A visiting American colleague recently mentioned that she had “IndoChinese cuisine” for lunch that day. She also said that the same dishes in the US tasted much different. This made me think that it is true that most restaurants’ alter the taste of continental food a wee bit to cater to local palates. Makes good business sense for them and helps the local population have a comfort level with new cuisine they can try out easily. But does the authenticity of said cuisine get a beating? Well, there are different ways of looking at it and I will park that discussion right here. What I do want to share however, is my experience with this type of cuisine.
I was taken to this restaurant called Gypsy Chinese while visiting friends in Dubai. After driving down to Mankhool from the marina, the Gypsy Chinese restaurant which is situated within the Grand Excelsior hotel welcomed us with its Indianised version of Chinese décor. It suited the kind of food we were having, a good mix and match, gypsy’ish, but never going overboard.
IndoChinese cuisine is an adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes. Saying that this kind of cuisine first gained popularity in the city of Kolkata would be true. The small community of immigrant Chinese developed it, made it popular and how! I also got to know that Gypsy Chinese is an iconic restaurant which started off in Mumbai (which I never had the chance of visiting while living in Mumbai) and had now moved to Dubai.
Gypsy Chinese like all other restaurants of this variety offers you the complimentary Kimchi. The one that we had was fresh carrots and cucumbers pickled in what seemed like Schezwan sauce. While I was aahing over this, my friends had already taken care of the what we were going to eat. I was told that I would like what was ordered. We soon got into a conversation about this and that while the starters arrived.
The mushroom pepper salt turned out to be batter fried mushrooms with delicious hints of crispy garlic, tossed up in spring onions. It was really flavorful and excellent. This dish was such an subtle and delightful way to start off our meal here. As we were finishing off this goody, in came the sesame prawns on toast. The finely minced prawns accompanied with fresh coriander and onions tossed with the house specialty schezwan sauce topped on fried bread squares made for a crispy and perfect follow up. The sprinkling of sesame added to the crunch effect. Definitely worth trying .
We were given some respite then as the mains took sometime to make its appearance, which of course encouraged more conversation about this and that, again 🙂
The house specialties of Burnt chicken chilly and Burnt chilli garlic fried rice arrived with aplomb and served with gusto by the attentive staff. They take pride in this dish, that was evident from the way the dish was handled until it arrived to our table and ladled onto our plates. I was skeptical when the dish said burnt. And boy, was I surprised! And continued to be surprised even more when I had the first spoonful. In a very good way! I guess sautéeing the chilli and garlic a little more than the required time gives the chicken and rice its unique flavor. Add green chillies to the mix for that fresh added heat with the soothing textures of rice and chicken and you have an absolute winner on your hands. Doffing hat to their chef! The delicate finesse of this well prepared dish bringing out the burnt flavor, makes this spicy dish a good one to try. And I, after this religious experience of the burnt kind, am a fan!
After that, given the large quantities that were served, we had absolutely no place for any desserts. The unanimous vote then went to picking up a gelato on the way back to soothe and cool our over excited palates .
So, did we have foodgasms of the Indochinese kind? You bet! 🙂