The competition for the title of Curry Capital of Britain is sponsored by Kingfisher Indian lager. Each participating city or town nominates four restaurants (this is done by public vote) and then visited – in secret - by a group of judges.
Glasgow has won the title three times in recent years and it's not surprising as Glasgow has a large Indian population and a curry house tradition going back fifty years or so, with a unique Southern Indian slant. Glasgow council also always supports the city bid very strongly and undoubtedly this official support and help with media, PR and presentations as well as galvanising the people to vote, is one of the reasons Glasgow does so well in the competition.
In reality and outside competitions, it's probably Bradford that's due the title of the Curry Capital – the Indian population there is huge, and it's known for great curry houses, from the very cheap to top of the market. Manchester with its Rusholme area famous for Indian restaurants and London, with some Michelin starred ones are also strong contenders.
But it's not all just council PR, as Glasgow has a lot to offer in curry stakes.
Glasgow's best Indian eateries include the famed Ashoka West End (now complemented by Ashoka Ashton Lane and few others. The same restaurant group (Harlequin) owns the Kama Sutra, which offer many traditional as well as regional dishes in sumptuously sensuous surroundings.
Ashoka was set up in 1973 by chef Balbir Singh Sumal, who sold it on and years later started his own curry mini-empire with the flagship Balbir's as well as Route 77, Saffron Lounge and Tiffin Rooms.
Mother India's small chain of Wee Curry Shops (plus now also a Mother India Cafe) has been bringing Indian home food to enthusiastic Glasgow public for over 15 years now.
Shish Mahal has been around – and run by the same family – for almost 50 years. One of its chefs even claims to have invented Britain's favourite curry dish: chicken tikka massala (others say that it dates to New Delhi in the 1940's).