VOL: 5  NO: 2   62-81  2008-2


Turkish restaurants in London: An ethnographic study on representation of cultural identity through design




Ýstanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, TURKEY


Received: April 2008                             Final Acceptance: November 200



The aim of this study is to explore the ways in which the Turkish culinary culture is represented and reproduced in London. The emphasis is on the production and serving of food by various restaurants owned by Turkish immigrants, and its respective consumption by those outside the Turkish community.


The research is conducted as an ethnographic study and the method of gathering data involved making interviews with the owners, taking pictures of the restaurants to record the material culture of the places visually and conducting questionnaires to the consumers. While issues related to representation, culture and identity made explicit through visual and material forms were elaborated, the meanings attached or the ways that the different types of restaurants function in daily life were the subject of the study.


Restaurants are classified under three main categories, as indicated in the answers of the questionnaires, that are “traditional”, “modern” and “ordinary” Turkish Restaurants. These categories reflect ideas of “designed ethniticies”, “modernized traditions” and the concept of the “ordinary/ typical”. The ways in which these concepts are represented through visuality and design on the forms of material culture were the subject of discussion.


Key Words: Identity, ethnography, design, material culture, Turkish restaurants


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