People often ask just how popular is Indian food in the UK. What they are talking about are curries. India separated into India, Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1947 and the British had fallen in love with what is loosely called a curry. Most curries made in the UK are from Bangladeshi restaurants.
Every week in the UK, around 2.5 million people eat 6 million curries bought in “Indian” restaurants (or curry houses) either as takeaways or eat in meals. Some 10,000 restaurants make these curries and their customers spend over £3.5 billion every week for their yummy curries. Now that’s a lot of curry.
Chicken tikka masala is still the most popular curry in the UK with 1 in 7 curries being this dish that was created in the UK (chicken tikka masala did not come from India – it was a dish invented in the UK and now tonnes of chicken tikka masala are exported to India each year).
Even the supermarkets get in on the curry craze with annual supermarket curry sales of about £301 million.
About a third of UK curry eaters make their own curries at home and tikka masala is very popular with Patak’s selling an amazing 5 million jars of tikka masala sauce in 2010.
One recently published article states that the average spends just over £34,000 in their lifetime on curries (just over £8 every week).
Here at Curry Focus, we prefer to make our own curries because it’s cheaper, and we have control over the ingredients, but we do venture out to our local curry houses (just to test the quality, of course).
Curries have been eaten in the UK since the beginning of the 19th century (the first British curry house, the Hindustani Coffee House, was opened in London in 1809) and we think curries will be eaten in the UK for a long time to come.