Secrets in GTA Chinatown Wars
- At each corner of the map under the sea, there is a sign that reads "Here Be Dragons".
- Under the sea north of the northernmost tip of Bohan is a smiley face. This face can be seen on the Hidden Sign in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and on the twelve hidden signs in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
- On the beach of Firefly Island, a group of rocks can be found arranged into the shape of a penis.
- If the player drives a vehicle into the water and doesn't complete the window smashing minigame, Huang Lee will shout "SHIT!", in the only occurrence of voice-acted dialogue from a character in the game.
- When the character Wilhelm commits suicide, he lets off the famous "Wilhelm scream".
Reference to previous games
- The drug dealer El Burro is the third character in the Grand Theft Auto series to carry the El Burro name, after his counterparts in Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto 1.
- One of the tattoos available in the tattooing minigame is the logo for the Portland Triads in Grand Theft Auto III.
- Huang Lee's offer of "coffee" to Ling Shan for "coffee" in the mission Pursuit Farce may be an allusion to the Hot Coffee minigame from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
A number of missions have names that may allude to various real-life things:
- Pursuit Farce: the video game Pursuit Force
- Natural Burn Killer: the film Natural Born Killers
- Carpe Dime: the latin phrase "Carpe diem"
- Store Wars: the film series Star Wars
- Kenny Strikes Back: the film Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Pimp His Ride: the TV show Pimp My Ride
- Whack the Racers: the cartoon Wacky Races
- Jackin' Chan: the actor Jackie Chan
- Dragon Haul Z: the anime Dragon Ball Z
- The Fandom Menace: the film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Hit from the Tong: the Cypress Hill song "Hits From The Bong"
- The Wages of Hsin: the Bible quote "for the wages of sin is death..."
- Street of Rage: the video game Streets of Rage
- Operation Northwood: the CIA's proposed Operation Northwoods
- Faster Pusher Man! Sell! Sell!: the film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!