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THE MULTICULTURAL HISTORY OF BRITISH FOODS

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This picture is from Harringay Food Festival, in North London, at 2011. The area is one of most diverse area in the UK and mainly Turkish and kebab restaurants are trading on the street. As a host to peoples, cuisines and cultures from around the world, Harringay is also a neighbourhood where numerous languages are spoken on a daily basis. According the Haringey council, the number of languages Spoken in Haringey is approximately 200. More specifically, the number of languages spoken in schools is 130 with the most common ones being Turkish, Somali, Akan, French, Polish and Bengali.”

In 1810 The Hindostanee Coffee House opened for business at 34 George Street, Portman Square, central London. Despite the name, it served Indian food rather than coffee. The visionary who first offered Indian cooking in Britain was a noble from Patna called Deen Mohammad (or Dean Mahomet), born in 1759.

Ethnic foods and ethnic‐style cuisine has long had a presence in the UK and are becoming increasingly popular, not least growing immigrant and expatriate populations and globalisation of the food market.

For Britain, it all began with Indian restaurants and the origin is fairly plain to see. After centuries of a colonial relationship, the UK’s Indian community makes up the country’s largest ethnic community, and contributed to the subsequent rise of other ethnic cuisines from the 1960s onwards. Ethnic minorities account for 14% of the population, or around 7.5 million people in all, helping to gift the capital London in particular a demographic structure that makes it one of themost cosmopolitan cities in the world.

The number of Indian restaurants that have now spread all over the country began with the first Indian food outlet “Hindoostane Coffee House”, which opened in 1810 on George Street, off Baker Street in central London.Opened by Sake Dean Mahomed, a former captain in the British East India Company’s Bombay Army, it only lasted for a year before closing because of a lack of business. But it inspired thousands of Indian restaurants over the subsequent two centuries, both for takeaway and as seated venues.

The Asian Catering Federation estimates that roughly 30,000 Asian and oriental restaurants and takeaways operate in the UK these days — and many of them are Muslim. After all, Britain is home to 2.5 million Muslims, creating one of the largest halal food markets in Europe after France and Germany. Over the last half century, tourism has become a major driver for Britain’s relatively open structure for different cultures. From the 1950s onwards, the British began going on holiday overseas as one of the thirdlargest nationalities to do so.

Every year, millions of British people from all income levels go on holiday around the world, find things they like, and bring them home. In 2018, Britons made 71.7 million overseas visits, most of them to go on holiday. They spent £45 billion in the countries they visited, including a sizeable sum on food and beverages. Meanwhile, 5.5 million Brits are now officially expatriates and are joined by around 100,000 more every year. With so many cultural ambassadors at home and abroad, it was inevitable the food was going to change too! Immigrant communities have dramatically changed the food we eat. London, now, is one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, most visibly reflected in its wide selection of cuisines, shops and markets. There are over 12,000 restaurants in London alone serving food from over 60 different countries (Greater London Authority).

Immigrant communities have dramatically changed the food we eat. London is now one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, most visibly reflected in its wide selection of cuisines, shops and markets. There are over 12,000 restaurants in London alone serving food from over 60 different countries (Greater London Authority).

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