Asian cuisine in Edinburgh has come a long way since the first Chinese restaurants opened their doors in the 1950s. Gone are the days of endlessly repeating set menus with bland versions of classic dishes, such as the ubiquitous sweet and sour chicken made with cheap ingredients and packet sauces.
Now it is possible to sample the delights of a wide variety of Asian cultures in Scotland’s capital from the delicately spiced, hot and sour Thai dishes of Passorn or the delicious, fiery Malaysian curries at Kampung Ali. Yet it is still the case that Chinese and Indian restaurants are more predominant than those of other cultures, reflecting the large community of Chinese and Indian people now resident in Edinburgh. You can keep everyone happy at the wonderful Mintleaf, which is equally at home serving Thai food and Indian cuisine.
There are now a number of good quality Asian supermarkets in the capital making some of the more exotic ingredients a great deal easier to obtain and in turn improving the quality and variety of offerings on the dining scene. Some of the more exclusive eateries import yet more specialty ingredients directly from the east, increasing the cost and the quality of Asian cuisine available.
Once a cheaper option, Asian cuisine in Edinburgh has been brought into the twenty-first century by bold young chefs keen to serve contemporary and avant-garde dishes, which are nonetheless inspired by the traditional cuisine of the east.