When you’re looking around for somewhere to eat, and you find yourself in the mood for something new, sampling some fare from outside of Europe can be a great introduction to the flavours of distant lands. Especially in a diverse city like London, you can find places to eat that let you travel far with your palate – given a little effort, and a sense of adventure.
If you’re a fan of a particular exotic cuisine, you may even look for accommodation in London where various expats and immigrants of the second generation or later tend to form local communities. That way, you’re never more than a stone’s throw from some good traditional food from other countries. Here’s a small roundup of places to go for a sampling of five other continents.
Head to Brixton for a taste of North America that you won’t find at the continental breakfast table. The food of Jamaica carries influences from all over the world, blending ingredients from India, China, South America, and Africa.
This area known as ‘Little Jamaica’ is the heart of the local community. As such, you’d be able to sample some of the best Jamaican food here. Negril specialises in jerk chicken, while Fish, Wings and Tings run the range of Caribbean recipes. The Rum Kitchen brings the island theme to life and adds unique twists to the traditional fare.
Though perhaps lesser known than Indian cuisine, Bangladeshi nevertheless have established their culinary presence in several parts of London, especially the area around Brick Lane and Whitechapel. The small, affordable home-style eateries here might not always have an English menu, adding to the feel of stepping into a small pocket of another country.
While you can enjoy the unexpected, try going to Kolapata for their speciality, fish fry and phuchka; or Nanna Biryani for the spicy beef tehari. Banoful and Alauddin in Brick Lane serve the local version of samosas, called shingara, using traditional ingredients.
‘Brazwater’ as the locals call it, is that area from Bayswater to Queensway that’s been gradually taken over by the Brazilian community. If you’re in the area, you can’t miss any number of good places to sample their signature dishes. Barraco, Preto, and Galpão serve up steaks, sausages, and other tapas in the churrasco style, while you may want to sip on some South American juices, coffee and other drinks at Café Rio or Cabana.
Wimbledon is famous for its tennis grounds, but it’s also home to a significant South African community. Saffers are known for their barbecue (called braai), and it’s well suited to the wide-open spaces in this area. Head over to places like Hammer & Tongs, Vivat Bacchus, The Slug, or Roxie for some of the best local versions. And although not a restaurant, Snoggy’s butchers should be your go-to for some biltong or boerewors to enjoy at home.
While the Aussie presence can be felt in many places in London, a fair number of antipodeans have settled themselves in laid back Shoreditch. Follow them around to spot unique Aussie ingredients and quality meats at Smithfield Market. For some of the best Australian meals around, check out the local branches of Lantana, or Granger & Co. And in a pinch, many supermarkets do sell vegemite.
These are only five of the many diverse communities that have come to embrace London as their home while bringing a slice of their native land with them. As you go about London and enjoy exploring, have a taste of something new within the great city.