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.
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Indian food: is it really overrated?

August 24, 2015 4:56 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

An article published on the Metro website on August 17 claims that Indian food is overrated, with the author citing 16 reasons why this is the case. Well, you can imagine our response here at Cafe Asia. In fact, you don’t need to imagine, it’s right here. 1. Heartburn. The combination of rich, oily and spicy food that encompasses Indian cuisine, says the author, causes “the most painful heartburn you will encounter”. The truth is that it depends on what you eat. Not every Indian dish is rich, spicy or oily, as our article on how Indian food differs by region proves. 2. Mismatched flavours. According to the author, many of India’s flavour combinations (such as chicken and coconut) are just wrong. A surprising statement, as these two ingredients are paired all over the world: think Thai green curries, various Caribbean curries and also a number of Brazilian recipes. While Western food tends to combine flavours that match, Eastern cuisines are more than happy to mix flavours…and it works, as recent research shows. 3. “The starters are ok”. Samosas and poppadums are the only good Indian starters, according to the Metro article. We wouldn’t quite agree. India has created some... View Article


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Cafe Asia food industry news: August 2015

August 21, 2015 5:28 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Welcome to this month’s Cafe Asia newsletter. We’re getting closer and closer to Anuga in Cologne – and we hope that we’ll see some of you there! In the meantime, here are the top headlines from the catering, manufacturing, cash and carry and food service sectors, giving you an insight into some of the major developments, news stories and movings and shakings from the past month. What do consumers really want from food labelling? New global research from GNT suggests that the importance of accurate food labelling is now higher than ever for consumers. The research focused on the shopping habits of over 5,000 people across 10 countries, and showed that 84% of Asian shoppers, 75% in South America, 64% of shoppers in the US and 53% of European food shoppers check labels in more detail than they did five years ago. The study also showed that almost 70% would like food labelling to be clearer, while 55% search for shorter product labels when shopping. With two thirds (66%) of those surveyed saying that they check labels before they purchase a product, it is clear that this is a topic that still has a great deal of importance to consumers.... View Article


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Anuga – taste the future with the world’s fifth largest trade fair

August 21, 2015 6:45 am Published by Leave your thoughts

‘Taste the future’—that’s the slogan of the Anuga trade fair in Cologne, Germany, which is taking place from October 10th to October 14th this year. The fair is for the international food and beverage industry, targeted specifically at manufacturers, importers and wholesalers from all over the world. You may like: SIAL Paris 2014: the highlights Hosted at the Koelnmesse complex, the world’s fifth largest trade fair and exhibition centre, the event boasts ten trade shows under one roof, including Fine Food (gourmet and delicatessen), Frozen Food (including Cafe Asia—very important), Meat (including sausage, game and poultry) and Dairy. Each of these shows provides a platform for food producers, importers and buyers. It’s not all about the food itself, however. The Food Service and RetailTec shows focus on special equipment and technological developments in food service, catering and retail, with areas of interest including payment methods, disposal and recycling, as well as home delivery. There’s also the Anuga Organic show that focuses on bio-products. Anuga: a history Anuga is one of the oldest trade fairs in the world. Its origins can be traced back to Stuttgart in 1919, when it had the less snappy name of ‘Allgemeine Nahrungs- und Genussmittel-Ausstellung’ (general food... View Article


Food trends – who’s buying what in Scandinavia?

Food trends – who’s buying what in Scandinavia?

August 16, 2015 1:16 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

What does the phrase ‘Scandinavian food’ bring to mind? If it’s meatballs, open sandwiches, and salty liquorice, you might want to try again. According to market researchers at Euromonitor, the Nordic countries’ political focus on health and the environment is mirrored by customer concerns about ethics and value. That means a market that’s keen on premium quality goods – artisanal bread, dark chocolate and olive oils – and on naturally healthy, fortified and functional foods. You may like: Summer BBQ and other food trends around the world Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark collectively represent the third largest market for healthy packaged food in Europe. The rise of premium goods suggests that packaged food could stand to make more of its origins and craftsmanship as well. On the value front, private label (basically own-brand) foodstuffs have steadily grown in market share since 2004, largely because higher-than-average food prices mean that Nordic consumers spend more actual currency on food than elsewhere in Europe, despite a similar percentage of income being allocated to the grocery bill. A handful of Asian food importers have already entered the fray, with efforts focused on providing familiar flavours to expatriates living in Scandinavia. The market is ripe for... View Article


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Summer BBQ and other food trends around the world

August 4, 2015 11:27 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Now that the height of summer has descended upon the UK (well, sort of), many of us will be filing out into the back garden for a traditional barbecue faster than the British weather can catch us. For other countries around the world, particularly those blessed with longer lasting sunshine than the we, humble barbie fare has many mouth-watering variations and interpretations. Dining al fresco is a central part of summertime all across the world, with or without the grill. South Africa Braai is the African translation of barbecue – a tradition which is so close to the hearts of South Africans that “Braai4Heritage” is a treasured part of the National Heritage Day holiday. It’s customary to celebrate this day by having small braais with friends and family. The braai itself isn’t far from British barbecue, apart from food being smoked with wood embers instead of coal to give it a distinctive woodsmoke flavour. You may like: 6 Far East food trends popular in Asia The main difference, though, comes with the delicious sides. Braai is regularly served with a type of thickened corn porridge called pap, while in Cape Town, it’s sometimes dished up alongside grilled cheese, tomato and onion... View Article


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Cafe Asia food industry news: July 2015

July 31, 2015 9:17 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Welcome to this month’s Cafe Asia newsletter. While the balmy summer weather continues, we’re busy gearing up for Anuga: the world’s leading food fair for the retail trade and the food service and catering market, taking place in October. We’re still working hard, though – including putting together our monthly newsletter. So here are the top headlines from the catering, manufacturing, cash and carry and food service sectors, giving you an insight into some of the major developments, news stories and movings and shakings… Food and nutrition security to be boosted in at least 35 countries… A new partnership agreement has been launched by the EU and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation: an agreement which has the aim of boosting sustainable agriculture, resilience and food and nutrition security in a minimum of 35 countries. Announced on July 16th, the initiative incorporates two five-year programmes, both of which are designed to tackle the root causes of hunger and better prepare the world for future food crises. These programmes will run in countries across Africa, Asia and South and Central America, with a total of 73.5m Euros pledged by the FAO and the EU for the initiative. Retail price slashing set... View Article


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Garam masala – what, exactly, is it?

July 30, 2015 8:12 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Garam masala seems to crop up in every Indian recipe under the sun, and in more than a few from elsewhere in southern Asia. Tandooris, biryanis and tikkas all use it, in Pakistan it’s added to pilau rice, and in Nepal it’s a final seasoning for soups and marinades. It’s one of the first things you’ll need in your Indian store cupboard and you can either buy it by the jar from almost any supermarket or make your own: but what on earth is it? What it’s not Denise D’silva Sankhe gets it right: it’s definitely not curry powder, which is a convenience product for the Western market, and it’s not really the generic stuff out of a jar either. The traditional Indian cook will have whole and ground spices to hand, and will bring layers of spice together, dish by dish. Somewhere between those poles is a happy medium – but where? What’s in a name? The name’s not too helpful. It means simply hot spice mixture in Hindi, although the ‘hot’ refers not to temperature but to the effect of the spices in Ayurvedic medicine, in which they ‘heat’ the body in order to rebalance the elemental substances... View Article


Six Far East food trends popular in Asia

Six Far East food trends popular in Asia

July 27, 2015 7:32 am Published by Leave your thoughts

When it comes to trends, food moves as fast as fashion these days: from cereal cafés to kimchi, superfoods to street food, barely a week goes by where we don’t learn about some new, exotic dining experience. We’ve explored in some detail the Asian food trends in the UK but what’s happening further afield? What trends are causing waves in the home of spice; the Far East? India You might think that Indian culture is still all for authentic, home-cooked curries, but as a fast-developing country with plenty of youngsters living busy lives, it seems that a young generation of Indians are following in the West’s footsteps. You may like: Gyoza and other Japanese snacks are hitting UK retail – but why? Meals on wheels are popping up at train stations and on trains and buses as there is demand for food on the go. Snacks such as rice and curry trays and roti wraps are becoming popular options when the usual Western chains fail to tempt the hungry on the move. Japan With the increasing popularity of Taiwan as a tourist destination for the Japanese (Japanese visitors to Taiwan reached over 1.4 million annually in 2013, a 9.5% increase from... View Article


Four classic Indian herbs and spices to grow at home

Four classic Indian herbs and spices to grow at home

July 24, 2015 2:16 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Whether it’s austerity cutting into your wallet or concerns about the mileage of your food, now is a great time to join the grow-at-home craze. The Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reported that the number of UK home growers are beginning to sprout upwards: 2.7% of all food eaten at home was homegrown in 2012. A year later, that figure grew to 3.5%. Growing your own food is nourishment for the soul as well as the stomach. The satisfaction of using your own coriander seeds in a homemade curry powder will not only give you a sense of achievement, but you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ve avoided nasty pesticides, too. Coriander Ubiquitous across the curry spectrum, coriander makes a versatile companion and great-looking garnish for Indian and other Asian dishes. Coriander seeds and leaves are both useful ingredients – growing for the former is slightly trickier, since coriander is notorious for ‘bolting’ (running to seed) quickly. You may like: How to host the perfect curry night at home Fresh coriander leaves have a refreshing and mellow lemon-lime flavour, and are best introduced towards the end of cooking. To grow coriander for leaves, find a warm spot... View Article


Supermarket sweep – how Aldi and Lidl are changing British shopping

Supermarket sweep – how Aldi and Lidl are changing British shopping

July 21, 2015 9:47 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Aldi and Lidl aren’t exactly newcomers to the UK food scene – Aldi opened its first UK branch in 1990 and Lidl joined them in 1994 – but their slow growth has, year by year, changed the way in which consumers shop and altered their expectations of the supermarket industry itself. In 2012 they were viewed as each others’ main competitor, offering a cheap alternative to the so-called Big Four (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons), but in the last few years the competition has shifted. The Big Four are struggling and the discounters are picking up their market share. What’s changed? Both Aldi and Lidl enjoyed an approximate 5% share of the market in 2014: this might, on the surface, not seem like much when Morrisons alone hold 11% and Tesco, the largest of the Big Four, are sitting pretty on 29%. The truth is a little more complex. For one thing, a single percentage point means millions of actual shoppers. For another, market share doesn’t necessarily correlate to profits. Aldi in particular is doing well on that front, with dramatic increases in 2013, and Lidl isn’t lagging far behind, while analyst David Gray paints a gloomy picture for the... View Article