Evidence of Caribbean culture within London is minimal. The reason is obvious – London’s Caribbean population is a mere 1.8 per cent according to the 2016 London Census.
Regardless, you can still find small doses of island vibes around the city. For the readers in the 1.8 per cent or even people of other nationalities who would like a local taste of sunshine, keep reading for a guide on Caribbean presence in London:
I had to make this the first point because one of the major aspects of Caribbean life is the food which forms community. Every country believes this but – having lived in Jamaica, the United States, and now Canada – the value of food in Jamaican culture is unmatched.
Push the poutine to the side one day and try one of these local spots:
1 – Triniman Kitchen
Most people swear by Barney’s for their brunch spot but my friend group and I (including people born in Trinidad, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, and Canada) have had the roti here more times than Shaggy says “It Wasn’t Me”.
2 – New Delhi’s Deli
Address: Covent Garden Market Bldg, 130 King St, London, ON N6A 1C5
Hidden within Covent Market’s walls, I’ve visited here to be culturally cleansed after being… displeased… with Western residence “patties”. The owner, Bhan Mudliar, knows how to do it Jamaican style.
3 – Reggae’s Caribbean Restaurant
Address: 1050 Kipps Ln, London, ON N5Y 4S5
In addition to the Caribbean staples such as jerk chicken, oxtail, and curry goat, this spot has Jamaican sweets that give me island flashbacks including rum cake, corn porridge, and Jamaican buns.
4 – Festival Food-Mart
Address: 456 Southdale Rd E, London, ON N6E 1A3
This is a one-stop shop for Caribbean snacks, spices, fruits, and vegetables that the “international” section of Walmart doesn’t appear to carry.
Music & Entertainment
Research into the number of university and college students around London that have Bob Marley posters in their rooms should be done immediately because I’m positive that the figures are staggering. The international expansion of music from the Caribbean is a serious phenomenon and with music comes good vibes. Here are some ways to experience those good vibes in the city:
1 – TD Sunfest
The 24th annual music festival in Victoria Park takes place between Thursday, July 5 – Sunday, July 8.
This year the Caribbean lineup includes artists from:
Haiti – Artiz, Wesli
Cuba – Moreno Son
Jamaica – Exco Levi
Trinidad – Kobo Town
2 – Western’s Caribbean Students’ Organization Soca vs. Dancehall Nights
It is a little known fact to non-Caribbean people that two of the nation’s popular music genres often go head-to-head. This past year, the CSO had two nights in November and January dedicated to the feud and to put it to the test – which genre is superior?
Based on the success of these events, they are likely to make it an annual thing.
3 – VybeKingz
This London-based entertainment group combine Afro-Caribbean culture to bring strictly good vibes to every event they host including Unity Jam, CSO Culture Shows, and their own festival in 2017 – Synergy Summerfest.