Say, what? Indian Chinese food? Think saucy. Think chop suey. Think sweet-and-sour with a chilli kick
Indian Chinese cuisine is said to have originated in Calcutta in the early 1900s – dishes cooked by Hakka immigrants that were gradually adapted to local Indian tastes. Today, Indian Chinese cuisine has spread all over India – and to much of Malaysia and Singapore too – but you won’t have to head overseas to try it. Hustle on down to Indian Chopsticks, set in a converted fibro cottage in Harris Park. The suburb is fast becoming a 'Little India' with Indian restaurants, dessert houses and grocery stores dotted everywhere you look.
Manchurian chicken is the quintessential Indian Chinese dish. It’s a jumble of chicken fillets stir-fried with ginger, garlic, green chilli and fresh coriander. You can choose to have it drenched (wet) or sparse (dry) with sauce. Our waitress recommends it dry. Chilli chicken is all about the gravy it’s drenched in – thick and soupy with slices of crunchy capsicum and plenty of soy sauce.
You won’t find any beef on the menu, but there’s plenty of lamb for red-meat eaters. Go old-school with Mongolian lamb and salt-and-pepper crispy lamb strips, or spice things up with Sichuan sauce, a red sauce amped with garlic and chilli. American chop suey is as good – or as bad – as you think deep-fried noodles with a saucy stir fry and a fried egg on top could be. It’s all kinds of crunch and texture, but the sauce errs a little on the sweet side for our taste.
Vegetarians are well looked after too. The Gobi 65 is a stand-out: cauliflower florets marinated in a spicy masala and then deep-fried to a nutty crunch. Chilli paneer is also satisfying – cubes of fresh cottage cheese stir-fried with chillies, capsicum and soy.