Surveys and polls have shown that Chinese is one of the most popular cuisines in the United Kingdom. Not only this, Chinese food is amongst the top five cuisines enjoyed by the Brits. If you are a Chinese food lover living in or around Chester, you might have used Wok and Go app to place a takeaway order.
You might have wondered how did Chinese food become so popular in the UK, and how has it shaped the food culture here? Let’s find out in this blog.
Chinese cuisine came to Great Britain during the 1600s when it started trading with China. Tea was the first thing from China consumed by the British people.
Chinese cuisine became popular in the 50s and 60s and has ever since dominated the flavours of the UK. Chinese food is one of the ethnic cuisines thoroughly enjoyed by people in the UK.
If one has to look into the history of Chinese food in the UK and understand its influence, one should look further back.
The first Chinese restaurant opened up in 19th century Britain. An ex-seaman from China started this establishment to offer authentic Chinese delicacies to local British people. ‘The Chinese Restaurant’ was situated in London and opened its doors in 1908.
According to Aubrey Ko, a British Chinese Food Culture project member, it was during the 60s that first Chinatown started to develop in Soho. Soon enough, with the influx of people from Hong Kong, more Chinese restaurants and establishments began to appear. Both locals and tourists from around the globe would visit these establishments to relish the ethnic taste of China. The increase in the popularity of Chinese food encouraged others to open more Chinese restaurants across the UK.
Besides serving authentic and traditional cuisines of China, new dishes and food were created to suit the palates and appetites of Brits. The restaurants had to utilise the ingredients available to them at that time. They also introduced new dishes there were not found or eaten in China. Now, one can easily find Chinese ingredients in oriental shops. Those who are not into cooking can still enjoy authentic Chinese food through Wok and Go app.
Speaking of takeaway, its history dates back to the Ancient Greeks. With the popularity of takeaway establishments, more and more people started noticing Chinese food. Moreover, Chinese food is one of the most popular choices of takeaways besides Indian cuisine.
Over these years, Britain’s love for Chinese food has significantly evolved. While most Brits in the 80s would consider Chinese food to be just sour or sweet pork, today, more and more people are getting to explore and try the regional Chinese delicacies. Now, Chinese cuisine is not just limited to Cantonese food but it also includes dishes from Hunan, Sichuan, and other Chinese province.
Brits are opening up to exploring new Chinese flavours and taking food sampling to another height. Besides flavours, the places where Chinese food is consumed have also evolved. Brits are opting to cook their own Chinese food at home and experimenting with the flavours.