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Old 04-23-2012, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Paris, France
326 posts, read 1,041,878 times
Reputation: 551

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The UK has a huge variety of ethnic / foreign cuisines – partly as a result of our history as a global nation and legacy of empire – and partly because of the (historic) poverty of traditional English cuisine made the exciting flavours of foreign parts take off exceptionally well here. I'd say that nationally, the two main cuisines that have been really "adopted" are Indian and Italian/Mediterranean.

Indian food is probably the most widespread – the curry house is a veritable British institution. Every single town in the land will have at least one – even rural places with a negligible Asian population. You will often find curries and Indian influenced dishes on menus in English-run pubs and cafés. Usually these "Indian" restaurants are Bangladeshi- or Pakistani-owned or run, and have been widespread since the 1970s. The cuisine also is unlike authentic food from the subcontinent and has been adapted and developed over the years to form its own sub-cuisine – dishes such as Chicken Tikka Masala are not common in India but very widespread in the UK. Cities with large Asian populations, such as London, Birmingham and Bradford, have more authentic Indian/Bangladeshi food.

While there has been Italian food in London at least for absolutely ages, as that city has long had an Italian population (though admittedly nothing on the scale of New York!), it really took off in the 1980s and 90s, as people started holidaying in Italy and other Mediterranean countries regularly and realising what they were missing out on food-wise. Now Italian food particularly is very widespread – middle-class chains like Pizza Express and Strada have brought it to every high street in the country, and the ease and health properties of cooking it have meant many people have learnt to cook Italian food at home. There was a tendency to anglicise it in the early years (dishes like Spag-Bol are very "British" really and nothing like the ragù alla Bolognese on which it's based) but now the tendency is on authenticity and doing it as the Italians do. You also do get authentic Italian-owned and run places, but more of than not the person cooking your carbonara or fettuccine will be English (or more likely Polish!), as mass immigration from Italy to Britain is not really a phenomenon. Modern British cuisine epitomised by TV chefs like Jamie Oliver is very Italian-influenced, with lots of olive oil and basil flavouring locally-sourced and grown ingredients. To a lesser extent Spanish or Middle Eastern dishes have been adapted or copied too.

While in the past decent cooking and "haute cuisine" meant French food, the influence of our nearest neighbour has waned a lot in recent years. For real inspiration chefs are more likely to look to southern Europe or Asia that they are to the techniques of the cordon blue. Also French restaurants, with their emphasis on meat and fish, tend to be expensive and only for a special occasion.

Of course, big cities have loads of cuisines represented. Chinese takeaways are also common but are seen more as junk food and not really fashionable – Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese are seen as healthier and tastier among trendy types in urban areas now. Turkish also seems to be becoming more popular than Greek. London of course has restaurants from every corner of the globe – if you go to the right places you can find really rare cuisines, such as Eritrean, Swedish, Peruvian..

The trend now however among fashionable gastronomes is however away from "ethnic" and "foreign" food but on rediscovery of traditional English cuisine and cooking it with the best ingredients and southern European or Asian techniques. "Gastropubs" are pubs which have an emphasis on excellent food as well as drinking, and serve this type of cuisine, and are a good place to take any foreign visitor to dispel any pre-conceived notions of food in England being terrible!
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Paris, France
326 posts, read 1,041,878 times
Reputation: 551
Regarding Paris, I would have to say that the most popular foreign food is Japanese by a long way. There is literally a sushi bar on every corner – all with identical menus. It is far more widespread than in London. Apparently they are all actually run by Chinese families. The French love it because it's so healthy compared to their own food.

Obviously the French have such a strong gastronomic tradition there has been less of a demand for exotic flavours from overseas – having said that Paris is a city of immigration and there is a huge variety of ethnic restaurants nowadays. Also I think the French are realising that foreign cuisines are cheaper and healthier than their own butter, cheese and meat-laden fare! Korean, Thai, Indian, Italian and Moroccan/Algerian are all very common. The trendier French-run bistros are also incorporating foreign techniques and ingredients – Spanish seems to be particularly in vogue. On Saturday I had dinner at my local bistro which had ceviche (Peruvian seafood marinated in lime juice) on the menu.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:26 AM
 
9,326 posts, read 22,030,765 times
Reputation: 4571
Quote:
Originally Posted by britinparis View Post
Regarding Paris, I would have to say that the most popular foreign food is Japanese by a long way. There is literally a sushi bar on every corner – all with identical menus. It is far more widespread than in London. Apparently they are all actually run by Chinese families. The French love it because it's so healthy compared to their own food.

Obviously the French have such a strong gastronomic tradition there has been less of a demand for exotic flavours from overseas – having said that Paris is a city of immigration and there is a huge variety of ethnic restaurants nowadays. Also I think the French are realising that foreign cuisines are cheaper and healthier than their own butter, cheese and meat-laden fare! Korean, Thai, Indian, Italian and Moroccan/Algerian are all very common. The trendier French-run bistros are also incorporating foreign techniques and ingredients – Spanish seems to be particularly in vogue. On Saturday I had dinner at my local bistro which had ceviche (Peruvian seafood marinated in lime juice) on the menu.

Love ceviche. Best one I ever had was in Papeete. Truck pulls up opens window and dishes it out as you watch the sun set.

Ceviche - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:58 AM
 
14,725 posts, read 33,394,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
I've lived in two cities in Canada which had all the same ethnic cuisines, but where different ones dominated.

In Montreal, Lebanese/general Arab, Greek, Thai, and Chinese were most popular.

In Vancouver it was Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Indian.
Montreal is also a haven for Italian food, and damn good Italian food at that!
While not exceptionally popular, there is Little Portugal around Duluth Ave with some good inexpensive restaurants and cafes.
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:34 AM
 
260 posts, read 338,040 times
Reputation: 678
In northern NJ, Italian is by far the dominant cuisine here, given the high amount of population with Italian ancestry. It comes in every form - upscale, family style, delis, pizza places and even chains like the Olive Garden are everywhere. Frankly with all the good Italian food/pizza here - I don't know why anyone would go to the Olive Garden, Pizza Hut or order from Dominos but they do.

Other than Italian - there are quite a few Japanese/sushi places (probably the second most popular), Middle Eastern/Greek places (love these) and Chinese. In my opinion there aren't enough Indian, Thai, Mexican or vegetarian/vegan options. For the size of the population here and the proximity to NYC - there really is a lack of good places to eat.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,639 posts, read 18,139,154 times
Reputation: 6914
Ethnic restaurants in the Duluth / Superior area (urban pop. ~130k, MSA 280k, almost no immigrants): Chinese (lots), Japanese (3), Thai (2), Vietnamese, Indian (1), Italian (4 or 5, not including pizzerias, which are numerous), French (1), "Caribbean" (1), Mexican (about 7)

The first Indian restaurant opened in 1999. It had competition briefly in 2006, actually one block down from the existing Indian place.

The first Thai restaurant opened in 2001.

The first "full-service" Japanese restaurant opened in 2006.

Ethnic Restaurants in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area: Ethiopian, Eritrean, Somali, Nigerian, Liberian, Moroccan, French, Italian, Spanish, German, British, Greek, Polish, Russian, Azeri, Kurdish, Turkish, Persian, Israeli, Lebanese, Indian, Sri Lankan, Afghan, Tibetan, Nepalese, Chinese, Szechuan, Thai, Cambodian, Lao, Vietnamese, Hmong, Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Mexican, Salvadorean, Colombian, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Cuban, Ecuadorian, Brazilian, Peruvian

There used to be Indonesian, Guyanese, Ugandan, and Puerto Rican food available in Minneapolis, but those restaurants have since closed.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:08 PM
 
14,725 posts, read 33,394,059 times
Reputation: 8949
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
Ethnic restaurants in the Duluth / Superior area (urban pop. ~130k, MSA 280k, almost no immigrants): Chinese (lots), Japanese (3), Thai (2), Vietnamese, Indian (1), Italian (4 or 5, not including pizzerias, which are numerous), French (1), "Caribbean" (1), Mexican (about 7)
Two questions re Duluth:
1) Is the French restaurant high-end, or more popularly priced?
2) Are the Mexican restaurants owned/run by Mexican folks, or Americans?
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,639 posts, read 18,139,154 times
Reputation: 6914
Quote:
Originally Posted by britinparis View Post
The UK has a huge variety of ethnic / foreign cuisines – partly as a result of our history as a global nation and legacy of empire – and partly because of the (historic) poverty of traditional English cuisine made the exciting flavours of foreign parts take off exceptionally well here. I'd say that nationally, the two main cuisines that have been really "adopted" are Indian and Italian/Mediterranean.

Indian food is probably the most widespread – the curry house is a veritable British institution. Every single town in the land will have at least one – even rural places with a negligible Asian population. You will often find curries and Indian influenced dishes on menus in English-run pubs and cafés. Usually these "Indian" restaurants are Bangladeshi- or Pakistani-owned or run, and have been widespread since the 1970s. The cuisine also is unlike authentic food from the subcontinent and has been adapted and developed over the years to form its own sub-cuisine – dishes such as Chicken Tikka Masala are not common in India but very widespread in the UK. Cities with large Asian populations, such as London, Birmingham and Bradford, have more authentic Indian/Bangladeshi food.

While there has been Italian food in London at least for absolutely ages, as that city has long had an Italian population (though admittedly nothing on the scale of New York!), it really took off in the 1980s and 90s, as people started holidaying in Italy and other Mediterranean countries regularly and realising what they were missing out on food-wise. Now Italian food particularly is very widespread – middle-class chains like Pizza Express and Strada have brought it to every high street in the country, and the ease and health properties of cooking it have meant many people have learnt to cook Italian food at home. There was a tendency to anglicise it in the early years (dishes like Spag-Bol are very "British" really and nothing like the ragù alla Bolognese on which it's based) but now the tendency is on authenticity and doing it as the Italians do. You also do get authentic Italian-owned and run places, but more of than not the person cooking your carbonara or fettuccine will be English (or more likely Polish!), as mass immigration from Italy to Britain is not really a phenomenon. Modern British cuisine epitomised by TV chefs like Jamie Oliver is very Italian-influenced, with lots of olive oil and basil flavouring locally-sourced and grown ingredients. To a lesser extent Spanish or Middle Eastern dishes have been adapted or copied too.

While in the past decent cooking and "haute cuisine" meant French food, the influence of our nearest neighbour has waned a lot in recent years. For real inspiration chefs are more likely to look to southern Europe or Asia that they are to the techniques of the cordon blue. Also French restaurants, with their emphasis on meat and fish, tend to be expensive and only for a special occasion.

Of course, big cities have loads of cuisines represented. Chinese takeaways are also common but are seen more as junk food and not really fashionable – Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese are seen as healthier and tastier among trendy types in urban areas now. Turkish also seems to be becoming more popular than Greek. London of course has restaurants from every corner of the globe – if you go to the right places you can find really rare cuisines, such as Eritrean, Swedish, Peruvian..

The trend now however among fashionable gastronomes is however away from "ethnic" and "foreign" food but on rediscovery of traditional English cuisine and cooking it with the best ingredients and southern European or Asian techniques. "Gastropubs" are pubs which have an emphasis on excellent food as well as drinking, and serve this type of cuisine, and are a good place to take any foreign visitor to dispel any pre-conceived notions of food in England being terrible!
Very interesting and reflective of all that I've read.

What's interesting about the "nouvelle cuisine" trend with its emphasis on simple, fresh ingredients is how much it clashes with Indian cuisine as it is commonly found in the U.K. and the U.S. (and I'm sure India as well), which emphasizes complex gravies with tons of spices. Almost like the old French haute cuisine.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,639 posts, read 18,139,154 times
Reputation: 6914
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
Two questions re Duluth:
1) Is the French restaurant high-end, or more popularly priced?
2) Are the Mexican restaurants owned/run by Mexican folks, or Americans?
1) I was just going to fetch you the website when I saw that it had been taken over by advertisements, so I went on Yelp to learn that it is closed. It was "popularly priced", but on the more expensive end.
2) One by an American, the rest are owned by Mexican-Americans.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Toronto
3,295 posts, read 7,022,333 times
Reputation: 2425
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
Ethnic Restaurants in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area: Ethiopian, Eritrean, Somali, Nigerian, Liberian, Moroccan, French, Italian, Spanish, German, British, Greek, Polish, Russian, Azeri, Kurdish, Turkish, Persian, Israeli, Lebanese, Indian, Sri Lankan, Afghan, Tibetan, Nepalese, Chinese, Szechuan, Thai, Cambodian, Lao, Vietnamese, Hmong, Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Mexican, Salvadorean, Colombian, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Cuban, Ecuadorian, Brazilian, Peruvian

There used to be Indonesian, Guyanese, Ugandan, and Puerto Rican food available in Minneapolis, but those restaurants have since closed.
Wow! A nice selection you've got there in the Twin Cities!
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