Chinese immigrants first came to Montréal in large numbers after 1880, following the construction of the transcontinental railroad, and there's been a steady influx of peoples from Asia and Southeast Asia—including the Vietnamese—since then. Now the city's Chinatown covers about an 18-block area between boulevard René-Lévesque and avenue Viger to the north and south, and near rue de Bleury and avenue Hôtel de Ville on the west and east.
The center of the action is at the intersection of rue Clark and rue de la Gauchetière, where part of the street is closed to traffic. On weekends, especially in summer, it's particularly busy, crowded with tourists as well as residents shopping in the Asian markets for fresh produce, meat and fish, and health supplements.
Along with the many Cantonese restaurants, there are a few places to get Vietnamese pho, a huge bowl of noodle soup with sliced beef. It's also one of the best lunch deals in town for around C$10.
For an inexpensive breakfast or brunch, nothing is more satisfying than a few rounds of dim sum, served at several restaurants here, including Maison Kam Fung, at 1111 rue St-Urbain.
This is also a great place to pick up some souvenirs, with a number of tiny shops selling brightly colored silk floral scarves, ornate chopsticks, interesting grocery items, and lots more.
Montréal, Québec, Canada