Author Archives for Emily Knight

About Emily Knight

Emily Knight is a writer and marketer based in Bristol. A Cambridge University Linguistics graduate, she runs Bristol Bites - an online guide to Bristol's food and drink scene - in addition to various freelance writing and marketing projects.

Japanese food in Europe: an interview with Fiona Uyema

January 6, 2017 5:24 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Here at Cafe Asia, we’re big on Asian flavours. In the past, our focus has been purely on authentic Chinese and Indian snacks but our range is ever-growing. Among the latest additions to the range are our gyoza – Japanese dumplings available in a choice of vegetable, chicken or duck that mark the start of what’s set to be an exciting 12 months for us, as we increase the number of authentic Far Eastern snack foods we create. You may like: What is Washoku and why is it so integral to the Japanese way of life? With this in mind, we caught up with Fiona Uyema: a Dublin-based Japanese cook, food writer and author whose love affair with the country’s cuisine began when she spent three years living in rural Japan. Since her return, she’s been spreading the Japanese food love via her cookbook, flavoured Fused soy sauces and talks, classes and cookery demonstrations. Who better to ask for their views on the future of Japanese cuisine in Europe? Cafe Asia: Since you returned from your time in Japan, how have you seen the status of Japanese food in Europe change? Fiona Uyema: I returned to Ireland just over ten years... View Article


What are the key snacking trends in Europe?

December 1, 2016 1:44 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

In the year to March 2014, global snack sales totalled a whopping $374bn: a 2% year-on-year increase. Nielsen’s September 2014 Global Snacking Report highlighted the growing number of people who use snacks as meal replacements, and the fact that consumers want snacks with short ingredient lists. And two years on: Snacking is still big business. The 2014 report showed that, in Europe, traditional choices such as crisps, confectionery and snack bars were the popular choice, and they remain the go-to snack of choice, for now… That said, emerging trends across the continent are leading to deviation in the market, changing the face of snacking as we know it. You may like: The remarkable rise of Asian food in the UK and Europe So, what are the new trends influencing modern Europe’s snack purchases? Swapping meals for snacks “Modular eating”, or replacing meals with snacks, is becoming more and more common. A third of consumers across the globe are at it, and the figure rises to more than 40% amongst those aged 18-34. The habit has become popular at breakfast tables over the last few years, with cereal bars, porridge pots and other breakfast alternatives growing in popularity while traditional cereals decline.... View Article


French food trends: Street food, new flavours and more

September 26, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Here in the UK, the term “French food” conjures up, to some, images of fat-laden dishes a la Julia Child, traditional haute cuisine, snails, frogs’ legs, buttery croissants and dainty macarons. Yet Britain is seeing a decline in the traditional French restaurant: a decline mirrored in Parisian food trends and in the rest of France itself. Back in 2013, reports showed that a massive 54% of restaurant sales in France were accounted for by fast food chains, spelling bad news for traditional cuisine. French fine dining appears to be in freefall, with alternative food trends playing a far greater role in French food culture. Here’s what you need to know. The rise of street food Street food had a pretty slow start in France but is now starting to make waves in large cities beyond Paris. Driven by the success of street food movements in the US, the UK and other countries around the world, the scene is perfect for those looking for an affordable, casual bite to eat on les boulevards. It’s also partly thanks to Le Fooding that street food now has a place on Gallic pavements. This restaurant guide, founded in 2000, aims to liberate the French... View Article

Is there really a curry crisis in Britain?

The British curry crisis: does it really exist?

August 10, 2016 12:15 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

There’s a curry crisis sweeping the land. At least, that’s what certain sources would have us believe. A 2012 article from The Guardian and a 2016 piece from The Financial Times both claim that British curry houses are shutting their doors at an alarming rate. The causes are many: economic recession, immigration policies, prices of ingredients and a desire by consumers to try more exciting cuisines. But are these claims really true – and is our love affair with Indian food really on the wane? Here we investigate the supposed curry house crisis, one point at a time. It’s suggested that rising costs, the unhealthy reputation of Indian food, a perceived lack of innovation and immigration policy are all causing the demise of the curry house. The truth? We’re simply enjoying cooking Asian cuisine in our homes more than ever before. “Costs are rising.” According to the FT article, costs are going up: costs of spices, oil and rice, and also the cost of staffing Indian restaurants. When it comes to spices, this statement is partly true: the overall prices of spices from developing countries increased by an average of 6.8% per year from 2010 to 2014 – but some... View Article

Cafe Asia’s top 10 Asian cookbooks

Cafe Asia’s top 10 Asian cookbooks

July 25, 2016 10:13 am Published by Leave your thoughts

For those of us who love to cook, there’s nothing better than a brand new cookbook. The lure of the front cover, the smell of the pages, the tantalising recipe names and mouthwatering photos… there’s plenty of appeal. If you’re looking to take your Asian cooking to the next level, here are ten fantastic cookbooks, handpicked by the Cafe Asia kitchen team, to add to your collection. We’ve organised them by country and type of cuisine for ease… For Indian: An Invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey Madhur Jaffrey is the queen of Indian cuisine, having published over 40 cookbooks in the last 15 years. First published in 1973, An Invitation to Indian Cooking takes readers on a culinary journey through India’s regional dishes. With a guide to herbs and spices, a glossary of definitions and plenty of recipes for all occasions with handy accompanying tips, it’s a firm favourite amongst the Cafe Asia team – we particularly love Jaffrey’s authentic biryani recipe. For Chinese: Yan Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook by Yan-kit So What Chinese cookery expert and food historian Yan-kit So didn’t know about Chinese cookery wasn’t worth knowing. Her 1984 Classic Chinese Cookbook was received with huge... View Article

Premium fast food

The rise and rise of premium fast food, and what it means for UK caterers

June 29, 2016 11:41 am Published by Leave your thoughts

For foodservice and catering companies, premium fast food is on the up, says Food Manufacture magazine. Consumers are after more luxurious choices: Smart Group stated in late 2015 that their clients were looking for “imagination, experience and perfection – whatever the budget.” Caterers Hickory have noticed a surge in “sociable eating” through sharing platters – a trend recognised by others and praised for creating an informal and relaxed eating environment. On restaurant tables, supermarket shelves and caterers’ menus, international street food is being embraced across the UK food industry. High street trends Today, premium fast food is taking up more and more of the UK high street. Chips are increasingly offered with a variety of toppings; the number of street food vendors is growing, and more restaurants are popping up that serve one dish only. It’s not just trends from the US, where the street food movement is strong, that are taking over our high streets: upmarket Asian fast food is also on the menu for many. We’re seeing massive growth for high street Asian food brands including Chinese chain Hotcha, who plan to open 100+ stores over the next five years; Japanese-inspired Wagamama, which announced a 10% growth in... View Article

The evolution of naan

The evolution of naan: a history of India’s best loved bread

June 1, 2016 10:19 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Whether it’s a coconut-scented peshwari to the minced-meat-stuffed keema, for many, an Indian meal isn’t complete without a fresh, fluffy naan bread to soak up all the gravy. First mentioned by Indo-Persian poet Amir Kushrau in 1300AD, it’s a bread with an illustrious history, and one that has seen a great deal of change over the years. From royal beginnings… Naan is traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven and consists of flour, yeast, sugar, salt, ghee, water and yoghurt. Its origins are contested: some say its creation was the result of an experiment after the arrival of yeast from Egypt, but many believe that it was invented by the Mughals and Persians – and its name does originate from the Persian word for ‘food’. The naan’s popularity quickly grew, even earning royal approval: during India’s Mughal era in the 1520s, it was reportedly a favourite breakfast dish of the Royals, served alongside kebabs or keema.   …to UK shores Back then, naan wasn’t a dish for the masses – it was a delicacy that only royals and noble families enjoyed. The art of making naan was known by few and was a revered skill. It wasn’t until the 20th century... View Article

Indian food made simple

Indian food made simple

May 25, 2016 9:36 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Walk into any supermarket and you’ll see a wealth of Indian dishes and ingredients – fresh and frozen ready meals and snacks, chutneys, breads, poppadoms and sauces. There’s no denying the popularity of Indian food in the UK – but how many of us actually cook our favourite dishes from scratch, at home? Many Indian recipes feature lengthy ingredient lists, requiring apparently every spice in the supermarket, which can be offputting for some – partly because of the expense, and partly because of the risk of never using said spices again, leaving them to languish at the back of the cupboard. The truth is, however, that not every Indian dish is complicated and ingredient-heavy: creating your own authentic Indian meals at home can be simple and affordable, using surprisingly few ingredients. Curry in a hurry While there are sixteen basic spices that make up a beginner’s Indian store cupboard, there are plenty of Indian curries that can be made with just a few. While packet jars and sauces may be appealing because of their ease of use, they also limit the dishes you can make: making your own curries from scratch puts a whole host of new recipes at your... View Article


Cafe Asia food industry news: March 2016

March 8, 2016 5:28 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Welcome to the Cafe Asia March newsletter. Our sector never sleeps, but don’t worry, we’re on hand to bring you the top food industry news from the catering, manufacturing, cash and carry and foodservice sectors from the last month. Global food manufacturers unclear on supply chains New research, conducted by risk management firm Achilles, reveals that 53% of large global food manufacturers have no way of finding out just who is in their supply chain. The research, spanning 42 firms across the Middle East, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Spain, the US and the UK, also showed that 19% of firms surveyed have no way of uncovering the names and addresses of the firms involved in their supply chain: running the risk, say Achilles, of supporting unethical working practices, slave labour or hidden child labour. Furthermore, 12% of these firms stated that they do not have corporate ethical and health and safety standards in place to which their suppliers should adhere. If the supplier with whom such firms work are found to have unethical working practices in place, this could leave the businesses open to hefty fines and significant reputational damage. UK shoppers willing to buy directly from manufacturers According to research conducted... View Article

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Cafe Asia frozen Asian snacks rolled out to 500 Iceland stores

September 30, 2015 8:28 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Asian snack food brand Cafe Asia is launching ten lines into fully branded and dedicated freezers at 500 Iceland stores in November 2015. Iceland originally trialled Cafe Asia’s authentic frozen snacks in six of its megastore Food Warehouses back in May. Sales were so good that within two weeks Iceland and Cafe Asia were discussing a national roll-out. Trading for over 30 years, Cafe Asia is a family-run business producing authentic frozen Asian snack food products with a contemporary twist. Every product uses real herbs and spices and fresh ingredients, with no artificial additions. Ingredients are carefully sourced and quality is regularly benchmarked to ensure unique and delicious handmade, home-style snacks that meet Cafe Asia’s exacting standards. Cafe Asia’s fresh, authentic and delicious flavours are a perfect fit for Iceland as the brand continues to reposition itself in the marketplace. Nigel Broadhurst, joint Managing Director of Iceland Foods Limited explains: “We originally trialled the Cafe Asia range in our warehouse stores. This trial has gone really well and I’m delighted to say we are rolling the range into a further 500 of our core stores. The Cafe Asia range brings something very different to Iceland; the quality is great and... View Article