blogheader
A Take on History: How Brits Came to Love Indian Cuisine

Although Chinese cuisine have recently been taking ground as one of the most loved ethnic cuisine in Britain, British beer-and-curry weekends are not going anywhere. Britons’ love affair with curry is dug way too deep into the roots of history for it to be displaced in a snap. No doubt, Indian curry is the comfort food of millions of Brits, and its popularity goes back almost four hundred years ago.

When Queen Elizabeth I Said Yes

At the dawn of the 17th century, London merchants decided it would be a worthy undertaking to cross the Indian Ocean to see if they can trade with an exotic land called India. They formed a joint-stock company called the East India Company, the sole purpose of which was to establish trade with the East Indies. They filed a petition to Queen Elizabeth I for permission to set sail, and on 1600 the petition was granted and a royal charter was bestowed upon it.

Amidst wars against Portuguese and Spanish forces, the company hadmanaged to become the most powerful and dominating trading corporation in India. This further strengthened Britain as a world power. Soon after, British people settled in India and intermarried with Indian women. Indian seamen, known as langars, also boarded British ships and landed in London. By 1810 there were an estimated 1400 langarson English land, and more Indians entered the country in the following years.

Brit’s Spicy Tastes

It was not long before Brits took an interest in Indian cuisine. Curry powder was particularly popular even back then, leading to the publication of recipes and commercial production of curry powder in 1780. The Coffee House in Norris Street, Haymarket, Londonwas the first English restaurant to have offered curry on a menu in 1773.

The first ever establishment that offered solely Indian food, however, was the Hindostanee Coffee House at Portman Square, London which opened in 1809. Owned by Dean Mahomet, the restaurant sought to provide “for the entertainment of Indian gentlemen, where they may enjoy the Hoakha, with real Chilm tobacco, and Indian dishes”.

Since then, the love for Indian cuisine spread across the country, becoming one of the fastest growing food and drinkindustry sector. This exponential growth was partlytriggered in 1984 by Pat Chapman’s The Curry Club and Good Curry Guide, which publicised the cuisine and caused supermarkets to stock curry ingredients and chilled meals. Other publications also taught how to recreate curries at home. Asian catering London, particularly Indian and Chinese catering, also boomed around this time.

Indian Cuisine Today

Bangladesh is entered the catering industry around 1970, and since then dominated the industry of Indian wedding catering London. They own approximately 65 to 75% of the more than 9000 Indian restaurants in the country.

Chicken tikka masala is now often cited as the nation’s most favourite ethnic dish, even called by the then foreign secretary Robin Cook as “a true British national dish”. With the popularity of Indian foods, Bangladeshis will remain as top Asian caterers London.

Colonial relations play a huge role in Britain’s love for curry, and the dish will continue to represent a rich historical era when Britain dominated the world’s economic and political affairs.