Over the years, restaurant users have become more discerning and more concerned with the ‘authenticity’ of their restaurant experience, a number of restaurant trends have emerged that offer a more realistic reflection of the food from its country of origin.
For the last couple of decades, far eastern food from various countries has increased in popularity, with many towns now having a Thai restaurant and perhaps even a Japanese restaurant. There has even been a trend for seeing authentic Thai food served on pub menus as Thai families take over pub tenancies or simply run the kitchen.
Japanese food has been a huge foodie trend in the UK, with most supermarkets selling packs of sushi alongside their sandwiches – although if that’s the only sushi you’ve tried (especially as the packs from a certain high end supermarket do not contain fish!) then you’ll be amazed at the difference in quality and taste when you first try ‘proper’ sushi. After all, sushi chefs train for seven years just to master making rice, let alone cutting fish!
The latest restaurant trends are towards South American food. Not just the big, juicy steaks from Argentina – that is SO 2007 – but more the smoked chipotle chile flavours of Peru. Mexico has also been a source of inspiration for a lot of newly opened places, with authentic burritos and salsas showing the wealth of difference between regional cuisine and the ‘Tex-Mex’ style that was popular in the 1999.
Basmati derives from the Sanskrit word "vasmati", meaning "fragrant". Basmati rice is believed to have been cultivated in the Indian Subcontinent for centuries. The earliest extant work to mention the basmati rice is Heer Ranjha (1766).
Basmati was introduced to the Middle East by Indian traders. Through cultural exchange, it remains not only an important part of various Indian/ Pakistani cuisines but now is also used extensively in Persian, Arab and other Middle Eastern cuisines as well. India and Pakistan are the exclusive growers and exporters of this type of rice.
History leaves enigmatic messages for future generations to puzzle over. Nursery rhymes, for example, the satirical popular songs of their day, still hold clues to past events and personalities: “Ring-a-ring-a-roses” is actually a description of the onset of The Black Death; “Georgy Porgey”, with his womanising tendencies, was a characature of the Prince Regent, destined to become George IV; and "Peter Piper", who picked a peck of pickled peppers was a real person, one very aptly named Pierre Poivre, a French Diplomat and Governor of Mauritius, and his famous peppers were actually cloves and nutmegs.
Cloves are the dried, unopened flowers of a tropical evergreen tree which was once grown only in the Moluccas. Arab spice merchants guarded the secret of their origin for centuries, as they took them, Eastwards first to China, where, during the Han Dynasty (approx. 300BC) it was mandatory to chew a clove before entering the presence of a royal personage, and then West to ancient Rome, where they acquired their common name, clavus - 'nail', due to their stud-like shape.
Kebab is a wide variety of meat dishes originating in Persia, and a common takeaway food. In English, kebab with no qualification generally refers more specifically to shish kebab served on the skewer or döner kebab served wrapped in bread with a salad and a dressing.
In Persia, however, kebab includes grilled, roasted, and stewed dishes of large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls. The traditional meat for kebab is lamb. Like other ethnic foods brought by travellers, the kebab has become part of everyday cuisine in UK takeaways.
SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN
Fried chicken (also referred to as Southern fried chicken) is chicken pieces usually from broiler chickens which have been floured or battered and then pan fried, deep fried, or pressure fried - a favourite takeaway dish.
The breading adds a crispy coating or crust to the exterior. What separates fried chicken from other fried forms of chicken is that generally the chicken is cut at the joints and the bones and skin are left intact. Crispy well-seasoned skin, rendered of excess fat, is a hallmark of well made fried chicken.