A friend of mine was saying the other day that, our own cultural norms and practices of UK are distorting as the influence of other cultures is too prominent right now. He seemed really worried.
Then I asked him, why he thinks so. My friend could not give any plausible answer but was just complaining that things are really mixed up and soon we are going to forget what is British and what is not.
I really struggled hard to laugh. The whole notion is really absurd. I just innocently asked if he could ever agree for a supplement for his afternoon Earl Grey, he vehemently said no. And then I asked, would he like some Tandoori Chicken for dinner, he was elated (whatever he says, he is a great fan of spicy Indian food). Then I said, he is never going to mix up our British habits and cultures with the foreign one. Because they coexist really well. And it’s not just a 20th-century thing. We, the people living in the United Kingdom have always been adopting practices of other cultures for a long time.
Definitely, my “seemingly worried” friend was quite startled to hear that. He was also unwilling to believe until I explained how, since the ancient times we were adopting many practices from non-British cultures which made our culture and national progress accentuated and steady respectively. And as we were adopting these norms consciously, we knew where we stood and we knew what we were doing. And that is why we never truly lost our own cultural identities. That is why we still are not going to lose that either.
The easiest way to see this truth for ourselves is observing our cosmopolitan gastronomical culture. More precisely, how we have embraced the Indian cuisines. Yes, that is what I am going to write about today. Well, the people of UK are familiar with Indian cuisines for more than two whole centuries. One may laugh at me for assuming that, just because India was a part of British Empire back then. But that actually is true. The first Indian cuisine restaurant in Britain was opened in 1809, that restaurant cum Indian Sub-continental smoking bar also delivered ordered meals to the customer’s home. So, it can be safely assumed that Indian cuisines were at least known to us for a long time. However, it is true it took time for Indian cuisine to be a part of our culture. Her Highness Queen Victoria was an important influence in making Indian cuisine dishes popular among the aristocrats of UK. Her dinner menu often contained Indian cuisine dishes.
Still, general people took a long time to be familiarized with the distinct taste, aroma, and spices of Indian cuisines. That is why at one time we used to identify “that one house where they cook Indian” in the neighborhood. The whole drive or alleyway would be aware that “something is cooking” and had mixed reactions about that.
However, since last five or six decades, things changed. People of UK started to enjoy the distinct taste of Indian cuisines along with its diversity in taste, preparation, and aroma. Eventually, Indian cuisines became so popular that in last three decades a massive number of Indian cuisine takeaway and restaurants were established all over the UK.
I asked my friend, how much of it has changed us as British people. He could not say anything. For he loves Indian cuisine dishes very much but he a true Brit head to toe. Then I said, as we are embracing things from other cultures consciously, it is highly unlikely we are going to confuse or forget who we are. And actually, it makes us culturally stronger.
However, I would love to share some Indian cuisine restaurants and takeaways of East London that my friend and I frequent to.
Cool Indian Restaurants of South East London You Should Know About
Lazeez Takeaway: Located in Bourne Way, Kent, Lazeez Takeaway is a good Indian cuisine takeaway to order from. They offer a really great deal of Indian dishes. But my friend (who lives nearby) and I mostly order from the Lazeez Specials – the house special menu of theirs. My favorite is definitely Satkora – a meat dish cooked with a special kind of lemon and my friend loves the creamy Chicken Makhani.
The Bengal Lancer: If you love vegetarian dishes, you should check The Bengal Lancer of Chislehurst at least once. This is the best Indian restaurant/takeaway for vegetarian dishes in South East London. Though they offer other good non-vegetarian dishes, but they dedicatedly make scrumptious and authentic Indian vegetarian dishes. Just take a look at their menu on the website and you will know what I am talking about.
Maharani: If you want to dine out in an Indian cuisine restaurant in South East London, I would recommend you Maharani Indian Restaurant without any doubt. Located in Sidcup, their restaurant service is really good. You will definitely have a good time there. And I will especially suggest you check their Balti dishes.
My Most Favorite One: The Best Indian Takeaway of Lee Green
Well, I work in Lee Green and I also am a great Indian cuisine fan. My most favorite Indian cuisine takeaway is very close to my workplace and often I pick up my Friday night (and probably Saturday’s brunch as well) meal from this place. It is called Curry World. Located at Burnt Ash Road of Lee Green, this Indian cuisine takeaway is truly remarkable. Their service is really prompt. Also, the staffs are really friendly. Even though it is a takeaway, so there isn’t much of contact with the staffs as it normally is when one dines in a restaurant. Yet, I feel really welcomed when I go to collect my orders. The menu of Curry World Indian Takeaway is really diverse, so I will recommend everyone to take a peek at their menu on the website. But I have no problem with sharing my most favorite picks. Most of the time I order from their House Specialties section. Especially I love Mongo Chicken with Mushroom Rice. That sweet and sour chicken dish cooked with mango is incredibly tasty. I will also recommend you to try their Chicken Tikka Masala at least for once, I’m sure that will definitely not going to be your last order of CTM from Curry World.
So, if you live in South East London or staying there right now by any chance and currently reading this blog, I would love to know about your opinions regarding my suggestions. Also, I would like to know your stance regarding my friend’s worries. Do you think whether embracing different cultures are distorting our cultural values? Please feel free to share your opinion, I’m all ears for that