London is a very diverse city. Cuisines from around the world line the streets in the form of restaurants and small venders. I saw multiple instances where individuals switched between foreign languages and English in seconds. The faces may be different but everyone seamlessly falls under the categorization of British people. The feeling of us vs them, or the idea of racial boundaries seemed almost nonexistent. Though racism is relatively low in America, it was even less defined in Britain. These observations may have simply been due to London being a big city and increased cultural exposure for natives, but in the short week I was there, it felt like a bigger trend. I have been to big cities in America like New York City, D.C., Chicago, etc. and still feel that the outlook is different in England. My brother who has been studying in London for several months now agreed with my intuition but did say that conversation with his friends has informed him that the same isn’t true in rural England.
The diversity in food was an aspect I thoroughly enjoyed. My family dined at various restaurants during our visit. We had cuisine ranging from Chinese to Lebanese to Indian to Turkish to classic English pies. While I tend to enjoy my mom’s cooking most, I was surprised to see how much I relished the newer varieties I sampled. Borough Market overwhelmed my senses and was one of the best parts of the trip. There were multiple cheese vendors throughout the area with more cheese varieties than I ever thought possible. I got to sample several olive oils made with olives at different stages of development (baby olives are the healthiest but their oil tastes the worst in my opinion). There were also freshly baked goods, varieties of bread, meat I had never heard of, fresh fruits and vegetables, and organic herbs. Having all these sandwiched in one area was phenomenal. I had a fresh chocolate-cream sugar donut (the best dessert I have ever had), a tasty veggie wrap, an olive oil chocolate spread (which tasted a lot like Nutella), and a huge sample of cheeses at different ages.
The same type of diversity was present in fresh food markets around the city. Some were solely food based, while others sold trinkets, pocket watches, dresses, art work, and other items. Overall I noticed that the freshness of food in London was far better than most American restaurants and the amount of sugar used in dishes is far less. One morning I got a yogurt parfait and a berry smoothie. The yogurt had no flavoring because of the fruits in it and the smoothie contained no sugar or artificial sweeteners. I found that I enjoyed these flavors far more than the artificial and processed food I often buy here.
If you ever get the chance to visit London, I strongly recommend sampling the various cuisines. Be adventurous, because you never know what you may like. I thought I hated eating raw vegetables but learned that if combined in the right way, I love them! Always keep an open mind when traveling to new places!