It’s no surprise as a diverse population with a passion for flavour, that we here in the UK love our Asian influences, but it seems that lockdown, the rise of social media giant TikTok and potentially headline grabbing events like the Tokyo Olympics are keeping our attention especially piqued. With the Olympics in full swing, we’re taking a look at some of the recent Asian cuisine trends the UK has gotten behind and what we think the rest of the world might like from the UK if we were the hosts of this year’s events!
As a nation, we love Asian food
Tik Tok – as mentioned in a recent post – is behind some of the fastest selling and biggest growing food trends we see at the moment. It regularly translates a meal idea or item into in-demand products that are tricky to find because of its huge popularity. It did this with the famous Little Moons Mochi – a Japanese dessert consisting of glutinous rice dough balls filled with ice cream, with fluffy pancakes, stunningly aesthetic sandwiches and more.
Mochi isn’t the only trend to take UK food lovers by storm though. Sushi, a firm staple on the UK food-to-go and restaurant scenes continues to hold rank and if the influencers are anything to go by, it was a favourite for at-home delivery during the pandemic.
In 2020 fermented drinks such Kombucha were hitting headlines and it seems we’re sticking with the asian theme, but this time embracing fermented foods, such as kimchi with rising popularity. #asianfood has 1.2 billion views on TikTok alone, with Sushi clocking up five billion and Kimchi climbing with 577 million.
The rise in home cooking over the last year saw more and more people experimenting in the kitchen, recreating their favourite dishes from around the world as well as testing out new ones in an attempt to add a sense of adventure back into their lives while lockdown kept travelling to a minimum. As a result, sales of key ingredients such as Japanese Rice Vinegar were up 180% in Waitrose stores as reported in their latest food and drink report. Other popular Asian-inspired dishes people were creating at home include bento boxes, ramen noodles and bao buns – which have 541.6 million, 3.7 billion and 13.6 million hashtags views on TikTok respectively. Around the globe, people love finding new recipes and learning handy kitchen hacks for recreating their favourite Asian dishes time and time again.
We recently worked with Marks and Spencer’s on the creation of their Katsu Curry Ketchup, a sweet and gently-spiced Japanese-inspired sauce which pairs perfectly with both meat and vegetarian dishes.
We spoke to our very own Bethany Skillett – Product Developer at EPC who worked on perfecting the sauce – who said:
“It was great to work with M&S on this super versatile sauce which is bang on trend right now. With mild curry spices, carrot puree and soy sauce it has the perfect balance of savoury curry flavour and sweetness. It was important to develop this sauce to also cater for vegans so that everyone could get involved with the excitement of the Olympics! It naturally works brilliantly with breaded chicken or pork but is also excellent in burgers and even as a side to a British classic, fish and chips.”
It both smells and tastes amazing, give it a try and let us know what you think!
So, what culinary delights might we offer the world in return?
It’s clear huge events have the power to spur interest in other cultures and food is one of the most exciting ways we can engage with other countries, so here’s our take (just for fun) on what we think the UK could offer up if we were to attract the attention of the world:
Yorkshire: Could it be anything other than a Yorkshire Pudding? These much adored treats have outgrown the confines of a Sunday dinner and can now even be found in trendy street food vans as wraps, pies and more.
North East: Perhaps it would have to be the Parmo? These breaded chicken fillets smothered in cheese sauce are a firm favourite. Fun fact, they take their influence from Italian food and were supposedly brought here by an Italian Naval cook in WW2!
Lancashire:How about Butter Pie? A shortcrust pie filled with potato and onions, served with red cabbage and local beets.
Scotland: We know, we know, there’s much more to Scotland than this, but it has to be Haggis! Traditionally sheep’s offal in a casing, this warming, oaty textured treat is a Burns’ Night favourite.
Wales: Laverbread anyone? This minced or pureed seaweed dish is traditional and misleading as it has no bread in it at all! Sometimes served alongside bacon for breakfast or spread on toast.
South East: Sussex Pond Pudding is a traditional dessert made with suet, filled with butter and sugar and some recipes state it should contain a full lemon encased in the centre!
Development teams across our Food businesses are always innovating and creating culinary delights in our development kitchens. Meeting ever changing trends and customer requirements with tasty products is what we’re all about!