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For British E-Hellions: How has London and the rest of England Changed...

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...since I was last there in 1988?  When I was in Spain in 1993 I had coffee with a British couple who said that it became far more expensive and that I wouldn't recognize London anymore because it had become
"very American."

I hate the idea of that.

Snowy Owl:
I don't know how you found London in 1988 so it's a bit hard to say conclusively whether it's changed or not. 

I wouldn't say it's become American.  I struggle to satisfy my craving for root beer for one thing.   ;) :).  There are Americans and there are some American chain restaurants but when I went to the US I felt that it was very different from the UK so probably not.   

London is expensive compared to the rest of the country.  It's dirty and full of people and busy and loud and has the same social problems as any big city.  There is still the sense of history and the past peeping through the present.  When I cross Waterloo Bridge I still marvel at the beauty of the river and St Paul's facing one way and the Parliament looking the other.  It still has the buses and the black taxis that are iconic in many ways.  The museums are still there as are the endless streams of tourists getting lost and milling around. 

I don't know what it is you think might have changed.  Can you enlarge on what you liked about London last time so I (and some of the other Brits) can tell you if it's changed. 

I would say that in 1988 it was genuinely difficult to get a decent coffee in much of the UK, including London. You now have huge numbers of coffee shops, especially in London -- and not all are Starbucks. That is more "American", probably, but I'd say it's a good thing. Then again, the coffee revolution hadn't really happened in America 25 years ago either, so maybe it is just a 21st century phenomenon that has become international.

Food is also significantly better now -- fantastic restaurants, especially at the upper end of the market. Much better pizza now -- in 1988 they were still doing things like "chicken and sweetcorn"  :o on pizza. But the style of pizza is much more influenced by Italian than American tastes.

And yes, still almost impossible to get root beer.

So what did you think made London not-American? What would you associate with it then?

I wonder whether change happens everywhere.  The British gentleman's comment about London becoming more American bothered me because I don't want to vacation in a foreign city to have it feel like I never left home.  When I was last in London there were pubs near the Portobello Road market that were serving food that was typically "American", which had not been the case two years earlier.

One thing that's been happening in New York is that neighborhood food -- even in my neck of the woods -- is starting to bland out.  I had a meatball parm sandwich last month in a pizzeria that's been around a long time and it was so bland it tasted like it was made by Chef Boyardee (a brand marketed to children).


--- Quote from: Venus193 on July 28, 2013, 04:04:25 PM --- When I was last in London there were pubs near the Portobello Road market that were serving food that was typically "American", which had not been the case two years earlier.

--- End quote ---

What do you call typically "American"? I can think of, say, hamburgers, hot dogs....

These days, especially in a posh area like Notting Hill, you are more likely to find a pub serving Thai food than scampi and chips.


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