Whilst I’m sure there are very few of us who actually celebrated Chinese New Year on Monday with some crispy duck, a few spring rolls and a bottle of Tsingtao, it has got me thinking about the future for Asian cuisine in the UK. Our high streets seem to indicate we’re a nation obsessed with Italian…Strada, Prezzo, Carluccios, Zizzi to name a few. And yet according to a recent survey by Food Network UK, Chinese stir-fry has just taken over as the nation’s favourite dish. Should we therefore be weeping that our high streets are bereft of any major players in Chinese cuisine? Or should we be celebrating the little sticky boxes of rice and tubs of gloopy gelatinous sauces peppered with a few pieces of unidentifiable meat that are churned out of the kitchens of our local Chinese restaurants?
It’s safe to say we should probably stick to a little bit of home cooking if we want some fresh and tasty wonton soup or a bok choy stir-fry. So, to Amazon for the perfect Chinese cookery book and what do you find? Ken Hom (there’s no denying he’s the king of Chinese cooking but surely he’s not alone?), Ching-He Huang (no doubt a woman with passion). And then? Then, we get no more than two pages in to the search results and I’m bored already from looking at the kind of books that are in the back row of my doubled-parked cookery books, the ones covered in that dusty grease from years of sitting untouched above the cooker.
So, what is the future for Chinese food? Two decent cookery writers and maybe the odd M&S Chinese ready meal? Let’s do something about this. Watch this space for a few Chinese experiments from the Phipps team.
Posted by Liz Lock