#MigrantMunchies: ELL’s foodie focus week follows migrants’ stories and how they’re changing what you eat

Food market in London: Pic: Flickr

Food market in London: Pic: Flickr

Eastlondonlines has gone around the world – in four boroughs. We’ve sampled some of the tastiest global cuisines in our bid to discover how migration has spiced up the local restaurant scene.

Over the week we’ll be offering you the low down on migration trends and the new and exciting foods you can try as a result.

In 1991, only 27 per cent of the ELL borough population registered as an ethnicity other than “White British”. But, since then, diversity has increased and new cultures are showcasing their native nosh. The multiculturalism of the Eastlondonlines boroughs is reflected in the restaurant scene.

The Chinese community has seen a marked increase in Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Between 1991 and 2011, Hackney became home to almost 2,000 more Chinese people, putting the number at 3,500, and in Tower Hamlets, the number has more than tripled. However a spokesperson from the Hackney Chinese Community Services argued that the 2011 census data doesn’t show the true scale of Chinese migration to the area.

He said: “We’ve done our own research and we’ve found that there are more than 15,000 Chinese people now living in Hackney…In the last 15 years, people from mainland China have been coming to the UK, but the Chinese community are a quiet group and some people call them an invisible community.”

What is attracting Chinese people to the Eastlondonlines boroughs? (UK Census Data)


Whilst some cultures are flourishing, however, others are on the decline. Tower Hamlets and Hackney have seen a steady decrease in the number of Black Caribbean people since 1991, and Lewisham has seen this same trend in the last ten years. Some have suggested that this may be due to the rising cost of living across east London.

However Tower Hamlets Council cite the aging population of Black Caribbean residents. Hackney Council also explain that “increased ethnic integration” is leading to a rise in mixed ethnicities, pushing down the number of Black Caribbean people in particular. Nearly two thirds of Hackney households are of mixed ethnicity and Hackney is one of the top ten boroughs for racially integrated households, according to the Hackney Council.


Why are people of a Black Caribbean ethnicity choosing to leave the boroughs? (UK Census Data)

With all these changes in migration patterns, the global food scene has well and truly heated up. This week, you can enjoy digging into our foodie features, but to whet your appetite, we’ve laid out some of our tastiest pies below.


By Hannah Boland and Jacqui Agate

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