This month I spent a week in West London before returning to the Far East. It was a mixture of work, pleasure and early morning work-outs by the Thames (much recommended!)
I walked as much as possible but when using public transport rode the bus more than the tube. The view is better, the buses are less crowded and I was concerned about catching Covid (even though I’m double vaxxed).
From the bus, you can’t help noticing the sheer number of Lebanese, Moroccan, Turkish and other Arabic restaurants, especially around Knightsbridge, Edgware road and even Park Royal. Whilst these establishments are not a new phenomenon, if anything there seemed to be more than I remember.
Despite Covid, I heard a significant percentage of their patrons are locals; there are of course very few tourists at the moment.
In the supermarkets too, the range of ethnic foods is growing wider.
Most stock Hummus or Hummous, a chickpea and tahini sauce dip. There’s a growing range of Falafel and other dishes too.
Whilst many offerings are retailer private labels, there are brands like Cauldron and also Yarden.
Cauldron has had several owners. It’s a subsidiary of Marlow Foods which in turn is part of Quorn, part of Monde Nissin. Monde Nissin is listed in Manila and has a large meat alternatives business.
Yarden is an Israeli brand, part of Osem Investments, now 100% owned by Nestle SA.
Globally the hummus market is said to be worth around $4.5b and the biggest markets are in the UK, Germany and France followed by the US.
Middle Eastern food, or at least Hummus, ticks a number of boxes.
Exotic is the first; easy to use it can be mixed with other dishes or bread for snacking; perhaps most importantly it has a positive health image. Chickpeas are a legume, high in protein, and for some are a super-food.