Gentrification and Loss of Food Diversity


#1

[The Way to Kill a Complex City is to Chase Out All the Poor People - and Their Food][1]
[1]: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/01/kill-a-complex-city-chase-out-poor-people-their-food

“When greed makes a place like New York, London or San Francisco unaffordable, the non-wealthy leave, and the city loses the smells and tastes that made it great.”

I think we see this throughout the L.A. Basin: while many of the gentrified areas are offering new food options, a lot of them seem similar to me. I love the outliers when it comes to food - the diverse, unique dishes that have a rich heritage. (And added benefit is that most of the time these were affordable - we simply can’t afford to dine out in areas that have been gentrified, generally speaking.)


#2

This is exactly what Chowhound used to specialize in covering in the 90s and early 2000s, when Jim Leff was running the place:

“I love the outliers when it comes to food - the diverse, unique dishes
that have a rich heritage. (And added benefit is that most of the time
these were affordable - we simply can’t afford to dine out in areas that
have been gentrified, generally speaking.)”

I have noticed the sameness you speak of, even beyond the US. In France, there is a certain generically upscale buttery cuisine that doesn’t really taste like much. I remember having a couple of examples of it. And I don’t say that to slam French food in general, because so much of it is wonderful.


#3

yeah, that’s where Jim L touted the arepa lady over on Roosevelt, or the special dishes spewing forth from a humble kebab joint known as the Kabab Café in Queens. The infamous lobster bisque of the soup Nazi back in the day. And of course who can ever forget DeMarco and his iconic slices.


#4

Curious: I used to live on the SF Penninsula (back in the early 80’s), San Mateo to be exact, and this has been said of that area since the tech boom was just an idea. Companies had to move their more staff-intensive functions elsewhere because the work force couldn’t afford to live there. It only got worse as tech grew and moved Northward into the city. Yet the Bay Area seems to have some of the greatest, most diverse, chow in the country… so is it stagnating or getting too pricey or what? Or is this mostly just about SF city itself and the closely located areas on the Penninsula and Marin??


#5

This is so absolutely spot on. I work near an area of San Diego known for it’s extreme diversity; upwards of 70 different cultures, and languages that only a few people in the world speak. Thank GOD, many of these folks put down roots in this country and started opening restaurants. San Diego’s fine dining scene is passable, nothing compared to LA or DC, but our small rooms, the “mom & pop” rooms, are producing meals that have knocked my socks off more than once.