China's secluded community in Zambia

China's secluded community in Zambia

The JCS Food Town

People passing by on the other side of the street could mistake this for a mediocre suburban market in a small town in China. In fact, it's a shopping mall full of Chinese products in Zambia's capital, Lusaka. Here, at the JCS Food Town, visitors can buy vegetables, fruits, seafood, spices and even mobile phones — as well as eat authentic Chinese dishes.

China's secluded community in Zambia

Almost exclusively Chinese

Most of the visitors to the market are Chinese expats. There are also a few westerners and Zambians who like the taste of Chinese cuisine. Few tourists have it on their itinerary. The Zambian employees perform mostly menial tasks such as cleaning, cooking and selling vegetables.

China's secluded community in Zambia

Place your orders!

In this kitchen, mostly Sichuan cuisine is prepared. The Chinese chef has several Zambian assistants whose help is needed particularly at noon when most expats flock in to place their orders. The market offers a variety of Chinese delicacies, including roasted duck and crayfish — yummy!!

China's secluded community in Zambia

No contact outside work

These Zambian vegetable traders said they are fairly new in the market and business is "okay." One commented: "We can learn how to do business from the Chinese." Any contact is limited to the workplace; neither of them has any Chinese friends.

China's secluded community in Zambia

Few Chinese become integrated

This Chinese expat says he has Zambian friends. He has been living in Zambia for 13 years. He told DW he is very fond of Lusaka and has got used to life there. "I am well integrated, but most Chinese people may not be. Chinese nationals generally prefer to stay amongst themselves," he said.

China's secluded community in Zambia

A happy employee

This Zambian employee said she couldn't complain about her work. Her boss (on the left) is very good to her and her colleagues, she maintained. And he "pays very well." However, she is vastly outnumbered by the number of locals who tell negative tales about their Chinese employers.

China's secluded community in Zambia

The invisible worker

This young lady is one of the main reasons why the market looks spick and span. She's not used to people showing interest in her work and rewarded the DW reporters with a big smile.

Chinese slang, Chinese cooking, Chinese bargaining — all in the middle of Zambia's capital Lusaka. It's where Chinese expats meet to get a taste of home. The Zambian employees say they work long hours for little pay.