Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just Oriental v.s Mainland China

Chinese food in Bangalore, well actually to be precise all over the sub-continent has taken on a rather unique twist. It is a classic example of hybridisation at best! In this case Indian-Chinese food is inspired by the Chinese concepts of cooking, the direction of the flavours however overwhelmed by popular local preferences in which chilli masks various subtleties unfortunately, or fortunately in the eyes of other. Over spicing across the board and heavy, thickened gravies are de rigour.
But for gourmets out there ready to dismiss Indian-Chinese cuisine as a joke, as I used to, stop and realise the reach it has. Indian-Chinese has become so popular it transcends far beyond India's borders and can be found in Toronto so my friends have reported back to me!
Of course though, all things fair and equal it would be nice to be able to relish bites of China in its truest form if at least at one or two establishments... As for now all I can do is hope and long!
Chung Wah are perhaps the biggest chain of dine-in and take-away Indian-Chinese food, Taipan, Continental and Hong Kong institutions that have been bumped out of the rapidly developing city, making way for bigger food chains like Blue Foods with Noodle Bar and BJN Group with Aromas of China and Bamboo Shoots. Mainland China is another growing Chinese food corporation that is taking the city by storm. As far as Chinese food is concerned in Bangalore city, the key to success seems to be franchising.
These Indian-Chinese corporations feature extensive menus however generic favourites remain the Lemon Chicken, Sweet n Sour Pork, Chicken Momos, Sliced Lamb in XO sauce/ Oyster Sauce/ Schezwan Black Pepper Sauce and of course beloved Crispy Hunan almost always accompanied by Hakka Noodles, Chowmein or Fried Rice.
Buffets are essential to the Indian-Chinese dining experience, with the afore mentioned Chinese restaurants battling out with stiff competition in terms of prices and dishes on offer for the buffet lunch special. At Rs. 275/- per head Mainland China offers you your choice of soda beverage, soup, starters, mains (4 non-veg and 4 veg) and dessert including fresh fruit. Now that's a steal!

Chicken coriander thick soup and Chicken Winglets, Fried Spinach Wontons and Chicken Dim Sims

Burnt-Ginger-Garlic Fried Rice, Hakka Noodles, Kung Pao Chicken, Hunan Crispy Lamb and Sliced Tenderloin with Greens

Delicious Darsan: Deep-fried noodles coated in honey and sesame seeds served with vanilla ice-cream.

I cannot trace the origins of this dessert, but I must admit that I'm hooked!

Just Oriental at the dodgy Mota Royal Arcade is new location of Chi, formerly situated on Edward. The food standards have waned, dilluting their claim to serving authentic 'Chinese' food. An unusual meal to say the least, the food was unable to live up to recommendations and the laud critics had awarded the place. However, it is a definte spark of hope on the radar of Chinese food in India. The highlight was undoubtedly the pork belly.

Stir-fried Bok Choy with Straw Mushrooms and Baby Corn in Oyster Sauce.

Gently Braised Pork Belly

Crispy Beef Medallions infused with caramelised Orange-Chilli

Sweet-Chilli Crab: Coated with Flour to thicken the sauce unfortunately

Peking Duck, or so they claimed - What a flop! That duck must have been at least a month old!


Gautam said...

If it's Indian Chinese it has to be Taipan. No one does it better.

Just Oriental in its T'chi avatar was so much better.

And what of Nanking? My personal favourite...

MEGalomaniac said...

Personally I think Nanking is over rated. The family nor I loved or hated the meal, it was just quite average the last time I was there.

I have to say, that Memories of China has a special place in my books, maybe it's the nostalgic factor?! Schezwan Court is pretty good as well.

Gautam said...

Really? I've had consistently great experiences. Even if the place is deserted now.

MoC - Yeah. It was *the* place, once, wasn't it?

SC - Meh.