Indo Chinese cuisine, a mashup of Chinese stir-frying techniques spiced up with the heat of an Indian palate, deserves to gain more attention on an international scale. It’s flavors and techniques are advanced enough to discriminate it from both origins.
Last weekend I had the absolute pleasure of enjoying a feast of a lunch at newly opened China Bistro. Located in the foodie hub of Karama bang opposite Spinneys and adjacent to Regis hotel, China Bistro is owned and operated by Foodlink India.
The restaurant chain has been a big hit across Indian metropolitan cities including Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The Dubai opening is the brand’s very first venture outside the home-ground.
The restaurant interiors take on the earthy green hue of its logo depicting a terracotta warrior. Spacious and unassumingly modern, the décor stays clearly away from stereotypical Chinese reds and paper lanterns.
“The first emperor of China – King Qin Shi Huang wanted to leave his legacy of holding the greatest warrior dynasty in the history of China. He guarded his grave with Terracotta warriors who protected him in his afterlife like they did during his rule. These Terracotta Warriors had a distinct personality and it reflected in the way they ate. Their food was made with passion, earthy flavors and a variety of local fresh ingredients found in their land. These warriors secured their recipes the same way they guarded their king.
And just how the Terracotta Warriors are believed to protect their king, they come to protect these recipes too, at China Bistro!”
The staff at China Bistro are very courteous and professional. All the hosts I spoke to have worked at a China Bistro branch in India and are therefore well-versed with the menu options.
We started off our lunch with a range of enticing appetizers. Loved the plump, juicy and deliciously spiced Spicy Prawn Hunan. My other favorite seafood starter was the Barbecued Cumin Fish.
My little one loved the Chicken Barbequed Bao and had two in a row. These are pretty filling buns, and this made her skip the main-course (ofcourse she had space for dessert).
We were also served delicately steamed Pakchoy & Vegetable Dumplings which we intensified with the interesting trio of sauces including chili paste, black pepper sauce and chili mustard.
However, the favorite appetizer on our table was the very exotic Crispy Lotus Stem with Black Pepper & Curry Leaves. These lotus stems are imported from Japan, coated in an addictively spicy-sweet sauce and deep-fried a crunchy golden brown. Highly recommended.
We downed it all with artisan mocktails. The Blue Hawaiian is a medley of tropical pineapple and lemon, the Mojito is my drink of choice given the cooling and detoxifying properties of fresh lemon, and if you are a fan of iced tea, the very pretty glassful of Exotic Lemon Iced Tea at China Bistro is for you.
By the time our appetizer rounds were done, we were drifting into a food comma of sorts. The lazy Friday sunshine streaming in from the expansive windows wasn’t helping much either! We decided to reduce our main-course ordering to 2 dishes.
We tried the Mixed Meat Pan-Fried Noodles, a massive serving featuring chicken, lamb and seafood and enough to feed a crowd of four.
Our favorite main dish was the Burmese Vegetable Khao Suey. This creamy one-pot soup meal comes with an array of condiments including egg noodles, crispy noodles, crispy fried onion and garlic and fresh herbs. Its one of those enticing meals that feel like a warm motherly hug and you crave for days after. I will surely be back to try the non-vegetarian version as well.
Ending on a sweet note, we were served a platter of Steamed Coconut Dumplings. Disguised as steamed wantons, these beauties are stuffed with sweetened coconut and tossed in a heavy sugar syrup.
However, the most recommended dessert at China Bistro is their signature Buddha’s Fu (aka blessings). This platter features a mango-flavored custard flan that sits on a chocolate sauce, and a conch shell holds a serving of caramel sauce to sweeten things further. The bell is rung before we dig in for good luck, and a mini shower of cocoa powder.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our experience at China Bistro. The food here is exceptionally delicious and very well priced, and the service here is exemplary.
Bargain alert! This Ramadan, China Bistro is offering a set Iftar menu for as low as AED 49 per person. Ramadan Kareem.