Last weekend I enjoyed a home delivery Balti-Indian meal from a Birmingham restaurant called Aktar.
The chef is Michelin starred and has soared in popularity during the lockdown. His order book is full until the end of August.
Birmingham is not close (by UK standards) and the food was sent frozen the day beforehand. It just had to be heated.
It was delicious. Even though I enjoy cooking, preparing ethnic foods well is not for the faint hearted.
Back in the 1970s just as Birmingham’s balti food emerged (it has Northern Indian-Pakistan origins and is prepared and served in thin metallic woks), few would have imagined it would be exported far and wide.
In Japan, where I reside, there are several thousand Indian restaurants and a thriving import retail channel. British Indian packaged food brands like Patak’s (a client) and Geeta’s can be found in many stores. Across Asia-Pacific there is a growing market, hungry for sophistication and variety, open to new tastes.
Ethnic foods, whether this means Thai, Mexican, Korean or Japanese is surging.
Not many people know that one of Japan’s famous curry brands made by House foods, is based on an old Royal Navy recipe from the 19th century.