What are Jwala, Byadagi and Nalchetti? The Ethnic Food 98 trade show held at the NEC
Birmingham on 14th-16th June provided the answer. They are all varieties of chilli grown in
The Spice Board of India have one of the 100+ stands at the show and are there
to promote the huge range of spices grown in India. The stands are as varied as the produce
they display. The main cuisines featured are Indian and Chinese but food from the
Caribbean, America and the Far East complete the picture of ethnic food sales in this
|Trade shows are fascinating events. Unlike a consumer show, where at least the goods on
show are familiar, trade show gets behind the scenes. When you go out for a curry at a
restaurant it's not the first thing on your mind to wonder how everything came together to
make your meal. But, if you are curious, the trade show provides the answer. There are
spice and produce importers and wholesalers, curry sauce, hot sauce, pickle, chutney and
goodness knows what else manufacturers, ready made meal suppliers, kitchen equipment
companies, you name it it's there. Oh, and breweries as well. Mustn't forget the nice people
at the Cobra Beer stand whose motto is "the beer from Bangalore that let's you eat more ...
Mr Enam Ali
|Did you know that 85% of "Indian" restaurants in the UK are run by people of Bangladeshi
origin and are not Indian at all? Or that there are 9800 "Indian" restaurants in this country? I
learnt this from Mr Enam Ali who is Chairman of the Guild of Bangladeshi
Restaurateurs. Mr Ali had a queue of people waiting to see him but kindly spared the time to
chat to me all the same.
Food trade fairs are a fascinating place for a foodies like me. And an ethnic foods show is
like being sent to culinary heaven. The only problem with all food shows is that after a
couple of hours the mixture of smells from the cooking of dozens of different stands tends
to, how shall I put it, ruin your appetite. Good job I tasted the Chicken Malabar early on.
|My appetite did come back though while I watched one of the 5 cookery demonstration that
are held each day. Gurmit Singh Pank of South Birmingham College was cooking Hara Bhara
and Tava Paratha. The recipes have been created by the college and mix traditional tandoori
cooking with the modern British style of presentation. The result was a delightful looking
dish of slices of tandoori chicken breast stuffed with spicy minced lamb and served on a bed
of mixed salad leaves. Heaven indeed. Is this the way of the future then - a fusion of Asian
and British cooking?
Keith Davies of S. Birmingham College
Enam Ali thinks the future for restaurants looks bright. He believes that restaurants will
continue to shed their old image of somewhere to soak up the beer at closing time and
points out that families and business people make up a significant proportion of restaurant
customers these days. He thinks we will see the rise of chains of restaurants over the next
few years themed to a particular cooking style.
How about one final fact? 170 million meals are served each year in Indian restaurants and
take aways. Yes, there was even a stand offering statistics, not poppadoms, for sale.
Astonishing stuff. Pass the Cobra would you?
© David W Smith, 1998
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