If there’s one thing this nation can agree on, it’s the popularity of spice.
And if there’s one dish that sums up our love of spices, it has to be the famous curry.
Our love affair with the popular dish stretches back farther than you think. Throughout the 18th-century, East India Company merchants looking to relive their experiences would return home with a plethora of spices to add to their meat dishes.
By far the most well-documented encounter with the curry, however, originates from Queen Victoria’s fascination with India. Queen Victoria absolutely fell in love with India, adorning her opulent palaces with Indian furniture, paintings, and other curiosities.
She later hired an Indian servant, Abdul Karim, who would become one of her closest friends in the court. Satisfying her daily cravings for Indian food, Abdul Karim is most notable for cooking Queen Victoria a range of Indian curry dishes.
It’s no surprise, then, that our relationship with spice has endured to this day, energised further by recent patterns of globalisation.
The post-war Asian migration boom brought with it introductions of new spices to homes up and down the country, and the demand soon gave birth to curry houses that catered to quests for new culinary experiences. No longer were eastern spices the reserve for society’s most elite. Immense popularisation and availability of spices meant the world’s best flavours could be found down the street, or in your nearest corner shop.
Over the last 60+ years, the UK has seen rapid growth in the number of establishments offering mouth, eye, and nose watering dishes. Our tastes know no boundaries when it comes to seeking out the next spicy dish we can handle.
You may have a favourite, go-to spice dish that you choose when you are looking to live life on the edge. Perhaps you’re capable of comfortably finishing off a Vindaloo, or a hot Madras. But did you know that many establishments that offer the infamous Phaal require customers to sign a declaration form?
Are you looking to learn more about what the world has to offer? Take your tastebuds on a blazing tour, and see what you can handle with our latest infographic.