Accepted Paper:

Cosmopolitan and authentic? The emergence of a Bangladeshi cuisine in London's East End  

Author:

Johan Pottier (SOAS)

Paper long abstract:

Bangladeshi restaurateurs and traders in the Brick Lane area promote a still-in-the-making national cuisine through catering for Bengali-speaking customers or through promoting a Bangladeshi option within the generic 'Indian' menu. The consumption of home-foods is reinforced with narratives that feed on the imagination: narratives brought on by the selection of dishes on offer and by the restaurant/café décor with its evocative images In this case study, the consumption of home-foods as 'migrating objects' centres on fish dishes and vegetables whose trajectories-from-home are exceedingly bound up with the forces of globalization. Core questions include: how does the creation or maintenance of 'home-related identities' through the use of home-foods square with the emergence of global networks of provision? What narratives do restaurateurs and their customers resort to to explain the inevitable contradictions over sourcing they face today? How do they reflect on alternative/ethical sourcing?

Panel W018
Material culture, migration and the transnational imaginary