Oxford Cultural Collective logo

Ken Hom OBE

Patron of the Oxford Cultural Collective, chef, writer and broadcaster, is one of the world's leading authorities on Asian cuisine.


Tim Green – Morning Noodles


Ken Hom reflects on Morning Noodles by Tim Green

This photo features a lady dining alone, enjoying a hearty bowl of noodles. I have no idea where this photo was taken, but it could certainly be in one of the many Chinatowns that I’ve got to know around the world, in which fabulous street food is always available. I’ve been lucky enough to live in cities that have vibrant street food scenes, from my childhood in Chicago, then on to San Francisco and now Bangkok.

Whilst I love experiencing the best restaurants, it remains a special treat to dine from street stalls. There is so much variety, the food is always delicious, and it’s very inexpensive.  This photo captures so much.  It speaks of the unpretentious nature of street food and reminds me that for locals, dining this way is an everyday experience. It also says something about the fascinating nature of Chinatowns – that no matter where they are in the world, they provide a sense of community to those of Chinese origin.  They act as a comfort zone, in which food connects people to their roots in China.

Somehow this photo also says something about visitors to Chinatowns.  They are keen to mix with locals, eat the same food and feel that they are experiencing a little snapshot of authentic Chinese culture. The perpetual noise, the bustle, the colours, the language, and most powerfully the food, give visitors a brief taste of the Chinese way of life.

Chinatowns hold a special place in my heart.  This simple photo, of a lady enjoying her noodles, makes me think about all those moments I’ve had alone, escaping from the madness of my busy life, eating real Chinese food, just like I had when I was a boy in Chicago’s Chinatown.



The OCC Food in Photography project explores how food photography encourages us to consider the place of food and drink in our lives, stimulates memories from childhood, careers and travel and helps us understand others.

Socialise with us