Greater London is home to the largest proportion of Arabs in the United Kingdom, with more than 300,000 people of Middle Eastern heritage living in and around the capital. The influence of Arabian culture can be seen all around the city, and many of the ideas, pastimes, stories and rituals have begun to blend with western culture. Some concepts from Arabian culture have even been adopted and adapted by the west, while other aspects, such as food, have permeated the British way of life.
Arabian Influence in London is Everywhere
People who live in certain areas of London often find themselves immersed in Arab culture and start adopting some of the tastes and traditions without even realising it. In Knightsbridge, there is a huge Arabian influence in the form of restaurants and cafés, with many people of Middle Eastern origin choosing to live there.
Chapati & Karak, for example, is a famous café restaurant from Qatar, which has now been franchised in London. As you may have guessed from the name, it specialises in chapatis and Karak, the latter being a drink that is similar to masala chai. The shop attracts people from all countries and cultures, and has inspired other similar Arabic businesses to follow suit.
For foodies, Edgware Road is one of the best places to enjoy some Arabic cuisine. There are plenty of Lebanese options in the area, along with restaurants serving up Iraqi and Kuwaiti delights. London is one of the most multicultural places in the world for restaurants, and you can try gastronomical joys from other cultures in the city as well.
Folklore Can Be Found in Western Films
There has been a heavy Arabian influence on the west for many years, with folklore from the Middle Eastern region often acting as a source of inspiration for films. One Thousand and One Nights has been as influential on Arabian culture as the works of Homer have been on the west. Hollywood filmmakers have regularly turned to the Middle Eastern collection of folklore and literature as well when they’ve needed new ideas.
Some of the most famous stories from these ancient texts include Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp. Both stories have been adapted on numerous occasions in western cinema. The 1992 Aladdin production is the most iconic version of these tales, and it was clear that a lot of aspects had been modified for viewers in Europe and North America.
According to film critic Ibrahim Al Ariss, both western and Arabian filmmakers have misrepresented the culture at times, but he doesn’t believe there is any harm in them doing so. Indeed, classic tales from ancient cultures are open for interpretation and frequently get altered through the years.
Some Western Influence Now Being Seen in Arabian Countries Too
It seems that this sharing of culture is working in both ways as well, as many influences from the west are now creeping into the Arab world. The United Arab Emirates, in particular, has become a hugely popular filming location for Hollywood and many of the titles made there are enjoyed by audiences in the country. For example, Furious 7 had numerous scenes in Abu Dhabi, notably at Al Ain city and Jumeirah Etihad Towers. Other movies that have been shot in the Middle East include The Martian, The Spy Who Loved Me, and The English Patient.
Gaming is the great leveller when it comes to different cultures, as the most beloved games around the world seem to attract people from all backgrounds. PUBG Mobile, for example, is one of the most played games around the world, and its influence has permeated Arab countries too. The same can be said for online casino games. These are accessible to people from every culture, and there has been a recent rise in sites marketing themselves to countries in the Arab world. There are so many available that comparison sites have emerged to sift through them all. Players can choose where to play based on the offers and languages available at each site, and they can check out approval ratings. There are game recommendations too, so players are highly likely to find something that appeals to them.
There is no doubt that Arabian food has had the biggest influence on the west, and there is plenty of evidence of this in London. Entertainment has also been adapted by both cultures, with western and Arab audiences enjoying the same online games.