Team WHEELS undertook a mission to discover restaurants serving authentic Chinese dishes in the city. We asked around, particularly those of Chinese origin during our forays to Territi (Tiretta Bazaar) and Tangra. It was indeed an eye opener as we learnt how fussy Chinese are when it comes to food and how easy the preparations are. It was surprising to note that there are only a handful of authentic Chinese restaurants. The places recommended are small eating houses, with little or no ambience in most cases. They cater mostly to people from the same community who frequent them, along with a handful of others who are willing to experiment authentic Chinese cuisine.
The authentic Chinese dishes do not appear in the menu. You have to ask specifically for it. Often, these are cooked by the owners themselves. If you want the recipe, you might get the ingredients but not the exact way they are prepared. Clearly, these Chinese chefs who have mastered these dishes over ages do not like sharing their secrets.
So if you are willing to experiment with original Chinese cuisine, just follow the trail…
Tung Nam in Territi Bazaar, is running for the past 14 years with Fook Shing (Michael) at the helm of affairs. It is an eating house (as they call it) without any as such décor but overflowing with customers of Chinese origin.
As soon as the proprietor realised that we were interested in authentic Chinese cuisine he started serving dishes from his kitchen even though they were not in the menu.
As an appetizer, Lung Fung Soup was a hit. Completely spiceless but amazingly tasty, this chicken soup perfectly prepares you to plunge into the main courses ahead.
Cutter Fish was not in his menu but Michael sourced it from his family kitchen. He happily served us a portion, prepared in ginger-pepper sauce. The sauce was prepared in-house from grounded pepper which made the taste all the more unique. The crunchy Cutter Fish and the slices of cucumber get flavoured by this sauce.
Pork Chops had finely chopped pork- tender and spicy with a mix of green chilli slices, green onions and other assorted vegetables. Undoubtedly, it was the best Pork Chop we ever had. Soft yet tasty, the lightly fried pork was mind-blowing.
Mix noodles (sweet) was mind-blowing. The taste of thick in-house noodles, that too sweet, completely blew us. This was ably complemented by Chicken in Hamei Sauce- a delicacy that would produce a lingering taste for quite some time. The Hamei Sauce is prepared from a paste of shrimp and chicken, the tastes of both ingredients can be distinctly identified due to the bland supplements used for the preparation.
24, Chattawala Gully, (behind Tiretta Bazar Telephone exchange)
Tel: 22374434 / 9831635767 (M)
Timing: 12 noon to 3 pm / 6 pm to 10 pm. Closed on Tuesdays
Car Park: Near Poddar Court
Awei and his father have been running Kim Fa for 20 years now. They are one of the undisputed eateries dishing out authentic Chinese cuisine among the numerous Chinese restaurants in Tangra. Despite being a simple eating house located opposite the Chinese Kali Temple in Tangra, they are able to command a price at par with the big ones in the locality. Their customers are not there for ambience or amenities and other trivial aspects. They are mostly food connoisseurs, who simply love the authentic cuisine served there. However, they do not serve pork.
We tried the Chilli Chicken with bone. The meat used was that of a country chicken and it was delicious. The dish comprised pieces of marinated fried chicken garnished with green chilies. There were no onions or any other vegetables. But it was a surprise to discover the taste of onion and garlic and other spices, once you savoured the dish. Actually, chicken had been marinated with the onion, garlic and other juices. Moreover, these deep-fried pieces were still soft and not crunchy. We unanimously agreed that it was a delicious dish.
We then moved on to pan-fried Cantonese Noodles. These thick noodles are prepared in-house from white flour. The gravy is bland and the entire taste comes from the added vegetables. The egg was mixed at the time of its preparation of the noodles and hence very much unlike the “bhurji” found everywhere else. Actually, the egg is used in the noodles as a part of the gravy and gets mildly cooked along with the noodles itself. This was also as delicious as it can be. The best part was that due to the induced blandness in all the dishes, they did not take a heavy toll on the stomach even after leaving us satiated.
47, South Tangra Road
(Opposite Chinese Kali Temple)
Timing: 11 am to 11 pm
Car Park: In the vicinity
Chung has been in existence for the past 40 years. Tucked inside the lane beside the Chinese Kali Temple in Tangra, they built the first floor which can now accommodate 80 people. They are primarily into catering original Chinese cuisine for different parties and ceremonies. The restaurant is open for just 4 hours, between 6pm and 10pm. Linda Chung, the owner, is an experienced restaurateur having grown-up seeing her parents run a Chinese eatery in Chandni Street.
In any discussion on authentic Chinese cuisine Chung is mandatorily mentioned. When we visited her eatery we figured out the reasons behind its popularity among food connoisseurs. Linda cooks the dishes herself when anybody asks for authentic Chinese cuisine. No wonder her services are requisitioned for private parties thrown by the Chief Minister of Nagaland. She still goes to Canada for about a month every year to cook for her brother’s eatery.
As recommended by the restaurant, we had Garlic Chow and Chilli Pork. The Chilli Pork was prepared on a base of finely grained rice and the juice from Pork. You would be able to feel the rice as a paste all over the dish, mixed with the spices. This lent a unique taste to the pork, rarely present in average Chinese dishes. It was purely a connoisseur’s dish. The Garlic Chow had raw egg-white as everywhere else. The difference was that here, it was used as a base. In this hakka-styled dish, the gravy was actually the egg-white which had a subtle smell and was colourless in the mildly cooked form. The vegetables in the Garlic Chow were very finely chopped so that they came up in every bite in the smoothest forms. The bland Garlic Chow complemented the spicy Chilli Pork so perfectly that the taste lingered on for hours thereafter.
47, South Tangra Road, (Inside the lane adjacent to Chinese Kali Temple)
Timing: 6 pm to 10 pm
Car Park: In the vicinity