I have been staying in this area for the past 8 years. When I first came here it was a bit seedy but it has been gentrified over the years and continues to be so. I like it here because it still retains a local feel and there are many cheap restaurants that serve delicious food, especially Vietnamese.
John Chiat has an interesting mix of Vietnamese, Chinese and Muslim inhabitants. The terrace houses and buildings offer a vibrant mix of European and Asian architecture.
John Chiat road also has basic but reasonably priced hotels and is close to the city center.