Chinese and Asian-style food is booming in the UK thanks to the explosion in the number of pan-Asian restaurants, according to Asian grocer Wing Yip.
It commissioned its Oriental Food Report as a comprehensive study of the growing influence of Chinese and south-east Asian cuisines in the UK. The online survey questioned over 3,000 consumers.
It found that restaurants, especially those in and around London, are driving consumption of the cuisines, with 70-80% of those who eat Asian food doing so in a restaurant. This is critical to the success of the market, Wing Yip said, because most people do not cook this style of cuisine at home.
Similarly, 94% of people have eaten Chinese food as a takeaway or in a restaurant, but very few had eaten the cuisine in a pub setting.
The most popular Asian-style dish was sweet and sour chicken, followed by Thai green curry, and then sushi.
Wing Yip noted that the figures align with research from trend analyst Horizons, which says that the number of pan-Asian dishes listed by branded restaurants has risen 9% in the last three years. The results also come in light of an 18% growth in the UK of Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants in the last five years, it said.
The rise in popularity of this cuisine is also said to be prompted by increasing numbers of tourists from the UK taking holidays in south-east Asia, making them more likely to choose Asian dishes when back home.
Brian Yip, managing director of Wing Yip UK Trading, said: "This report highlights that consumers are becoming far more adventurous in their tastes and with the number of pan-Asian restaurants growing, including some exciting new concepts, the future looks bright for the sector."
Founded in 1970, Wing Yip began supplying Chinese ingredients and produce to restaurants who struggled to source it, and now operates four stores in Birmingham, Croydon, Cricklewood and Manchester, plus an online store sourcing products from across Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam and Korea.