great things here: rice molds (click here to see what I mean), pencil cases, chopsticks, soy sauce dishes, and more. Oh, so much more:

Children's tableware at Global Express

tins and boxes galore

tea pots

more tea pots




feather duster

chococat mug with lid

a box of parasols

cell phone charms


It’s very difficult not to give in to the lure of a cute little dish:



I didn’t cave into my love of tableware this time, but I will say this… it is very difficult to leave this store without a little something:

A new notebook

Our second stop was Kowloon Market. I do my best not to gawk and look like a tourist.  It’s taken me several years to teach the girls not to point at interesting and different food items (shrinkwrapped turtles, animal feet etc) because really, that’s just rude.

I try to be discreet with my photo taking for this exact reason.

Anyway, I want to mention that the snacks are irresistible (to me) and it’s hard to know what to choose:

scanning the salty snacks at Kowloon

Next time I’m going to pick up some quail eggs and blow out the innards and make something decorative out of them:

Quail eggs

Or maybe I’ll cook them up? (!)

We also visited Bubblicity Tea Shop, where we like to pick up our favourite sweet brew.

We brought our treats to eat at Plouffe Park, where we discovered that the splash pad was still splashing. Yay! Apparently most of the splash pads are open until mid-September, but I’m not sure if that applies to this one as well:

Splash pad at Plouffe park

I wish I’d had the foresight to pack for a swim at Plant bath, or plan our little explore around lunch. We would have loved to stop somewhere for noodles on the way back to the car. What’s your fave place to visit in Chinatown?

13 Responses to "Ottawa Attractions: Chinatown"

1 | binki

September 7th, 2011 at 12:47 pm


I like pretty much all your fave highlights but you didn’t mention dim-sum? Such a yummy / fun meal with the kids. We go to ChoSing (upstairs) across from Yangtze. Mmmmmm. There are line-ups on the weekend, so go early (10h45).

2 | andrea

September 7th, 2011 at 12:52 pm


I mentioned a couple of our favourite restaurants in the SavvyMom piece but we haven’t actually gone to Dim Sum as a family. Mark and I love it, but I’ve been nervous about bringing my kids there! Maybe it’s time to change that. Hmmm.

3 | Joy

September 7th, 2011 at 1:16 pm


My daughter would adore all those little Hello Kitty containers, etc. I have never explored this area, but now it is on my to-do list. Thanks for getting the word out. :)

4 | Giulia

September 7th, 2011 at 1:22 pm


We go to ChoSing for dim sum ALL the time. My kids love it – we started them off on dumplings as soon as they ate solid food. We also go for pho in China Town and to Sushi 88! It’s all about the food for us…

5 | Carla @ Parentingisms

September 7th, 2011 at 2:47 pm


One of my faves has been the Shanghai restaurant. Lovely people, great karaoke and always interesting art. I lived across the street for a couple of years way back and sometimes I would just go and talk to Don and Maeve, and Mama Kwan. The food is really good too!

6 | Sarah

September 7th, 2011 at 3:30 pm


Raw Sugar is a must for an afternoon coffee and treat or a night out for a show and beers (without kiddies!).

7 | binki

September 7th, 2011 at 3:45 pm


And for Vietnamese….we’ve been going to New Mee Fung (on Booth) for several years. Good food.

9 | Year of Epic – May 12-13 2012 | TurtleHead

May 9th, 2012 at 6:00 am


[…] artists and musicians in the street. And if the street entertainments are not enough, check out Andrea’s post about a day with kids in Chinatown because it is AWESOME. Oh sorry, […]

10 | Summer! Of! Awesome! 2012! | TurtleHead

June 21st, 2012 at 7:16 am


[…] an actually eat – very exciting!), Global Homeware, Kowloon Market, Bubblicity – see Andrea from the fishbowl‘s great post on how to do Chinatown right * Movies – oh how I miss AMC’s $1 […]

11 | Summer of Awesome 2013 | TurtleHead

June 10th, 2013 at 1:42 pm


[…] in parks all across the city, and are pay-what-you-can; see the website for the full schedule Chinatown Day Trip – as detailed by Andrea’s blog post, we went last year and the kids LOVED it Picnic on […]

12 | Summer fun idea #2: a special outing for bubble tea >> a peek inside the fishbowl

July 14th, 2015 at 10:43 am


[…] one: drive to Somerset Street and park the car. Step two: walk, and poke your head into any shop that tweaks your curiosity along the way. Step three: acquire bubble […]

13 | Justin

March 25th, 2018 at 1:40 pm


What aspects of this culture did you appreciate the most?

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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