Importing the night market: urban regeneration and the Asian food aesthetic in London

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


London is witnessing an increasingly frequent occurrence of “Asianstyle” night markets, especially in the form of “pop-ups” in run-down areas and derelict urban spaces. Such spaces are fashionable and highly popular, offering an aesthetic that plays upon “Asian” styles. They exist in areas that the largely middle-class clientele (who do not live there) feel are “cool” and “edgy.” The popularity of the night market as a food aesthetic and dining culture provides an example of the way in which Asian foodways are used to restructure urban life by bringing new prospects to run-down areas. A new clientele of diners play out their own cosmopolitan ideals via the night market, in a process that not only eats the Other, but insists that eating the Other is relatively everyday, and in doing so makes more complex the category of “Other.” The night market is effectively a theatre for the performance of cosmopolitan subjectivities, rich in global cultural capital. Local authorities, keen to regenerate deprived areas, are now capitalizing upon these subjects’ desires in ways that play with the fluidity of globalized identities in one of the most famous world cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-54
Number of pages13
JournalFood Culture & Society
Issue number1
Early online date21 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Dec 2017


  • Regeneration
  • night-markets
  • aesthetics
  • cultural capital
  • cosmopolitanism


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