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London: exotic eating capital of the world!

by Rajul on June 19, 2009

Come to London with a healthy appetite and open mind and the world is your oyster

Come to London with a healthy appetite and open mind and the world is your oyster

One of the best things about Londoners is their open-mindedness to other cultures and cuisines.  This article showcases some of the more obscure but delicious cuisines you can enjoy in London.

In such a melting pot of a city, waves of immigrants have made their mark by opening new restaurants all over the capital.

And since Londoners have an innate curiosity and love to try new exotic foods, many of them go on to thrive.

In fact, international food is now so well-integrated that some overseas dishes were even invented in Britain: for example, you’ll find Chicken Tikka Masala all over the UK, but not in India!

Although the likes of Chinese, Thai, Indian and Italian cuisine are well-established, lesser-known ones continue to pop up all over London.

The recent “new wave” of restaurants in London offer even more exotic delights, to Londoners and tourists alike.

For example, Afghan Kitchen in Islington offers good-value, authentic Afghan food in a cosy setting.

Or several Ethiopian, Moroccan (e.g. Momo on Heddon Street) Eritrean and Somali (try The Village on Fulham Palace Road) restaurants which have sprung up in various parts of town.

The Czech, Slovak and Polish community in London have also joined the party.  Czech and Slovak Club in West Hampstead is recommended for a down-to-earth, fun atmosphere and as you’d expect, great beer!

London has far more to offer than fish and chips!

London has far more to offer than fish and chips!

There’s also good Caribbean grub at Mr Jerk’s in Wardour Street or South African food at Chakalaka.

For a different African flavour further from the centre, you could also try the value-for-money Ugandan restaurant “Jambo” in Tottenham.

If you fancy sampling Georgian cuisine – one of the most underrated in the world in our view – you can visit the highly-rated Tbilisi restaurant in Holloway.  Don’t forget the excellent Georgian wines too!

As far as Asian cooking goes, all countries are represented, including less prominent cuisines such as Nepali, Korean and Vietnamese.

Go to Soho for a wide variety of Asian options including the interesting Taiwanese restaurant Leong’s Legends on Macclesfield Street.  Very close by you’ll also find Singaporean and Malay food at Rasa Sayang.

If you want varied dining experiences next to each other, you could stay in London’s cosmopolitan Bayswater area, reviewed here.

Over a couple of streets you can sample Iranian, Austrian, Indian (Khan’s is cheap  and established), Thai, Chinese (Royal China on Queensway for dim-sum), Malaysian, Japanese, Brazilian (Rodizio Rico on Westbourne Grove provides a Brazilian barbecue)…to name only a few!

In the same area you’ll find this blog’s favourite Lebanese restaurant.

A further example of the restaurant innovation you’ll find in London is “fusion” cuisine which blends two seemingly unrelated cultures.

The central “La Porte des Indes” surprisingly blends Indian and French!  Food is reputedly “hit and miss” creative but may just rock your boat.

Brazilian-Japanese fusion at Sushinho in Chelsea

Brazilian-Japanese fusion at Sushinho in Chelsea

Sushinho on trendy King’s Road is another example, offering Brazilian-Japanese cuisine based on Brazil’s 1.5 million strong Japanese community.

By the way, if you want to stay near Sushinho then an interesting option to consider is Myhotel Chelsea, particularly if you’re after a romantic hideaway.

This is the sister hotel to the already featured Myhotel Bloomsbury and is inspired by similar brand values.

However, the hotel’s theme is quite different: “where Sex and the City meets Brideshead Revisited”.

Myhotel Chelsea oozes sex appeal and comfort

Myhotel Chelsea oozes sex appeal and comfort

Whenever visiting I’ve felt cocooned by the hotel’s chilled-out vibe.  I find it a great place to pop in for a espresso or to clear my mind.

Guest reviews of the hotel tend to focus on the relaxed atmosphere and trendy bar, as well as the hotel’s attractions as a romantic bolthole.  It’s above all a cosy hotel which feels like a sanctuary.

Check the best rate for Myhotel Chelsea from 30+ hotel booking sites

The colour scheme may not please traditionalists and, like most things in Chelsea, the hotel is not especially cheap.  Nevertheless, it’s perfectly placed for the area’s many cafes and bars, and not far from where the London jet-set (“Sloane Rangers”), including the Princes, do their partying!

However short your visit to London, do make sure you leave room for at least “unusual” eating experience.

We suggest you check reviews of the restaurants shown above in the London restaurants page on TripAdvisor to choose which you most fancy.

Get the best-value London hotel deal from 30+ booking sites in 1 click

Photo credits: Sushinho, Myhotels.

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