Chowhound Profiles: London Explorer

Chowhound: Half a million users, 77 discussion boards, and the smartest community of eaters in the world. This is the first in a series celebrating the people who make up CHOW’s food and restaurant discussion boards.

CHOW name: JFores
Actual name: Justin Fores
Age: 23
Location: London, U.K.
Chowhound user since: 2005

Justin lived mostly in Brooklyn growing up, then moved to England to attend University College London, where he’s stalking a master’s degree. He got turned on to Chowhound in New York, hitting up restaurants he read about in discussions on the Outer Boroughs board. But London was a challenge—Justin says too many users on the U.K./Ireland board were focused only on restaurants in the pretty postcard zone, “posh Londoners,” he calls them, “who refuse to leave Central London.” He missed Chowhound culture in New York, dedicated to exploring interesting dives far from the glamorous 'hoods. So Justin carved out his own niche on the U.K. board, mining East London’s fertile South Asian food culture. “I might know more about Bengali food than anybody else on Chowhound,” he says.

Justin eats out almost every night, mostly South Asian (“so much I get sick on it”). He has deep connections in London’s Keralan community; he’s drawn to Uyghur food in China. Among his proudest finds is Thattukada in East Ham. “It’s a word that means a low-type snack shop, basically Keralan drunk food—it’s a great restaurant.” Chowhound’s been an essential part of Justin’s knowledge of two major metropolitan areas. “Long story short,” he says, “it’s an incredible network. Everybody’s exceptional at what they do.”

Photo courtesy of Justin Fores

John Birdsall is senior editor at CHOW. You can follow him on Twitter. Follow CHOW, too, and become a fan on Facebook.