4th December 2021 – ‘Shonar Bangla’ – Golden Bengal – Join us for a celebration of Bangladesh’s Golden Jubilee at the Army & Navy Club

How many are aware, a small country rich in maritime heritage and language with its civilisation dating back over four millennia celebrates its golden jubilee this year. In 1971, the Independence of Bangladesh was declared after a nine-month war. A country left in tatters and abject poverty and brought to the world’s media attention, long before Band Aid with a concert organised by none other than George Harrison of The Beatles.

In 50 years – this once third world country is now seen as a developing nation and a financial powerhouse in the world economy. This region was once the industrial centre for the British Raj. The Bengal diaspora has since pushed its influence on the British in many ways, none more so than changing the tastebuds of the British palate.

The first ‘Indian’ restaurant established in the UK, ‘The Hindoostane Coffee House’ was opened in London in 1810, Sake Dean Mohamed, a Bengali surgeon and entrepreneur from Calcutta. Other Bangladeshi owned Indian restaurants followed in the 1920’s and these would have served returning colonial officers, Indian professionals and lascars. It wouldn’t be long before the rest of the British population would develop a taste for the exotic.

The growth of the ‘Curry’ industry can be attributed to the arrival of brave Bangladeshis with entrepreneurial spirit and their quest to better their family’s lives as well as their own. Since their arrival after the labour shortages of WWII, generations of Bangladeshis have taken the industry from its humble beginnings to now being closely entwined with British culture. ‘Going out for a curry’ was no longer a novelty but a rite of passage. The curry industry had established itself in British culture in almost every city, town and village across the UK where it can now proudly proclaim to be the nation’s favourite cuisine!

Although the Indian restaurant industry predates the creation of Bangladesh as a country, it is the Bangladeshis who have created this industry, with approximately 85-90% of the industry still being Bangladeshi owned.

However, the traditional food of Bangladesh is somewhat overlooked in this industry with most restaurants offering customers what they know and what they grew up with. Dishes that were created for the British palate in mind and mostly unique to these shores. The consequence of this is that the amazing heritage and culinary delights of the Bengal region are untried and lost on the British palate.

UK Curry Connect (UKCC) are proud to present an evening of wonderful celebration for the 50th year of independence of Bangladesh, with engaging stories and folk music interspersed with a traditional menu that you will not find on your typical high street.

The food will be overseen by the award-winning Team UKCC, a Bangladeshi led team of Culinary World Cup Gold Medal winning chefs. UKCC are not only looking to showcase Bangladeshi cuisine but also get it recognised on the world stage, as they look to take a team to the Culinary World Cup 2022.

If you would like to purchase tickets or for more information, please contact
lauran.bush@epmagazine.co.uk