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Ming Palace, Colaba, Mumbai--eh

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David Farris Nov 16, 2008 09:38 PM

I had a pleasant memory of dumplings at Ming Palace (on Colaba Causeway in Mumbai) two years ago, and revisited it yesterday. I usually hold by the principle that in any city one should eat what's good locally and not waste one's time trying to get bad versions of food from elsewhere, but two years ago I was new in the city it was the first open place I came across in a desperate search for something to eat when I woke jet-lagged at 11pm. Even though I was famished (for other reasons) yesterday, I was disappointed with the quality of the meal.

We had the steamed dumplings, a "crispy lamb" dish, and prawns in oyster sauce; a vegetarian friend had the "Szechuan fried rice". The dumplings were just ok--the wrapper thick and a little gummy, the meat unspectacular--but they weren't bad, and I'd consider having them again if the craving hit, barring the discovery of a better option in Mumbai. But the crispy lamb was spongy and overfried (and perhaps it was overfried a while ago and sat), and the prawns were definitely not fresh, a disappointment given that good prawns are locally available. They also charged us Rs50/person for steamed rice, which was both not a very appropriate type for the meal (local basmati) and absurdly expensive. I also couldn't bring myself to pay Rs50/person for tea. In the end, excepting the dumplings, it was a lot like a goopy $3 Chinese meal I'd expect to find at an American hole-in-the-wall, except the prices were double that in an inexpensive city. The meal cost Rs600/person for the two meat eaters (two entrees, dumplings, rice).

Maybe there are some gems--the kitchen didn't seem irredeemably incomptent. But even though there were actual Chinese dishes (not "Indo-Chinese") dishes on the menu (indeed, they represented most of the menu), their mostly Indian wait staff was not conversant in it. I asked or tried to confirm the names of several dishes with ambiguous English translations, and I finally had to ask for someone who spoke Chinese to tell me their actual names, and he was still less than helpful (I had to ask four times before he told me; presumably this part would have gone smoother if I knew more Chinese than the names of dishes.) I didn't get any useful answer to asking after which region the chef was from or what his specialties are, so we had to order blindly. But I'm not going to investigate it any further.

73,Apsara Building,Colaba (opposite Electric House)

  1. klyeoh Nov 18, 2008 05:22 PM

    Ming Palace was "passable" back in the late-90s but, even then, was hardly authentic Chinese, since most of their customers are locals. Their Oriental clientele mainly consisted of Koreans, and visiting ethnic Chinese businessmen from Singapore & Malaysia who're looking for a break from Indian food. These days, I'd avoid it like a plague - my last visit in 2006 was like committing culinary hara-kiri. The restaurant is also Muslim-owned, so they don't serve pork (the meat of choice for the Chinese).

    Mumbai has fabulous food & fantastic restaurants (Mahesh Lunch Home, Gajali, Trishna, etc), but don't bother looking for decent Chinese or Japanese.

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