HOME > Chowhound > U.K./Ireland >


Compiling a list of ethnic enclaves in London

Howdy CHers,

I'm constantly trying to broaden my London horizons and travel to obscure areas to eat and experience the many cultures the city houses. I really enjoy travelling to areas with distinctive ethnic attributes, i.e., the Broadway in Southall, where you feel a bit like you've trekked across the world rather than 20 minutes on a train, and thought a comprehensive thread would be a great addition to the board.

Off the top of my head :

Afro-Caribbean : Brixton, Harlesden, Stonebridge, Tottenham, Dalston, Lewisham, Peckham
Bengali : Whitechapel / Tower Hamlets
Chinese: Chinatown
Greek - Palmers Green
Japanese: Ealing, Golders Green, East Finchley
Jewish : Golders Green, Stanford Hill
Korean : New Malden
Middle Eastern: Edgware Road
South Asian: Southall
Vietnamese: Deptford, Shoreditch (Kingsland Road), Hackey (Mare Street)

Please feel free to add (and correct me if mine are wrong).

Happy Saturday!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Turkish - Green Lanes and Dalston?

      1. In my opinion, Caribbean food is so so in Brixton and Lewisham and passable in Peckham. Good Caribbean food is scattered around London, there isn't one area that I would rate as definitive of the cuisine. Croydon has a few good and great places that i enjoy, namely Tasty Jerk and the Roti hut along Surrey st market, there's also a stall along the market that used to do geat jerk fish, I don't know if it's still there.

        Peckham/Deptford is excellent for homestyle/street style or sit-down Nigerian food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nii

          I'll admit I copied that portion from wikipedia (Caribbean settlement in the UK).

          Granted this is a food board so food should be the primary factor, but Brixton definitely has a very strong Caribbean presence so I think if someone is looking to explore Caribbean culture in the UK they would be hard pressed to find a better environment (and perhaps sample some so-so food in the process).

        2. Colombian/South American in Elephant and Castle and Brixton

          Brazilian in Willesden Green

          Portuguese in Stockwell

          Romanian (smallgoods, people, not restaurants) in Golders Green

          1 Reply
          1. re: lacemaker

            Sri Lankan and South Indian in Wembley.

          2. There's a few Ethiopian places on Caledonian Road.

            1 Reply
            1. re: AndyFilo

              ...and in Southwark and Lambeth!

            2. Portuguese in Golborne Road and Harrow Road.
              Jewish - as well as GG, Hendon.
              Vietnamese - quite a few places round Clerkenwell Rd. now.
              Columbian - haven't seen any enclaves but agree with Lacemaker who said E&C and Brixton. Inside the E&C shopping centre there is a cafe on top floor.
              Polish - don't know of any enclaves but like Mamuska also inside E&C shopping centre.

              9 Replies
              1. re: cathodetube

                Tottenham and Seven Sisters both have rapidly growing populations of Brazilians and Colombians. Seven Sisters Indoor Market has at least 4 Colombian restaurants and a variety of stores. Brazilian stores seem to particularly line Seven Sisters Road between Manor House and Seven Sisters. Though the area is extremely diverse (the most diverse in the UK and potentially all of Europe when I last checked), the Colombian community is particularly noticeable. The same area also has a lot of Polish restaurants, one of my favorite Jamaican restaurants in the UK (for soup and more sit down dishes at least), a growing Chinese community and a huge number of Afghans. It's a great place to roam (before dark!) and look for new restaurant finds.

                Iraqi Kurdish along the London Rd in Croydon, Turkish and Turkish Kurdish along Green Lanes and within that entire section of North London, Italians in Enfield, Deptford is undoubtedly the center of the Vietnamese community in London (sporting at least a dozen restaurants and groceries), there's a growing Chinese community stretching between E&C and Woolwich, but it's not a solid noticeable thing yet.

                Kentish Town, Shepherds Bush and Acton all have growing Somali populations though the only Somali restaurants I've seen have been in Ilford and the one ShekhaV reviewed in Kentish Town.

                The eastern stretch of Canning Town from Custom House to Prince Regent has a massive number of Lithuanians as well as a Lithuanian restaurant (though I can't remember the name. I haven't lived over there in years and I wouldn't even be able to say if that place is still open.)

                Green St is stereotyped within the South Asian community as being a largely Pakistani and Indian Muslim area though it's actually very diverse (though still primarily South Asian.) High Street North and East Ham in general are similarly stereotyped as a South Indian area, but you get people from all over the sub-continent there. Nearby Forest Gate still has a lot of Punjabis and most of the older South Asian businesses are still Punjabi or Gujarati owned and operated.

                Ethiopians are Eritreans seem to be largely around King's Cross on Caledonian Rd, on Fulham's North End Rd and around Lambeth in general.

                There seems to be a noticeable Nepalese community between Elephant and Castle and Lewisham as I've seen a lot of Nepalese restaurants between the two, but I haven't managed to eat at any yet.

                Hounslow is notably and famously Punjabi, but it's another generalized South Asian area with a whole lot of people from all over the sub-continent. It also sports the only Pakistani Pashtun place I know of in London since New Khybar UK went out of business.

                Actual Caribbean concentrations are all over the place, but the best concentration of food seems to be in West Croydon. Apart from Tasty Jerk there's also an excellent stall off the London Rd and a number of other places. There used to be a Trinidadian roti place as well, but it went out of business.

                1. re: JFores

                  Can't compete with the excellent answer just above, but would say that Kingsland Road has the most Vietnamese restaurants of anywhere I've seen in London.

                  Keen to know where the best Afghan restaurant in Tottenham is too - I live in Manor House.... I saw the Brazilian stores along 7 Sisters Road recently - never realised they were there. Also is a great-looking Brazilian buitcher's along Mare Street.

                  As for one-off restaurants - Georgian restaurant on Holloway Road (Tbilisi), Burmese (Mandalay) along Edgware Road.

                  Would def say there is what counts as an enclave of Colombian stores in E&C - most seem to be in relatively hidden side roads though.

                  1. re: baboon

                    There's a lot of Afghans in West Croydon, Tottenham, Acton and other parts of West London, but I never seem to see restaurants. It's really a shame. Turkish North London also seems to have quite a few Afghans as two of my barbers there were Afghan (and one barber shop that I thought was Turkish was completely Afghan.) Nonetheless I never see Afghan restaurants!

                    There's also Little Georgia in Hackney.

                    E&C seems to have the best overall variety of South American stores and restaurants. Brixton also has some real highlights like Las Americas bakery which does packages of arepas and other Colombian snacks.

                    1. re: JFores

                      Are you back in London now JFores?

                      1. re: JFores

                        Thanks J. I thought I'd never seen any, which was quite weird. Afghan Kitchen is still the only one I know, food is borderline sublime there though.

                        Yeah, heard about that Georgian restaurant, not been though. There also used to be one on Broadway Market, but I think it got kicked out by the hispters and concomitant rent rises (ugh).

                        Went to a great little cafe in E&C next to the Corsica Studios music venue - very friendly, had a great lulo (Colombian fruit) milkshake. For food, go to the Colombian restaurant on Clapham Manor Street (one of the only reasons to visit Clapham in my opinion!). Lovely, lovely people, great food, skylight windows - what more could you want?

                        1. re: baboon

                          Just to update the above regarding Pashtun places. Green St and Forest Gate also have a growing Pashtun community from both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Two Pakistani Pashtun owned places are on Green St near Romford Rd. I wrote up one (Khyber Paktoonkhwa) while the other is practically across the road (Taste of Khyber.)

                    2. re: JFores

                      There is a noticeable Chinese community in Peckham/Walworth.

                      Somalian's are very prominent in Streatham Vale - with cafes/canteen's to boot, much more so than Kentish Town and SB.

                      1. re: JFores

                        Thanks for the info on Seven Sisters indoor market - I just went there today and had some excellent arepas con queso.

                    3. Portugese - Vauxhall. Few Thai places in Kensel Rise and Brazilian places further west. Chinese in Bayswater and around Baker street.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: frati

                        Are you sure about Thai in Kensal Rise? I live around there and as far as I know there are only two Thai restaurants and nothing else that suggests a Thai enclave. Are there any restaurants or shops I'm missing?