I like Indo-Chinese food, and cook some of it at home. It's basically Chinese food that's been adapted to the indian palate. Think stir fried noodles with with fried paneer and cilantro leaves, garlic and ginger, or vegetable manchurian made with cauliflower in a sweet and spicy sauce. It's not traditional Chinese or traditional Indian -- it's fusion. I first had it when we went to visit my in-laws in 2000 in India (they reside there) and I've been hooked ever since. I cook Singaporean style food at home (spicy, indian/malay/chinese fusion) so the Indo-Chinese stuff is not that far off from what from I normally cook.
I guess Chinese-Indian/Indo-Chinese/Desi Chinese food canbe considered "fusion" food, but it is by no means a new concept or fad. Chinese immigrants have been living in Calcutta (now Kolkata) for over 200 years. Typical Chinese businesses in Kolkata are dry cleaners, hair salons, tanneries, shoemakers, and restaurants. I think Kolkata is the only city in India which has a Chinatown (known as Tangra). if you wake up at the crack of dawn, central Kolkata has a bustling chinese street market where you can chow down on fresh dumplings, bao, soup etc. Chinese food in India is a staple (at least in Kolkata it is) and you can find vendors selling Hakka-style chow mein on almost every block. The flavors are suitedto the Indian palate - lots of garlic, chillies, soy sauce, ginger, cumin, and yes MSG (called ajinimoto in India). Chinese Indian restaurants usually serve items like chili chicken/paneer crispy baby corn, fried rice, manchurian X as described above, chow mein etc. Although the immigrants have usually been from southern China, the flavors seem to be more in line with northern China. Indians love the stuff and are usually disappointed with Chinese food i the States... until we can find a desi Chinese joint!
Tibetan food is also very popular in Kolkata, and just about everyone has eaten momo's and thupka at some point if not regularly.
Chinese - Indian in India
Indian - Chinese in India
Chinese - Filipino in Filipinas
Filipino - Chinese in Filipinas
Chinese - Indonesian in Indonesia
Indonesian - Chinese in Indonesia
Chinese - Peruvian in Peru
Peruvian - Chinese in Peru
Chinese - Vietnamese in Vietnam
Vietnamese - Chinese in Vietnam
Bad, really really bad:
Chinese - Colombian in Colombia
Colombian - Chinese in Colombia
We have one in Atlanta called Bamboo Gardens, and let me tell you, it is goooood. They have this spicy, crispy baby corn appetizer that is out of this world, as well as a dish called "Burnt Garlic Chili Fried Rice", and yes, it contains bits of flash-seared garlic and chilis that create a crazy, chewy, crispy juxtaposition to the other veggies (and shrimp, for me)...
Yes I have had Indo-Pak Chinese food many times. I made a blog post about desi Chinese food:
There are pockets of Chinese communities in Karachi, Islamabad, Dehli, Kolkota (very large community), Bombay, and must be in other major South Asian cities. The older generation Chinese in South Asia, who were immigrants from Southern China like in the US, seemed to be famous in the Chinese restaurant business and in hair salons in these cities. The younger generations are now mostly white collar professionals though. The restaurant owners were of two types, those who serves only Chinese customers, usually out of small home based kitchens, and those who had Chinese "hotels" or restaurants which are meant for the local desi population...so the food is adapted to suit local tastes, much like Americanized Chinese food is. I am not a big fan of desi Chinese, but I personally know Indians and Pakistanis who can ONLY eat desi Chinese food, they find authentic style Chinese food too strange and Americanized style Chinese food to be bland. A lot of desis cook some desi Chinese recipes at home, too.
Since this post a year and a half ago, I was able to take a series of Indian-Chinese cooking classes. I really liked the dishes that my teacher showed me. I learned stuff like Singapore Cauliflower. Cauliflower Manchurian, French Fry stir fry (not gross, fabulous, I swear), and a bunch of other stuff. A lot of the Indian Chinese available to me in restos where I was living at the time (Dubai) weren't very good, but I liked this dish called Manchurian Balls. I asked about them here on CH in this post:
I really liked them and my cooking teacher created a recipe for them which I tweaked a bit and would like to share here:
For the balls: The trick is to get the water out of the vegetables so
they batter isn't sticky. The veg gives off a lot of
water and will ruin the texture of your veg balls if you aren't
Take out frozen corn kernals and allow to sit in a strainer first, 1/2
cup, squeeze the water out gently with your hands
Roughly chop in food processor one by one:
1/2 cup carrot
1/2 cup cabbage
1/2 piece bell pepper
1/2 cup French beans
After you have chopped them all, squeeze the water out of them with
your hands. On a large flat surface (like a big plate) add all the
veggies, including the whole squeezed corn kernals, and add 4 tbs
plain flour (keep 2 tbs extra plain flour on the side if more water
seeps out of the veg and add this in), 2 tbs corn flour, 1 tsp soy
sauce, 1 tsp red chile flakes, about 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sodium
bicarbonate. Mix well. Make small marble size balls and
deep fry until crisp. You can eat the balls on their own, or serve in
the sauce below. You can fry them half way and then keep them aside
and finish the frying right before you serve. However, ideally you should
fry and add to the sauce right before serving.
Ginger-garlic-chile paste 1tbs (chop equal amounts of ginger,garlic, and green chile in food processor for this
)soy sauce 1 tsp
sugar 1 tsp
oyster sauce (veg is fine) 2 tsp
1 tbs ketchup
1 centimeter cubed flake of a veg stock cube
1 heaping tbs cornstarch mixed with 3/4 cup water
tiny touch of salt if needed
spring onions 1 tbs chopped
1 tbs oil
Mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and ketchup and piece of stock cube,
and sugar. Beat until the sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust seasonings, as different brands of oyster sauce taste weaker or stronger and you may need to adjust for flavor. Set aside. Heat oil and fry ginger garlic chile. When this turns golden, add in the soy sauce
mixture that you kept aside. Stir for a moment, then add in the corn
starch and water. Allow this to boil. The cornstarch will thicken.
Taste for salt. Add a little salt if necessary. Stir in the pre-fried veg balls.
Garnish with spring onion and serve.
it's chinese food essentially that has an indian touch. popular all over south asia as it's cooked in homes as well as what is served in chinese restaurants in india, pakistan etc. do note that it's more chinese than indian but cooked in a way to enhance the spiciness with the frequent use of garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.
calling this cuisine indian is akin to refering to what taco bell serves as mexican.
Some related threads from the NY boards...
Yes, this cuisine has become very popular in the Indian communities in my neck of the woods (Long Island, NY). I like it a lot, and find it tastes fresher than the Indian food I usually see. I think the more traditional Indian restaurants offer lots of very rich, long cooked, stewed dishes. I love these, too, but the Indian -Chinese dishes taste brighter. They use a lot of raw (or only lightly cooked) scallions, garlic, and cilantro. Lots of chilis, too.
One of my favorites, Manchow soup, is very much like a common Chinese hot and sour soup, but with loads of scallions, garlic and chilis chopped very fine.
The Manchurian dishes come with a chunky sauce made of the same ingredients, plus soy sauce. I know I'm missing a lot of the components, but I have not been able to find many recipes for these dishes, so I haven't tried them at home.
Does not appear to be fusion food - and I'd seen the Wiki entry before I asked. There are apparently several places like this across the country, not chains, but seemingly the equivalent of American Chinese (the chop suey/chow mein strain) but Indian. Has anyone else eaten it?
Yes, I've eaten this type of food on several occasions, in Toronto and oddly enough, in North Carolina.
This is a type of fusion cuisine, as it combines elements of Chinese cuisine and Indian Cuisine. It is very popular with some of my East Indian friends. I suspect it has similar appeal as American-Chinese for North Americans. It is different from your usual cuisine, but it has enough familiar flavour elements that it is easy to get accustomed to it.
Some people have argued that this cuisine can be a little excessively oily and greasy, but I personally love it. I love the combination of Indian spicing and Chinese ingredients and cooking techniques. I wish I had more opportunity to eat this food, it is a nice change from pure Chinese and Indian cuisine.
We have a number of these restuarants here as well (this city has a sizeable Indian population). To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the cuisine as I find it often too greasy, too sweet and too starch thickened for my tastes. I have also had it in India a number of years ago.
FWIW, one of the old-school Szechuan restaurants here is really popular with the Indian community...I guess it is the chili-heat they are seeking in that case.
I'm a little surprised to read that Vancouver has a number of Hakka places- yes Vancouver has an Indian population that eclipses that of any city in North America (per capita) but it's also overwhelmingly Punjab. This is a pleasant surprise.
Toronto has lots of Hakka places. I can't say I care for it. Among all the vernacular Chinese I've had I have to say that I like the Trinidadian spin the best!
re: John Manzo
It is more commonly known here as "Desi" Chinese food. Here, the term "Hakka" is reserved for a variant of southern Chinese food. (The roots are the same - the term came from migrant Hakka who moved to Calcutta as labourers in the 18th century).
Here is a fairly recent article on Vancouver's Indian-Chinese food: http://www.straight.com/article-13567...
"I suspect it has similar appeal as American-Chinese for North Americans."
Yes, I think that's exactly it. I have had Chinese food in Calcutta (chicken manchurian is the classic Indo-Chinese dish) and I get excited when I see it here -- it's like if you were living in another country and you saw an Americanized Chinese restaurant and you ran in to order General Tso's Chicken.
Although probably because I'm Indian and the flavors are familiar to me, I much prefer Indian Chinese.
" I get excited when I see it here"
Pia, that is exactly the reaction some of my East Indian friends had when a place opened up in North Carolina! They were incredibly excited, and it really seemed like it was a homecoming. They talked about the food they used to eat at home, and they were very nostalgic and grateful to have this place open up.
I'm not Indian, but I also think I prefer Indian Chinese to most American Chinese.
I think things like Pulao (fried rice,)
'X' Manchurian (fried 'X' sauteed in a sauce after it's fried - usually chicken, or cauliflower)
Chicken Tawa (very sim to a sweet&sour chicken)
are somewhat standard examples of Indo-Chinese foods avail in a decent amt of Indo-Pak restaurants where I live.