Slums Belfast – poverty porn but no street food

So a new joint in Belfast has just opened today – Slums.

Not only is their name unappealing, their tagline “Street food brought to life” suggests that the owners and whoever came up with the concept don’t know what slums actually are.

I mean, really? Slums? I’ve been to slums in Thailand and I’m doubt anyone would want to eat what people living there have to do with for sustenance.

Moreover, the socially conscious part of me finds it questionable, if not outright wrong, to seek to financially profit from poverty porn. Slums has tweeted using the hashtag #slummingit; whether they realise it or not, it simply sounds like they are making a joke out of being poor, or that they’re trying to seem trendy by pretending to be poor. Neither is funny, nor is it fair to those who actually have to live in slums because life has given them nothing better.

Perhaps some may think I’m taking things too seriously, and that Slums just wants a bit of fun. While that attitude in itself is debatable, there’s one more thing I’m not impressed by – their menu.

When I first saw their tagline, my second thought – after the initial ones above – was yay! Street food! In my mind, I had images of things like skewered pieces of meat, stir-fried noodles, and other delicious, simple items that one can find on the streets of Southeast Asia.

Source: Slums Belfast

Source: Slums Belfast

Hence, you can imagine my disappointment (or perhaps not, since as of writing 92 people seem to like Slum’s menu and 19 love it enough to leave gushing comments) when I discovered that Slums is essentially serving what Boojum and Chalcos do – the same old wraps and bowls and salads, just with South (e.g. masala, chutney), Southeast Asian (tamarind, garlic & lime) and East Asian (Bang Bang chicken) influences.

And this is what bugs me about food in Belfast. Oh look, a new restaurant! It promises exotic and exciting items! But wait – they’re selling what other places already do, just with a slight twist. And sigh, like others before them, they’ve lumped all of Asia together in their food offerings.

So much for what could have been a really concept with real potential. The only thing I would like to try there is their lassis, but I’m not even sure my principles will allow me to give an eatery with the wrong name, wrong tagline, wrong hashtags and wrong menu any money at all. As much as I want to support the local economy and local businesses, they first have to be worth supporting.

What do you think? Is #slummingit being offensive or am I taking things too seriously? Have you tried the food at Slums? Let me know your thoughts!

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7 thoughts on “Slums Belfast – poverty porn but no street food

  1. Anonymous says:

    think you’re taking it far too serious, its just a new place with great food, yeah they may have messed up with their initial appeal but give it a chance

  2. Anonymous says:

    I find the name totally inappropriate, especially when they are situated beside the restaurent Nu Dehli so the face of the building literally reads “Nu Dehli slums”. How is that cool?? I don’t get it.

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