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Ethnic Foods in London

London is predominantly Anglo Saxon but a multi-cultural city comprising of over 50 ethnic communities from around the world including Asia, Africa, Caribbean and other countries of Europe. Along with the multiculturalism is the diversity of ethnic foods dotted across the city, spoiling Londoners with unimaginable choices. Options range from the humble food stalls offering cheap eats to the posh fine dining restaurants. The following are the more common ethnic establishments that you would expect to find in London.

European Cuisines

Europe is renowned for its culinary excellence with London being the epicentre for European dining. The European food scene is thriving and only in London can you find so many restaurants and cafes specialising in cuisines from various corners of Europe. Italian restaurants are extremely popular serving from the hearty pasta to Mediterranean seafood dishes. Spanish and Greek establishments are also popular and have been popping up in London in the last two decades. Others include French, Portuguese, German, Polish, Swedish, Hungarian and Dutch to name a few.

Italian restaurant in London by A P Monblat

South Asian Cuisines

There is a gamut of South Asian (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi) restaurants and takeaways across London. Often called curry houses, they are a staple of the London food scene. You are often not far from a curry house but can find them concentrated in many neighbourhoods of London. Brick Lane in East London is home to a large Bangladeshi community and the UK’s curry capital. Another destination is Southall in West London and nicknamed Little India for its large South Asian population. Drummond Street offers a diversity of South Asian restaurants that include southern to northern Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisines.

Indian restaurant in London by A P Monblat

East Asian Cuisines

You can find a wealth of fantastic Chinese takeaways and restaurants throughout London. However, the best location is Soho especially in the Chinese enclave of Chinatown where there’s a large concentration of Chinese restaurants. Most Chinese establishments in London specialise in regional dishes with Cantonese and Sichuan cuisines being the most common. Though not as numerous, Japanese and Koreans restaurants are also popular in London. New Maiden is the epicentre of London’s Korean community and therefore not surprising to find plenty of Korean restaurants here.

Chinese restaurant in London's Chinatown by Ewan Munro

Southeast Asian Cuisines

The countries of Southeast Asia are a diversity of cultures and fascinating foods. They are not a large part of London’s Asian community and their restaurants are underrated gems. On the top of the list are the Thai restaurants known for their hot and spicy dishes with intense flavours. Malaysian cuisine brings together Malay and influences of Chinese, Indian, Thai and Indonesian cooking that brings the different flavours of Asia. Shoreditch and the nearby Hackney and Hoxton areas are teeming with restaurants including many Vietnamese establishments offering some of the best Vietnamese cuisines that London has to offer.

Middle Eastern Cuisines

Middle Eastern cuisines span an enormous geographic area drawing its influence from Mediterranean, Asian and North African cooking. Small amount of herbs and spices such as cumin, coriander and cloves and emphasis on freshly cooked foods are the key characteristics of Middle Eastern cuisines. Edgware Road in northwest London is home to a large Middle Eastern community earning the nickname as London’s Little Cairo or Little Beirut. Here you can find a wealth of Middle Eastern restaurants, cafes and takeaways that include Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Persian, Turkish and Moroccan establishments.

Lebanese restaurant in London by David Hawgood 

Caribbean and African Cuisines

The African-Caribbean community in London is a diversity of cultures. The regions of North, Central, West, East and Northeast Africa have their own distinctive flavours. Caribbean cuisine is a blend of African, European, Amerindian, Indian and Arab cooking with each island having its own distinct dishes. The working class neighbourhood of Brixton is the heart of London’s African-Caribbean community and naturally the hot spot for such cuisines. Eating out in Brixton is inexpensive and your options include the food stalls, takeaways and restaurants.

Caribbean restaurant in London by Alan Stanton

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