Why Thai food has become so popular in the UK

Thai food is the nation's favourite

Although there is plenty of debate about the most popular foods in the UK, it seems as though fish and chips and the humble curry have been edged out by Thai cuisine.

According to a poll carried out last year, foods from Southeast Asia proved to be more popular than traditional Italian and Indian options. And whilst dishes like phad thai and green curry are still relative newcomers on our food scene, it looks like Thai food is going from strength to strength in the UK.

British people are often known as having fairly conservative dining tastes, and so it might be a surprise to find that we’re increasingly likely to eat spicy Thai foods. But with low-key family-run food outlets like Thai Metro starting to win some impressive accolades, it seems as though we are starting to warm to the wonders of Thai cuisine.

Perhaps it’s because we’re always on the search for something new that we’re willing to branch out into lesser known global cuisines. But as foodies continue to extol the health-boosting benefits of foods from Asia, it’s clear that Thai food offers a refreshing change to our red meat-focused and carbohydrate-heavy Western diets.

Not that the taste sensation of Thai food should be overlooked. With plenty of delicious ingredients like coriander, kaffir lime leaf and basil, dishes like the classic Thai green curry have become one of the best-loved takeaway meals. And with new food delivery brands like Deliveroo helping us track down some lesser-known Thai dishes like pad krapow moo saap, it seems as though we’re all starting to become a better educated in our knowledge of Thai cuisine.

With over 2,000 Thai restaurants now existing in the UK, it’s also encouraged many of us to have a go at some popular Thai dishes. What’s great about some Thai street food is that it often uses ingredients like egg in some surprising new ways that shows us that there’s always something new to learn when we tackle a new kind of cuisine.

So although Thai restaurants may have some way to go before they catch up with the ubiquitous Indian curry-house in the UK, it seems as though we are all starting to fall in love with the taste sensations and health-giving properties of lovely Thai food.

George R Vaughan