Birmingham’s Balti Triangle spans the triangele between Stratford Road, Alcester Road and Wake Green Road, including the popular Ladypool Road and Stoney Lane. But unlike the Bermuda Triangle, we could happily disappear here. It received it’s legendary status due to the huge number of restaurants in the area serving up curries using the uniquely Birmingham, balti technique.
For anyone visiting, it’s the ideal spot for some South Asian food, and plays an important part in Birmingham’s history. The balti, named after the vessel in which this Brummie curry was first cooked, was invented in Birmingham back in the mid-70s. Unlike other curries, balti curries are cooked quickly over a high heat, like a stir-fry. And are also usually served with large, family-sized naan breads.
Adil’s on Stoney Lane, which sadly closed after 43 years in the Balti Triangle last year, is often credited with the dishes invention. The chef, Mohammed Arif, used a wok-like pan (otherwise known as a balti bowl) to create the new dish, after seeing the cooking style in Pakistan.
Back in the nineties, the Balti Triangle was booming — boasting over 40 balti houses. However, today only a few remain. Shabab’s is probably the biggest, arguably the best, still going. Other spots still going strong include Shahi Nan and Popular Balti. But the Balti Triangle’s legacy still lives on in Indian takeaways up-and-down the country, as well as on supermarket shelves.
Birmingham has always had a significant population of people from South Asia, or those who have roots there. This large community has helped put it among the most halal-friendly cities in the UK. But the balti is reflective of the westernisation of South Asian cuisine. But in Birmingham you’ll find both authentic curries with a home-cooked feel, and also delicious Brummie baltis.
From Michelin-starred, fine dining like Opheem to award-winning but far less formal curry houses like Lasan. South Asian cuisine has conquered nearly all of Birmingham. And as foodies flock to Birmingham for a delicious curry, the influence of South Asian cooking will only continue to be a part of Birmingham’s flourishing culinary identity.
Plus, when you’re done stuffing yourself with pakoras and perfect pilau, head to one of Birmingham’s South Asian sweet shops to pick up something sugary. If you have never eaten Indian sweets before then you are in for an absolute treat. Try Milan Sweet Centre, also situated in the Balti Triangle!