Immigrant communities have dramatically changed the food we eat. Nigel Slater celebrates the richness of our blended heritage. Plus, five young chefs reveal how their culture influences their cooking, and reveal a favourite recipe

I can think of no place that welcomes the food of other countries with more enthusiasm than Britain. Good though our indigenous cooking is, made with ingredients from our own landscape, we have long had an insatiable appetite for the food of other countries. A walk along our high streets will offer everything from sashimi to tacos and pizza to Korean noodles. Some of this food comes from chain restaurants with global domination, but for the most part it is the product of small restaurants and food shops run by first- or second-generation immigrant families that have come to Britain and set up shop. It is something I wholeheartedly want to celebrate.

Walk past the big international retailers and you will pass a string of small restaurants, cafés and food shops. As the smell changes from cappuccino to cardamom, we enter the home of the kebab and the korma, the dim sum and the laksa, places where you can get your hands on a box of Alphonso mangoes or a warm, freshly baked roti. The further we go, the food becomes ever more intriguing, more tempting.

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