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From Bangladesh to Belfast: why this cuisine curries favour in Ulster

Belfast Telegraph Weekend food critic Joris Minne said the opening of Mumbai 27 was evidence of an appetite for a new wave of Indian food.

He said the majority of Indian restaurants were being opened by Bangladeshis, who were not afraid to introduce new trends in Indian cuisine.

Mr Minne said: "We are seeing the emergence of food like the railway shobji, which is a vegetarian stew you would find on-board trains, being sold out of barrels and handed out in bowls.

"It's unbelievably fresh and wonderful and such a long distance away from what we see as Indian food - for which there obviously still is a place.

"There is definitely a second generation of Asian restaurants and we are starting to see evidence of that."

Such restaurants "may not look especially revolutionary but the food they are serving is definitely new generation".

Another big trend was to move into areas like Goan cuisine - part of India but formerly a Portuguese colony. Its cuisine has an obvious Portuguese influence, Mr Minne said.

Kalam Abdul, who's from Bangladesh, owns The Ganges restaurant in Holywood, Co Down. He said: "About 90% of Indian restaurants are owned by Bangladeshi people. In the 1960s and 1970s, there was mass migration from Bangladesh to Britain and once they found their footing, catering was one of their natural abilities. They also had good business acumen and English was widely spoken too.

"In addition, 95% of Bangladeshi are Muslim and Muslims can eat meat as well as vegetables - whereas in India, most of the populations are Hindus who cannot eat meat."

Hence, Bangladeshis could adapt their food for English, meat-eating tastes, resulting in distinctly English 'Indian' dishes like chicken tikka masala. Balti curries, meanwhile, were produced by Pakistani chefs to suit British tastes.


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