The great British curry crisis
January 9, 2016 9:26 PM   Subscribe

 
Man, those are some mouthwatering pictures.
posted by sweetkid at 9:29 PM on January 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


Oh, that curry house off Borough High Street. Sigh.
posted by parki at 9:44 PM on January 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


They have struggled to shake off an image of serving heavy and unhealthy food to men full of lager.

As a heavy and unhealthy man full of lager and Palak Paneer and Chana Masala, I salute you for your service, even if it dooms you in the future.

This is one of those weird problems. On the one hand, it sucks to have your cultural cuisine reduced to a form of fast food...on the other hand...it sucks to try and compete in a marketplace where mostly all (especially uniquely cultural) food is reduced to fast food mostly stipped of the original context to appeal to local tastes by corporate participants in the market.

Fast food can taste good no matter what cuisine inspires it, it takes more involvement to appreciate more genuine, complex expressions. People don't seem as willing to pay that premium if it isn't a fancy French or Italian inspired dish. I'm absolutely guilty of that myself.

But then those essentially fast food outfits provide a steady source of employment for a diverse set of chefs, cooks, wait staff, and others who could never get a job preparing fancy European food. They provide a solid economic base for new immigrants and represent the very deliberate results of a network that was built for the benefit of new immigrants by the people who came before them.

But modern British curry-house owners have a narrower lineage: 80 per cent to 90 per cent can trace their roots directly to Sylhet, a city of about 500,000 people which lies in the east of Bangladesh and borders the Indian region of Assam. Sylhet is not known for its cuisine: its most distinctive speciality, says Lizzie Collingham, the author of Curry: A Biography , is its dried punti fish, hung from rafters and surrounded by flies until it is ground into a deep red fermented paste.
Nor were the Sylhetis who came to Britain chefs: they were originally boatmen, hired to stoke the engines of British steamships. The job was unbearable and Sylhetis became notorious for jumping ship in ports around the world. In London, a small community took hold in the East End in the 1940s and some entrepreneurial Sylhetis soon began setting up boarding houses and cafés and then bringing over their relatives.


Sounds like a pretty smart and resourceful sort of people to me. Thanks to your ancestors for spreading Indian cuisine around the world, even if the common interpretation of that cuisine is now flawed.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:52 PM on January 9, 2016 [17 favorites]


The pictures are great and some of the places they describe sound really good.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:12 PM on January 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


It speaks to a wider problem, not just in Britain, and not just with curry. Middlebrow food is disappearing. I'm seeing it in Australia with fish and chips and gyros/souvlaki shops closing down. We're being reduced to a choice between McDonalds, and artisanal burgers served on hardwood planks with a side of truffle fries in a miniature shopping cart for $23-.
posted by Jimbob at 11:24 PM on January 9, 2016 [82 favorites]


Interestingly, I feel like in LA some of the most consistently available middlebrow food is Indian.
posted by flaterik at 11:37 PM on January 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


God, really? Indian food in Los Angeles is horrible, and far less ubiquitous than almost any other cuisine. I also find that Angelenos typically have no experience with and very poor taste in Indian food. Even the "middle-brow" Westernized variety.

I'd peg Thai for the ubiquitous American middle-brow/non-fast-food-ified cuisine. Or possibly sushi. Definitely if we're talking outside the Northeast Corridor. And probably even then.
posted by Sara C. at 11:58 PM on January 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


Thai is probably more ubiquitous in the entire city, you're right. My opinion is pretty strongly west side biased. TONS of indian food around here (and I like a lot of it... I could just have crappy taste), at least as much as there is Thai, and it's similar price points. But that doesn't extend to the fucktillion square miles AROUND the west side.

Sushi is a good competitor, though most of the prices are higher than what I'd consider middle brow.
posted by flaterik at 12:05 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd also add that in no city in the US is Indian food as ubiquitous as it is in the UK. I think a more apt comparison might be with Chinese, Mexican, or Italian-American cuisines in the states. In fact, reading the article reminded me a lot of the way that, in a lot of the US, the classic "red sauce" Italian-American restaurant has died out in favor of either fast food pizza delivery or upscale regional Italian.
posted by Sara C. at 12:19 AM on January 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


The more you say the more I realize how incorrect my original assertion was.
posted by flaterik at 12:22 AM on January 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Indian food is wildly prevalent in Seattle and the surrounding areas - especially Redmond. As a tech epicenter there's just a density of folks from India here, brand new and those who've been here a full generation, now. I think the only two things I myself notice as more common here are Thai and Teriyaki (which is just a subset of Japanese, I realize, but somehow in this area we've made it an entire cuisine).

Speaking of the diminishing middle-brow cuisine, definitely noticing that here too. And it's already quite noticeable in other consumables like clothing - and not just here in the US but abroad as well. A friend in Japan, his wife imports and sells children's clothes. Right now she's making the hard decision of either trying to go very high end, or very low end, because the middle market isn't purchasing and isn't being supplied, either.
posted by taterpie at 12:29 AM on January 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


George Osborne recently repeated the policy: “We all enjoy a great British curry, but we want the curry chefs to be trained in Britain.”

What utter nonsense, George. That is precisely what people don't want these days.
posted by Dysk at 12:34 AM on January 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


Actually there were far too many poor quality Indian restaurant/take-aways and consolidation to fewer and better is overdue. The business has cruised along for years on the flow of cheap labour. Let them compete with other kinds of food on a level playing field and see how popular they are at a fair price.
posted by Segundus at 12:47 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


taterpie: Indian food is wildly prevalent in Seattle and the surrounding areas - especially Redmond. As a tech epicenter there's just a density of folks from India here, brand new and those who've been here a full generation, now. ... Speaking of the diminishing middle-brow cuisine, definitely noticing that here too.

It's funny that you mention Seattle and Indian food and "middle-brow cuisine" because I was just thinking the other day: after living here for years, the only thing that sits on the edge of my consciousness as something that would send me back to Texas is the food. I really don't like Indian food; the spices are wrong to my palate, the texture is off, and I just prefer beef. I similarly dislike Japanese, Taiwanese, Korean, and non-American-style Chinese. I'm sure a bunch of it is cultural, having grown up eating burgers, BBQ, steak, and so on.

There's just nowhere around for me to eat, at least not on the level of I-really-like-this that I used to have. Mexican food is California-style (for obvious reasons) which is eh, I'll take it but give me some good Texmex any day. There's nothing like Whataburger—sorry, native Seattleites, Dick's isn't a substitute for me—or Rosa's Tortilla Factory or Fuzzy's Tacos or Kincaid's. Heck, just having a Chili's would be nice (there, I said it).

The middle is definitely being hollowed out in a lot of places. It's either McDonald's or 8oz Burger Company or Lunchbox Labs. $8 for a "value meal" or $20 after tax and tip. No wonder so-called fast casual places are springing up like weeds back home in Dallas but just don't make a dent anywhere in Puget Sound.
posted by fireoyster at 12:48 AM on January 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Food trucks are great though. Portland has us beat in that area, but we've got some superlative ones. Still, it's $10 for lunch every time. Back to Indian food - there's plenty of Indian trucks, and then near me on the east side, two 'Indian fast food' chaat joints have sprung up in the last 4 months.
posted by taterpie at 12:53 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


"The middle is definitely being hollowed out in a lot of places. "

You're omitting a LOT of food choices because of your pretty restrictive tastes - you seem to like only one subset of american food. Which is fine, preference is preference, but I'm guessing the huge swaths of cuisine that you don't like are filling that economic segment.
posted by flaterik at 1:03 AM on January 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


Seems a bit of a Londoncentric piece (well it is the FT after all).

Kashmiri and Pakistani curry houses are still widely popular in Birmingham and cater to a wide variety of customers, there are a fair few places like Lasans in the Jewellery Quarter doing high end 'Indian' cuisine as well as the plethora of family owned trad balti places in the Balti Triangle.

Staff costs are cheaper in Brum though, remains to be seen what the impact of the recent immigration crackdowns will be.
posted by brilliantmistake at 1:27 AM on January 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


The price of a curry, treasured by the British public but always thought of as a cheap dinner, has barely changed in 20 years but costs are rising fast. The weakness of the pound has doubled the prices of spices imported from India. Cooking oil and rice have become more expensive and staff costs keep going up.

It's a good read, but given that this is in the Financial Times, it seems like an important part of the story to not give much detail about, given how it seems like food is getting more expensive everywhere.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:45 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


It might just be my experience, but in Australia I've never found curries to be cheap (outside lunch curries, which are a vastly different bread to proper dinner curries).

The nation’s largest seller of curries is now the pub chain JD Wetherspoon

Oh, sadness.

“The British public is coming to an awareness that what these curry houses are serving is not real Indian food.

Hrm. There's so much to unpick in this one sentence alone, I don't know where to start, short of opening a kickstartr so I can compare curries in India/Bangladesh/Pakistania and the UK.
posted by Mezentian at 2:11 AM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


It also seems to be an article pro-chains.

I know I am not alone when looking at food and drink options, I discount chains first.
posted by Mezentian at 2:15 AM on January 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


And I always thought the National British Food was Curry...
posted by ojemine at 2:46 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


You joke, the British National Food is Sunday Roast.
posted by Mezentian at 4:07 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Britain's favorite food was chicken tikka masala for a long time, but I think I've seen some recent reports suggesting that the jalfrezi is now more popular. Any which way, I would strongly object to the Sunday roast being lionised in this way when fish and chips exists. Or just chips, really. They are uniquely British (fries and pommes frittes are not the same thing) and universal to damn near all Brits, across regions and dietary preferences and restrictions, being enjoyed by people of almost all religions, vegetarians, vegans, etc

Really though, it makes a lot more sense to talk about regional fare. Faggots, chips and peas should definitely be the official food of the Midlands, but is pretty alien to much of the rest of the country.
posted by Dysk at 4:14 AM on January 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Wait, what? LA has great Indian food. It's not London, but it's pretty great.

I do think it's worse than some of the other Asian food. But only because that is so amazing here.
posted by persona au gratin at 4:20 AM on January 10, 2016


Though, like the other good Asian food, it tends to be south and east of downtown LA.
posted by persona au gratin at 4:24 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Faggots, chips and peas should definitely be the official food of the Midlands [...]

If ever there were a case for the serial (Oxford) comma ....
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:28 AM on January 10, 2016 [60 favorites]



“The Sylhetis in London had to find a living, [so they] start washing up in London restaurants and then they start buying up rundown cafés and fish and chip shops,” says Collingham.


And so it goes.

But this post does make me want to hit the local Indian buffet for lunch. Just to be safe I may buy lottery tickets while I'm out.
posted by TedW at 4:57 AM on January 10, 2016


If ever there were a case for the serial (Oxford) comma ....

The 1970s British Comedian in me wants to make a "pork faggots" joke, but the 1980s comedian and the 2000s comedian is just keen to make sure everyone knows about Mr Brain's Faggot Family: The Doody's.
posted by Mezentian at 5:25 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


[Chips are] universal to damn near all Brits, across regions and dietary preferences and restrictions, being enjoyed by people of almost all religions, vegetarians, vegans, etc
I've a southerner who's been spending some time in the north lately, and there are actually regional differences. Chips are better in the south, fishcakes are better in the north, scallops and bread cakes are unknown in the south, cod is more likely to be available in the south.
posted by Leon at 5:37 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


As an aside, what's up with British newspapers and their fascination with alliteration?
posted by dozo at 5:38 AM on January 10, 2016


I live in an area of England called the Balti Triangle for the predominance of the types of Anglicised Indian cooking: Bengali, Mirpuri, and Gujarati. I know a lot of the former tandoori cooks in these restaurants. They are still in low wage roles, most drive cabs. These are family businesses which have lost out in changes to immigration laws because of their egregious business practices in many cases. Some are angelic, others are completely awful and have served as local fronts for drug manufacturing within walking distance from my own house.
However, on the face of it, the places that seem to do well now are Indian bakeries, sweet and savoury food shops that cater to those who prefer to cook at home but don't have time to make their own samosas and naan breads. The curry houses have not diversified at all: most are formal sit down restaurants with white table cloths catering to white patrons and large Asian weddings and other family events for those with a filial link to the proprietor. In town, there is a Sikh cooking halal lamb and chicken curries in a trailer six days a week to students and professionals who come into town for lunch and snacks. He moved from Portugal, where he was a hotel chef. That's the future. That is why Dudley (yes, folks) has two fantastic African restaurants, one French Senegalese and the other Kenyan-Cameroonian. They came from Europe, resettled and opened restaurants. Again, very formal spaces with table service and a full bar in a small space with at most 15 covers. The Poles are opening groceries and slowly expanding them into full-service deli counters. The English imitators can't keep up or offer better service than these upstarts with good purchasing connections on the continent. It is very hard to get training in Indian cuisine in the UK. I wanted to find someone to teach me to use a tandoori oven for a recipe I wanted to work on and have never found anyone interested in sharing knowledge. That's why it's so hard to watch the decline of these restaurants.
posted by parmanparman at 5:43 AM on January 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


I wouldn't read too much into the Wetherspoons stat. There is no other national curry chain, and the Spoons is huge (and very, very middlebrow in pricing and selection). I'm a big fan, because there's always a reasonable selection of interesting beers and the food, while by no means adventurous or exciting, does the job of being decent nosh at a decent price. The pubs are generally more socially mixed than many, too, so a lot of anti-Spoons prejudice is classist.

I'd also agree that while it's sad that the Great British Curry is under threat, it's also about time. There are a lot of decent curry houses, but there are many mediocre and plain bad ones that are run on autopilot and just don't deliver a good experience. You grow out of that pretty quickly. When I first moved to London in the 80s, the curry épicentre was Brick Lane in the East End, and for a provincial lad being able to go there was a nuge, exciting treat. It got much less so subsequently; I'm not sure whether it was because I grew up or it grew down, but by the 2000s it wasn't really worth visiting - it had become a sort of post-60s currified Carnaby Street, trading on its name to tourists. (At the same time, places like The Red Fort, although expensive, were really doling out the goods.)

Fewer but better is good, from the point of view of the consumer. Disruptive for those involved in production, but the low-end curryhouse doesn't sound like a great place to work anyway. Hope those traditions of self-reliance, hard work and flexibility carry on; they're what you need these days.
posted by Devonian at 5:53 AM on January 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Around here, Indian food is very frustrating for me. We have quite a few places, but apparently all of India eats only about 30 different dishes, which are actually just variants of about 5-10 of them. Please, please, just put one or two different, hopefully important to the cook, dishes on there. Something different for me to try. Also, something lighter. Indian has become like Canadian Chinese (aka Combo #1), where I only order it because I have a hankering (comfort food, basically), not because I actually like it, from a cuisine point of view.

Thai is the same situation.

We have a large Chinese population, but even Chinese can be strikingly consistent from one place to the other. Sure there are some dumpling places or the like, but how about just some basic Chinese food? I think part of the problem there is that I suspect China does not have a tradition of eating out for anything other then 'special' meals. Mind you, I could be an idiot.

That said, I have a Pho addiction, and order the same thing (rice noodles with rare beef) every time I go to a Vietnamese restaurant, so I am probably part of the problem.
posted by Bovine Love at 6:20 AM on January 10, 2016


I want to propose that there is perhaps a cursus honorum in the American prevalence of Asian cuisine: Chinese, then Japanese, then Indian, then Vietnamese, then Thai. When I was a teenager a couple of decades ago, Japanese food was becoming normal and Indian food was a bit out there in the Philly suburbs; nowadays one has options as to the best pho or pad thai. The British situation with Indian food seems like the American one with Chinese food: ubiquitous to the point of parody, with a favorite that's actually not from the country of origin and caters to a western palate (tikka masala in the UK, General Tso's chicken in the US). Is that about right? If so I can't imagine the British curry joint going anywhere any more than American lo mein place.
posted by graymouser at 6:21 AM on January 10, 2016


Bovine Love, get either the vermicelli or a banh mi the next time you're doing Vietnamese. I love pho as well, also with rare beef, but those are my favorite changeups.
posted by graymouser at 6:23 AM on January 10, 2016


Oh, I try graymouser, I try. But I get there, and the Pho calls to me. I need to go like 3 times in a week so that the addiction is satiated andI can try something else. Or, Hmm, buy some for my preschooler (she likes vermicelli, for example), and eat 1/2 of it...
posted by Bovine Love at 6:26 AM on January 10, 2016


Kashmiri and Pakistani curry houses are still widely popular in Birmingham and cater to a wide variety of customers, there are a fair few places like Lasans in the Jewellery Quarter doing high end 'Indian' cuisine as well as the plethora of family owned trad balti places in the Balti Triangle.

There are hundreds of fabulous restaurants in Chicago and I never even make a dent in my list of places to try but I'd be willing to murder to get some of Birmingham's Grameen Khana's nagah namb curry and mackerel bhuna here. American South Asian food almost all tastes like a few pieces of meat in creamy tomato soup to me.
posted by srboisvert at 6:42 AM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think part of the problem there is that I suspect China does not have a tradition of eating out for anything other then 'special' meals.
I don't think that's it. I think it's more likely that the owners think that most North Americans are likely to be put off by the food of the owners' home regions, either because it's different from what most North Americans perceive Chinese food to be or because it contains ingredients that most North Americans find unappealing. A lot of restaurants have separate English and Chinese menus. My local Chinese restaurant serves a big Chinese clientele and doesn't bother having separate menus, so there's lots of stuff on the English menu like "Pork Blood and Intestine Braised in Hot Pot" and "Frog with Pickled Pepper" that I assume never make it on to the English menu in most Chinese restaurants. If you know someone who is a member of the community, you might be able to go with them and order off of the Chinese menu. My brother speaks decent Mandarin, and he sometimes asks if there's a Chinese menu he can order off of.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:53 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't mean to be a curry party pooper, and this is not aimed at anyone in particular... but can this thread maybe not be about food in the US?
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:54 AM on January 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


Sorry! I'll stop. I believe Bovine Love is in Canada, though.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:56 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The most mind-boggling statistic I heard so far this year: "80%-90% of British curry-house owners can trace their roots back to the Bangladeshi city of Sylhet."

A city of 500.000 in a country of 150 million. Not to mention about a billion people in India.
If you include those, then the chances that someone hails from a city of 500.000 out of a population of ca. 1 billion is 1:2000.

I've heard a similar story about Chinese restaurants, a disproportionate number of which are apparently run by people from Wenzhou (pop.: 3 million). And that includes restaurants that appear to be e.g. Cantonese.
posted by sour cream at 7:03 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Good grief, Brick Lane looks hugely gentrified since I lived down East London. I knew my favourite place had long gone - Sweet and Spicy.

Sweet and Spicy was amazing. The window was full of yellowing printed-out testimonials sent to their hotmail address, with advertising for eBookers and long-forgotten products and platforms and the hotmail chrome around them. They had daily specials warmed up in a microwave and fresh breads.

The best thing about the place was its provenance. The owner was a retired wrestler who had come to London to set up his own restaurant. He reflected this in the decor, which was 1950s Public Baths tiling, with amateurish paintings of slightly deformed chubby men in y-fronts headlocking each other or posing. Stuffing my face for £3 with bread, pilau and some of the best (re-heated) curry I'd ever eaten, I'm sorry I'll never have their food again, or sit in the most baffling and inexplicable restaurant I'm ever likely to visit.

Manchester still has a culture of these very cheap lunchtime curry houses, with the local 'three-on-rice' a favourite (three curries of your choice on rice for about a fiver). There are some great (but very rough-and-ready) curry places around the city centre, and you can still eat like a king in them for less than £4 if you know the lay of the land. They're a hangover from the Bangladeshi workers who worked the rag trade in the city - now the industry is gone, the curry houses that served the workers are all that's left.

Strongly advise anyone visiting Manchester to skip the more famous Curry Mile and hunt down Yadgars, Kabana, This n' That, Al Faisal, or any of the other slightly run-down, beat up places round the north of the city centre, while they're still around. And while I'm making curry tips for the UK, I whenever I'm travelling through Euston station, I give myself enough time to go eat on Drummond St (turn right out of Euston mainline station, past Sainsburys and the Ibis) - a whole street of south Indian cuisine and restaurants. Diwani have superb dosas and thalis, and pretty much everyone offers a sickeningly good meat-free buffet deal for lunch.

And if you're near Chapel St. in Islington, I hope the Bhel Puri house is still at the end of the road - a buffet restaurant cheaper now than it was in 1984. Worth going just for the wildly inaccurate and off-key vegetarian propaganda painted around the place (and I say that as a vegan). Cheap, trashy, inadvertently fun.

Right, that's it, my most valuable knowledge and insider guide to UK curry. I feel like I have nothing left to give now.

... do we have any MeFites in Bradford?
posted by davemee at 7:06 AM on January 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


The British public is coming to an awareness that what these curry houses are serving is not real Indian food.

Anyone remotely interested in UK food has known that for years, but we still love our 70s curries. In fact, if like me you grew up eating at UK Bangladeshi curry houses, you may want to create the authentic 'base sauce' at the heart of all those dishes at home. Buy 'The Curry Secret' (hundreds of five star reviews) and you will not be disappointed (although your house will get smelly - the onions must be boiled, for a start).
posted by colie at 7:07 AM on January 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Ok, I'm going to get reamed for this, but it's relevant and interesting, so I'm posting it anyway. When I lived in New York, I remember my Indian friends telling me that most Indian restaurants in New York were actually owned by Bangladeshis. And it turns out that most of them are (or were, as of fifteen years ago) from Sylhet, too:
''I'd say 95 percent of New York's Indian restaurants belong to Bangladeshis,'' said Akbar Chowdhury, a daytime manager of Great India.

But it doesn't end there. Almost all of those Bangladeshis come from one sliver of Bangladesh: Sylhet, a region of emerald green ricefields and dense tea gardens on the country's eastern border, where the Gangetic plain meets the rugged hills of the isolated Indian Northeast and Myanmar.
Weird!

Sorry. I will now stop talking about the US. It's really about Sylhet, though, right?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:12 AM on January 10, 2016


So much stuff getting thrown around in this without data or sources. The weak pound that prices spices out of the market is the same strong pound that prevents manufacturing exports? The hollowed middle is what - £4 or £7 for a main course? £15? £27?*

*Because all of those are main course prices at my local family run Indian restaurant which is actually Nepalese money, Bangladeshi chefs (but only on Thursdays to Saturdays because they're all at college doing engineering or stats degrees), Polish waitresses, and either white British or Nepalese punters eating off menu, and every Indian family in town goes to the new vegetarian dosa place at the top of the hill that does food that the Aunties like and it stops them complaining.
posted by cromagnon at 7:19 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think part of the problem there is that I suspect China does not have a tradition of eating out for anything other then 'special' meals.

This was not my experience of working in China, and indeed, like many locals, I went out for quite a lot of my meals, and had a great variety of food available. Those were the days - baozi, all kinds of fried dumplings, jian bing, steamers full of various dumplings, the place with all the soups, the Xinjiang food places, the Hong Kong place with the spicy soy milk, the Szechuan place...and that was just the informal places we ate near the university...not to mention all the different fruit. I ate better there than ever in my life, and looking back I've always kind of regretted leaving. Admittedly, Shanghai is an exceptionally fine city and superbly located from an eating-seasonal-fruit standpoint.
posted by Frowner at 7:28 AM on January 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


The one and only time in my life that I ate in a curry house in London, was at 7pm on the 7th of July 2005. Those of you who remember 7/7 might recall this was the moment curfew was lifted. It was my first trip to London and I'd only arrived the evening before from my friend's place in North Yorkshire - somehow I'd managed to fly directly from Chicago to Teesside.

It was some designer lady (starving student type) who'd connected with me through work/online and offered to meet me. Given the events of the day (I'd been 30 metres around the corner from the no.30's bus stop when it exploded) I was eager to get out of the Generator (budget days) having spent most of the day curled up on my bunk bed trying not to think.

The food was actually delicious, quite unlike any where I'd eaten. I'll confess I wasn't expecting to like it. The only other fact I remember is that the bill came to around 30 pounds for the two of us and she strategically dissappeared off to the loo when it was to arrive. Still I didn't mind it too much. I was grateful to see someone that day.
posted by infini at 7:37 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well if nothing else I've found out who some of my local MeFites are - hi brilliantmistake and parmanparman!

(Although I've yet to try Lasan's, despite it being ten minutes' walk away. Let's just say that its prices are more eye-watering than even the spiciest dish on its menu...)
posted by Major Clanger at 7:57 AM on January 10, 2016


Oh to have a curry house here in Rio.
*Drools*.
posted by adamvasco at 8:21 AM on January 10, 2016


Strongly advise anyone visiting Manchester to skip the more famous Curry Mile and hunt down Yadgars, Kabana, This n' That, Al Faisal, or any of the other slightly run-down, beat up places round the north of the city centre, while they're still around.

Seconded. Manchester is fortunate to have these options, and we enjoy some decent suburban institutions too, particularly around Chorlton and Stockport.

Although the article touches on the growth of chains in the English north, interestingly these are rarely seen in the pejorative; Aagrah will be familiar to many as multiple winners of the British Curry Award and its interesting to note the confidence around Liverpool's Mowgli - very foodie and considered - who have now opened in Manchester city centre too.

I wonder though to what extent Trip Advisor has put paid to the dodgier establishments. I travel about the UK a fair bit and my first instinct upon arrival is to whip out my mobile and determine the best curry house to eat at later. Separating signal from Trip Advisor noise quickly becomes second nature and I can't imagine I'm the only person who gives the also-rans a wide berth.
posted by specialbrew at 8:37 AM on January 10, 2016


MetaFilter: The more you say the more I realize how incorrect my original assertion was.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:41 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I really messed up my curry-eating when I went to London - I had Indian three times and two of them were on/near Brick Lane, where I had the most mediocre, bland curries. Though I guess in a way that's an authentic London experience? The other place was great, though, one of those little takeaway joints where you get chicken tikka wrapped up in naan like a kebab. That was probably the best meal I ate in London! (maybe tied with the fish and chips I had at an upscale pub in Islington)

ArbitraryandCapricious, I thought of NYC's Indian restaurants when I read that too. Especially all those places on 6th St in the East Village with the Christmas lights and the exact same menus (down to the lunch specials).

Mexican food is California-style (for obvious reasons) which is eh, I'll take it but give me some good Texmex any day.

Fireoyster, have you been to Taqueria Tequila in Greenwood? IME, that's the best tex-mex style Mexican food I've had in Seattle. Not as good as in Texas, but lots of refried beans and cheesy enchiladas.
posted by lunasol at 8:48 AM on January 10, 2016


Best local curry house is Rose of Kashmir, followed by Major Curry Affair. Birmingham's Khan Palace (Afghan), Akbar's on Hagley Road, and Azeem's in Lozells are their best. Kanum on the Aston Road is also amazing but is collection only.

Berkeley, California, my hometown, has plenty of Indian restaurants including a quite nice Nepalese place in the Gourmet Ghetto near Virginia Bakery. But they also have that amazing vegetarian sushi house and where else are you going to have that? My brother came to Dudley and was totally blown away by vindaloo from Major Curry Affair, saying it is the best he ever had. He went on to say it at another restaurant. The spices they use in California are not the same, especially the peppers affecting overall taste of the dishes.
posted by parmanparman at 9:16 AM on January 10, 2016


Good grief, Brick Lane looks hugely gentrified since I lived down East London.

Brick Lane is rubbish for curry now. A victim of it's own popularity and reputation; a long line of curry houses all churning out the same stuff with touts out front and promised discounted cheap prices (which may not actually appear on the bill, if you've had a few and don't check carefully).

The place to go for a decent curry in London is Tooting Bec. It tends to run to formica tables and neon lights but the food is superlative.
posted by Dext at 9:19 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Chips are better in the south

Heresy!
posted by Dysk at 9:52 AM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Brick Lane is rubbish for curry now.

This is good to know. My girlfriend and I had a Brick Lane curry (our first English curry, actually) when we were in London two years ago and it was, just, dreadful. We get better curry for cheaper at our local Indian joint in Brooklyn (which, ironically, is actually called Brick Lane Curry House). We had picked at random instead of checking tripadvisor or Yelp, and we were kicking ourselves for managing to pick the one crappy curry place out of all the great ones on Brick Lane. It's nice to know that we probably couldn't have done any better, I guess.

On the plus side, now we've got a big list of places to check out next time we're in the UK!
posted by Itaxpica at 10:42 AM on January 10, 2016


This is such a strangely parochial article; I mean, how can you seriously write a piece on the British curry without a mention of Brum or of Manchester? Not thatthese are cities immune from whatever's ailing the South - I was recently out of the country for a few months & when I got back I found one of my favourite places had shut down (I think it's now a moroccan place though, so there's that) (and the owners had always wanted to travel - having quit lucrative banking jobs to be close to family, I kinda home they sold up and shipped out). But surely there's a nuance in these places where the dynamic, and even the ethnic origin of the owners, is so different?

But yes, there's 'curry house curry', which is what you get in small towns (and not so small: I had a miserable few years in Cambridge with the lack of variety there...), and then there are the places you get in diverse cities like Birmingham and Manchester which are so different, and really do run the gamut from 2am £2.50 desperation food, though to £90 taster menus. And, for what it's worth, neighbours in-thread, I don't rate Lasan's massively. I am a vegetarian, which makes things differently, but I really thought the irritatingly hipster Raja Monkey outlet was better quality-for-money than Lasans, tbh.
/parochial restaurant tip sharing ;)
posted by AFII at 11:24 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


In my experience the indian food on the east coast tastes similar to the stuff in London where I grew up. Indian food on the west coast however, particularly where I live in Silicon Valley, tastes bland and disappointing. It's probably more authentically indian, and actual indians like it, but it tastes dull when you love the exaggerated creamy flavors of anglo-indian. They all try to do anglo-indian dishes like chicken tikka masala but the flavor is missing for me.

I am sure a full-on anglo-indian restaurant with UK curry house recipes would do really well in Silicon Valley both with the UK exiles and the mainstream US population. Obviously it'd have flock wallpaper, serve pints, onion bhajis, UK style fried popadoms, be open late, etc.
posted by w0mbat at 11:38 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yadgars in Manchester is indeed great, I lunch there most weeks. But I have a family now, so the Rusholme curry mile makes total sense: very family-friendly, lots of not-so-hot dishes, great bus routes.
posted by alasdair at 11:40 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


When I was in Lomdon in 2009 I guess it was, I had amazing Bangladeshi food somewhere or other in east London. Wow that was good. I just wandered in off the street and it had amazing food.
posted by persona au gratin at 12:05 PM on January 10, 2016


Has southern-style indian food made any inroads into the UK? It seems to in the SF Bay area; I used to have to go up to SF for my dosa hit, but then restaurants started appearing in Fremont and seem to be working their way out from there. Just found a really tasty one in Mountain View.
posted by tavella at 12:08 PM on January 10, 2016


... do we have any MeFites in Bradford?

I'm from Halifax, which is very close by. I've been in Vancouver for a long time now though. There's a good bit on Bradford's Karachi here. Homesick now!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:10 PM on January 10, 2016


with a side of truffle fries in a miniature shopping cart for $23-.

And of course, the way they turn regular fries into "truffle fries" is by spraying the fries with some sort of mixture of 95% canola oil and 5% truffle oil extract.

I've fallen for that.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:49 PM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm no expert, but I feel like it's obligatory that SOMEONE mentions Leicester at this point... I've only been a few times, but I am told wondrous tales of glory about the Indian food there. Certainly the best curry I've ever had was in my Midlands town's outlet of a small Leicester chain (maybe five or seven locations, most of them in Leicester itself?) of Kerala restaurants.
posted by Dysk at 12:51 PM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


the onions must be boiled

Ummm what

no

I mean, I have a kind of half-assed tarka that my Punjabi-British former roommate taught me to do and which can be adapted to make basically any base protein, daal, or veg into a Punjabi style "curry". And even that garbled nonsense doesn't involve BOILING onions.

What is even the deal with British people and boiling things that should never be boiled?
posted by Sara C. at 12:53 PM on January 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


In my experience the indian food on the east coast tastes similar to the stuff in London where I grew up. Indian food on the west coast however, particularly where I live in Silicon Valley, tastes bland and disappointing. It's probably more authentically indian, and actual indians like it, but it tastes dull when you love the exaggerated creamy flavors of anglo-indian.

I don't think that real Indian food is less bland. Quite the opposite. But its not so loaded in butter, milk, cream, etc. Those dishes are touted as for maharajas and from royalty and shit. Maybe that is true. But it should be known that this isn't the food that Indians have been eating for hundreds, even thousands of years...its food that rich people ate because they had access to butter and cheese and meat, and thats the type of food that is being advertised as down home indian food.

Also, less turmeric, chili, and cumin for all dishes served to Americans/Brits. Its ok, more salt and dairy makes up for it.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:56 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Buy 'The Curry Secret' (hundreds of five star reviews) and you will not be disappointed (although your house will get smelly - the onions must be boiled, for a start).

OMG. This is literally the food version of "The Secret". It doesn't help you get to your goals, but it fucks you up along the way telling you that you have to boil onions (or have a vision board) to get to your goals.

Don't do it.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:00 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


What is the American horror at boiling things based in? Boiled onions are a part of loads of American dishes - round steak and onions, jambalaya, gumbo, etc... The fact that you clear them off in oil first doesn't change the fact that you have a one-pot meal, with onions in it, that simmers or boils for an extended period of time: boiled onions.
posted by Dysk at 1:13 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can't claim to have done the boiled onions myself (yet)... but it's out there, and 'BIR Curry' is definitely a thing (British Indian Restaurant Curry). It will be a hipster thing in due course.
posted by colie at 1:17 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I love boiling and frying, it's just baking I don't trust. Food gets up to strange things when it knows you're not looking.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:33 PM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


There are no boiled onions in jambalaya (which is a dry pilaf-ish sort of dish) or gumbo. And who'd boil a steak, or boil onions to go alongside a pan-cooked steak?

Sauteeing, simmering, and boiling are totally different things, btw. Are you considering "boiled" to mean the food touches dampness at any point?
posted by Sara C. at 1:39 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there are some Keralan speciality restaurants around - Namaste Kerala in Southampton was good a few years ago; don't know if getting its booze license might have changed it.
posted by cromagnon at 1:44 PM on January 10, 2016


Touches water at boiling point - which is precisely what happens when simmering.

And nobody serves boiled onions alongside a steak. Nor does anyone boil a steak - the British use the word steak to denote chunk beef (much as Americans use hamburger to denote minced beef) - as such you get all sorts of "boiled steak" recipes that are really stews (a la round steak and onions). To suggest that Brits regularly take a sirloin steak or t-bone steak and boil it is about as accurate as suggesting Americans make lasagna with hamburgers instead of minced beef.

(And every recipe I have ever seen for both gumbo or jambalaya has a boiling or simmering step in the pot when the onions are in it. You can't cook rice without boiling water, for example, so your jambalaya, being a one pot meal where the onions are one of the first things added, necessarily involves boiling onions to år least some extent)
posted by Dysk at 1:44 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Dysk: the greatest Gujarati-via-Kenya food on planet Earth is sold by a little shop on a corner of Belgrave Road. I try to get up there at least once a year, and leave with a grin plastered all over my face.
posted by Leon at 1:51 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Dysk, I'm going to avoid a mega-derail and just rebut all of that with

no
posted by Sara C. at 2:08 PM on January 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Food trends ebb and flow. Hey, aspic was once popular!
I doubt curry in Britain is under any huge threat. It has been demystified and people are getting very good in creating delicious curry meals at home. Social media will allow people to find the very best restaurants catering to their particular taste, so businesses need to use this to keep very close tabs on what the public wants to eat at a price point that is feasible. While I respect heritage and culture, you can't stay monolithic in the business world especially in the hospitality industry.
posted by Muncle at 2:40 PM on January 10, 2016


I doubt curry in Britain is under any huge threat.

I assume the UK does food trends, where one year you can't get a decent Nepalese meal for love or money, and one day you wake up and find a dozen Nepalese places (one amazing, two good, and half Indian dressed as Nepalese) open for business.

Months later half are serving tapas, truffle fries or, ugh, American-style ribs as the next trend takes hold.

I also love that there is a British Curry Catering Industry All-Party Parliamentary Group.

I developed my love for curry in the UK (at a place called the Star of India in New Cross), and I have eaten many a terrible and great curry since then, and mostly this article seems to be about wages and immigration.

How did I miss the bacon naan roll the first time I read the article?
posted by Mezentian at 3:03 PM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Completely off-topic but George Osborne's "We all enjoy a great British curry" makes me cringe in disbelief. It's like David Cameron's mysterious shifting football team allegiance or Osborne's burger tweet. (Or, well, this.) It makes me feel like I'm watching a set of very shiny robots repeatedly attempt, and fail, the Turing test. I wish they would stop trying and just get on with the ruthlessness.
posted by Aravis76 at 3:56 PM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Or just, y'know, die.
posted by Grangousier at 4:06 PM on January 10, 2016


Completely off-topic but George Osborne's "We all enjoy a great British curry" makes me cringe in disbelief

Invite him and Cameron around for tea, offer him a Great British curry in front of the TeeVee cameras.

Hilarity ensures.
posted by Mezentian at 4:15 PM on January 10, 2016


I would have said the same thing about boiling onions ... but there's this recipe for butter chicken I know that involves putting a whole (peeled) onion in a tomato ragu and taking it out after the sauce is reduced. It's yummy, and I suppose the temperature of the ragu will exceed 100 centigrade, but you're effectively just boiling the onion.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:55 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


What is the American horror at boiling things based in?

Reality?
posted by Automocar at 5:42 PM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wait.... There's a curry committee in Parliment? Awesome!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:58 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


(seriously, does 'boil' mean something horrific in US English that we're all not understanding? Because a boiled & baked onion is delicious, as is the onion-simmered-in-tomato sauce referenced above, and the latter makes a good basis for the more tomato- or cream- or ghee- heavy British Curry recipes).
posted by AFII at 12:25 AM on January 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


It appears what you folks use boiling for we use the term "simmering" or "stewed." I think if the comment earlier about boiling onions was instead noted as "onions simmered in sauce" or "stew onions" there wouldn't have been objections.

"boiled [ingredient]" conjures up an image of a rolling boiling pot of water, then throwing said ingredient in there to cook with no other ingredients or seasoning.

I also note that "simmering" tends to refer to the heat point where just a few occasional bubbles come to the surface, gently. Agreed that this is indeed at the boiling point or just below it, but as before, "boil" tends to mean rolling bubbling as hot as the liquid can get.
posted by Karaage at 12:41 AM on January 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


See, I would call what you're describing a "rolling boil" specifically to differentiate it from a slow boil or a simmer. All of which involve water at boiling point (only the water at the very base of the pot in the case of a simmer).
posted by Dysk at 2:53 AM on January 11, 2016


Manchester still has a culture of these very cheap lunchtime curry houses, with the local 'three-on-rice' a favourite (three curries of your choice on rice for about a fiver).

I was in Rusholme for the first time in ten years recently, and was surprised how fancy Lal Qila looks these days. London has Dishoom, which seems to be popular, but if I go for a curry, I want flock wallpaper and pickles and poppadoms on the table. I don't want to eat actual Indian food, nor some 'artisan' version of it, but the weird gloopy British version that we think of as Indian Food - just like when I get cravings for Chinese Food ie. the strange sweet and sour sauce that stains your fingers, not delicious delicate dim sum. This might be because I live in London, though, where if you can eat it, someone's making a 'gourmet' version of it and presenting it to you on a plank for £10.

Unfortunately my SO is allergic to most of the constituent ingredients in a curry, so I haven't been for one for ages, and this article is making me hungry. And, obviously, the best curries are the ones which are basically puddings.
posted by mippy at 5:55 AM on January 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


(also, hi alasdair!)
posted by mippy at 5:55 AM on January 11, 2016


In my experience, "boiling" in US English in the context of cooking means submerging in boiling water and only in water (see boiled peanuts), while simmering can refer to cooking at a very low boil in either water or another liquid, and stewing refers to cooking in a non-water (or heavily spiced/flavored water that will become the base of the finished dish) liquid regardless of temperature. Boiling food in water in most cases tends to ruin its flavor and texture (the only reason really to do it is to make stock), so "boiled onions" comes off as pretty gross in a way that "stewed onions" doesn't.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:42 AM on January 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


On the "boil" front, doesn't order also matter in cooking? Searing raw meat and then braising it certainly ≠ braising it and then searing it (at least if you braise like I do, the meat would fall apart in the pan in the end).

It feels like calling anything that ever cooks in 100 C water "boiled" is a bit pedantic to me (to take my previous example, we don't call braised beef "seared-braised beef" even though that's technically accurate). The relevant point here is that in Indian cooking onions are almost always fried in oil till brown/caramelized, then cooked in water. From personal experience, boiling the onions in water and then attempting to caramelize them will have noticeably different results.
posted by andrewesque at 11:57 AM on January 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anyhow, I realize that I was probably just contributing to a derail, so to get back to the topic at hand: would somebody mind giving a basic primer on curry houses/Indian food in the UK? From this thread and from the story I gather it's somewhat like Chinese food in the US -- there's an enormous number of very similar American-Chinese places with a standardized menu (and seen as largely providing a deep-fried, meat-heavy, somewhat "guilty pleasure" food), and then a largely separate scene of Chinese restaurants catering to Chinese immigrants and more "authentic" palates.

Forgive my ignorance but is it a similar scene for Indian cuisine in the UK? I would imagine with such a large population of British Asians that there must be a market for more "authentic" food, but I wonder if I'm not quite reading the situation correctly.
posted by andrewesque at 12:03 PM on January 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


In my experience, generic Indian restaurants are popular with everyone impartially - including Indians - but there are also region-specific restaurants (Tamil, Gujarati, Malayali etc) that seem to be more popular with Indians. At least when I go to Tamil restaurants in London - not the posh ones in central London but suburban ones in places where there's a big Tamil community - it tends to be about 90% Tamils and other Indians and 10% white British.
posted by Aravis76 at 1:26 PM on January 11, 2016


I'm also wondering how contemporary post-modernism/cultural pluralism or even just the popularity of British middle class travel to India affects the "curry" scene.

When I was in India I ran into a lot of vacationing Brits. Which makes me think that a not insignificant number of white people in the UK have been to India and tried authentic Indian food (though there were plenty of tourist traps serving biryani on the beach in Goa and the like, so it's possible these people largely have no interest in real Indian cuisine and just want to have a curry like at home).

In the US, there's a whole movement of reasonably cosmopolitan middle class people who are interested in trying "authentic" foreign cuisines, which has been responsible for the rise of foods like pho, tacos al pastor, bao, souvlaki, and the like. At the very least, Americans who try ethnic cuisines like to feel like they are eating regional foods that are the same thing they would get if they were traveling to the country in question or eating in the home of a recent immigrant. (Whether that's actually true or not is a separate question.)

My guess based on British food writing and talking to British friends who are passionate about food is that this is also happening in the UK. And I'd be curious what kind of impact this is having on the Indian restaurant scene in Britain. Or whether, like Chinese in the US, it's a bit too far gone to the point that people think of having a "curry" as an unadventurous and innately inauthentic thing.
posted by Sara C. at 1:35 PM on January 11, 2016


seriously, does 'boil' mean something horrific in US English that we're all not understanding?

Sort of:
A boil, also called a furuncle, [...] a painful swollen area on the skin caused by an accumulation of pus and dead tissue.
You can see why they would think that "boiled steak", like "blood sausage" or "spotted dick", is a sort of specialty food that many foreigners would find unpalatable.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:10 PM on January 11, 2016


My parents are from Karnataka but I was raised in the US. (In the Bay Area, we always went to Vik's in Berkeley and the Udupi Palace chain in the South Bay.)

In 2009, I visited Cambridge and ate at an Indian restaurant with some colleagues. I had heard that UK curry was its own thing, but I still remember my somewhat alienated bewilderment. I'd eaten southern Indian food, US-style northern Indian food, and Indian-style northern Indian food, and this was different from all of them. Knowing, now, how the cuisine of Sylhet is the DNA of UK curry, I understand better!

But I am grateful for UK curry in any case.

In the summer of 2014, after three weeks of walking across northern England in the Coast-to-Coast walk and eating a ton of rural-type pub food (lots of pasta, baked beans, eggs, cheese sandwiches, and similar), I got to Manchester, and ordered some bhindi masala (okra curry) in an Indian restaurant. I don't remember which. I'm used to Indian restaurants in the US using pretty low levels of spice-heat unless I specify that I want a lot. The proprietor heard that I was fervently asking for as much spice as possible, came over, and discussed with me that this was probably not the best choice. I accepted his recommendation and gratefully enjoyed the ensuing dish.

Anyway, from the article, I raised my eyebrow at the phrasing: Fewer UK-born Bangladeshi women are returning to Bangladesh to find husbands to bring back, robbing the industry of another labour source.
posted by brainwane at 6:37 AM on January 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Has southern-style indian food made any inroads into the UK?

Pretty common in London, generally called "Vegetarian Indian". There is a whole street full of them (Drummond Street) near Euston station. Most Indian religions are vegetarian at least in theory, so you'll always get these where there is a significant Indian-heritage population.
posted by w0mbat at 1:56 PM on January 12, 2016


The realisation that 'going for an Indian' is a uniquely British thing that has little relation to any culinary experience you would get in India has been creeping into the nations psyche.
Posh people can justify their distaste for the 'fake' Indian on cultural grounds rather than being honest about not wanting to eat with the oiks. They can now pay exorbitant prices for 'Indian street food inspired' menus safe in the knowledge that they aren't going to be disturbed by the sight of football shirts (unless worn by ironic hipsters).
The traditional clientele of the Indian has now got more choice than ever competing for their weekend blowout money.
It's great that the appalling employment practices of the 'Indian' restaurant have started to be scrutinised, but very sad that this is based on xenophobia rather than concern for workers' rights.
I have had my eyes opened to the widespread exploitation of workers recently when my 60 year old friend* was absorbed by what he calls the Pakistani Mafia. He has worked at a few restaurants where he gets paid around £3 an hour, six days a week if he is lucky. If he is not lucky he doesn't get called to work a shift because they don't need him. No chance of getting a legitimate job because he can't get a reference.
I think Hansa's and The Corner Cafe in Leeds don't have any illegal staffing issues, but I don't know about any other curry houses. The problem is pretty much endemic.
* He is an EU citizen, fluent English speaker and aware that what they are doing is illegal.
posted by asok at 4:21 PM on January 12, 2016


> What is even the deal with British people and boiling things that should never be boiled?

I say.

Seriously though, I think I've seen a video of this "secret" and its literally just vegetable stock with some spices and the remaining matter blended together for thickness.
posted by lucidium at 5:17 PM on January 12, 2016


The 'secret' is also an amount of oil/ghee/butter, salt, and cream that you'd baulk at using in your own kitchen. Similar to a lot of tasty restaurant food.
posted by colie at 4:50 AM on January 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have long suspected the oil/ghee/butter, salt, and cream content is significant.
It explains much.
posted by Mezentian at 5:12 AM on January 13, 2016


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