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CURRY SCENE A


There is a silent revolution taking place in the Nordic nation of Sweden. In a culture more known for its smorgasbord than its sheikh kebabs, Indian food is growing in popularity, also providing a lucrative business for many Bangladeshi restaurant entrepreneurs. The Curry Life team visited the capital city of Stockholm where they spoke with leading lights in the curry industry to find out what is happening … Chief Editor Syed Nahas Pasha writes….


sk anyone what they know about Sweden and most will talk about Abba, flat-pack furniture, Sven, Saabs or even meatballs. What they won’t


mention is Indian food, yet in modern day Sweden, the curry sector is burgeoning faster than any other style of cooking and is changing the eating habits of a nation. Sound familiar? Probably so - because over the past 70 years, a similar phenomenon has taken place in the UK. There are other parallels. In the UK it was the Bangladeshis, mainly from Sylhet, who transformed the restaurant scene. The extraordinary growth in Sweden is also powered predominantly by people of Bangladeshi origin who are now behind almost every new opening. From a country where Indian food was unknown, in just 30 years, the number of Indian restaurants in Sweden has grown from zero to almost 150. Stockholm, the capital city, now has around 100 of them of which 99% are run by Bangladeshis. The urban areas of Uppsala, Gothenburg, Malmö and Västerås also


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host a growing number of curry restaurants, even small towns have at least one Indian/Bangladeshi eatery - and they are doing a roaring trade. For the 12,000 Bangladeshis living in Sweden, the restaurant sector is now the biggest employer. But it’s not only the restaurants that are doing a good business, there’s also a supply chain popping up to feed them, creating more employment opportunities. Spices, Indian beers, rice, such goods which used to be in short supply in Sweden are now to be found in abundance in local grocers, many of whom import them from the UK. Indian restaurants in Sweden follow the UK model: some are high class, others more casual. In a competitive market, the quality is good and the décor is modern. Stockholm may not be as populous as London but walking around the city it’s hard not to come across an Indian eatery, and there’s even a Swedish equivalent of Britain’s famous Brick Lane. Unlike Brick Lane however, Indian venues are not only busy on evenings


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