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Food and Immigration in London [from UK board]

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Food and Immigration in London [from UK board]

JFores | Jan 20, 2008 02:16 PM

I would like to hear everyone's thought on the influence of immigration on food in a changing London. Apart from curry houses, take aways and the fact that without Portugal and Italy every fine dining restaurant in this city would shut tomorrow, there is still a lot more to it. For example, why do food concentrations not follow immigrant groups to the extent that they do in ei. NY, LA, San Fran? How much does overhead and the relative lack of hole in the wall joints influence the inability for immigrant communities to muster up significant numbers of restaurants serving their people. It feels very odd that in London many recent immigrants will probably end up at a chippy during lunch time when in other cities they would be eating the food of their home country at an incredibly low price. What creates this gap in the city's restaurant business? It's not just an issue of street food. I suspect it's overhead, though I don't know what the costs are like here. Furthermore, I think it is probably very difficult for immigrant groups to identify where a profitable business could be opened since A. these immigrants probably travel far from home to work and B. immigrant groups are not very concentrated at all (in the sense of ethnically or linguistically exclusive areas. Chinatowns for ei.) I also think the price of food here forces many more people to cook (especially single males that aren't in the food industry and live with friends in similar conditions) when cheaper prices might allow them to frequent places owned by their own ethnic group. Even the old and established South Asian communities of London suffer from this relative lack of cheap quality food. From what I've seen, South Asian communities usually set up small places for good lunch food. Dinner is always an at home affair, but even married men will generally eat lunch out. There appears to be no such niche here.

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