On July 4 1776, the founding fathers of America gathered in Philadelphia to declare their independence from English rule. The Guardian last month said Philadelphia, ‘the cradle of America’ is being reborn as a food destination. Acclaimed New York chefs are relocating to Philadelphia, and the historic Italian diners are facing some spicy competition. This week our US advertising intern from Philadelphia and guest blog writer Lucas shares his London culinary journey and contrasts it with Philly’s ‘American food dream’.

Being the stereotypical culturally ripe ‘Yankee’ that I am, my impression of London was built entirely around the typical stereotypes that surround British life. Hygiene’s an afterthought, tea is life, constant rain, and the food is nearly inedible. I have been pleasantly surprised to find the London food culture to be more than just a basket of fish and chips. Coming from Philadelphia, home of the world famous Philly cheesesteak, I can relate to the ignorant food stereotypes of a city being associated with just a single food. But once you dive in and explore what both Philly and London have to offer you find the past conventional thoughts of what was thought to be, really isn’t at all.

Those American’s who are visiting the home country are quickly finding out that London is no longer the world capital for boring food. The streets of London are engulfed with diverse groups of people and rich culture. The beautifully chaotic mix of these cultures coming together is injecting London with a unique food culture. Of course bangers and mash or a full English breakfast are still on the menu but it is certainly no longer the only option. In my time in London so far I have already taken culinary trips around the world for Lebanese chicken, Chinese pork dumplings, French duck confit sandwiches, Vietnamese noodle bowls, and authentic Brazilian feijoada. A far cry from what I was warned about before I began my journey over a month ago.

After you see past the silly linguistic differences in food between Philadelphia and London (it’s a cookie, not a biscuit and a biscuit is served with gravy- yes, really) you find they are actually quite similar. Both culinary cultures are in a food revolution driven by the immigrants who have brought their homeland cuisines to their adopted homes. It seems to be a global trend that everyone in some shape or form is unleashing their inner foodie. The insatiable need to get out and try new food is larger than ever. Not only do London and Philadelphia have the cultural tools to do it, they have the food to prove it.

My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

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