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Ok, so many of us nurse a secret passion for chilli chicken, though we’d rather die than admit it in public. It is one of the high watermarks of Indian Chinese food, whether you call it Sino Ludhianvi, Chinjabi or tadka Chinese. But the cuisine that was born in Beijing and perfected in Guangdong is being murdered in India. Here are some differences:
Noodles (wheat) are a North Chinese phenomenon; rice is a South China reality. It is probably the River Yangtze that is the definitive line between the two. Nowhere in China would noodles and rice be served in the same meal, and definitely not on the same plate! For that unpardonable offence, you have to come to India.
The Manchurian Dynasty actually existed in the extreme north east region in China. And because of the power they wielded politically, they had access to the best cooks and finest ingredients, which consisted of a 108 course banquet. There was no gobhi manchurian or chicken manchurian in it.
Chinese food has no gravy in it. There are no curries, except in Xinjiang in the west. Hotpots are soup-based meals. You do not moisten your pile of noodles with ladles of gravy, simply because there is no gravy. In any dish.
The meal sequence in a restaurant in China is: cold starters, hot starters, main course, soup, rice. A Sichuan restaurant would not serve Guangdong food and a Beijing restaurant would not have dim sum as a starter. A main course chef would not know how to make dim sum and vice versa.
Soup in South China is the last course, just before the rice. In North China, it is served all through the meal, together with the main course.
Appearing incognito is The Phantom's style, so we are keeping this identity under wraps. What we can tell you is that this is one food critic that has earned the respect of restaurateurs and foodies alike. With an astute palate and an adventurous spirit, the Phantom Critic has more than 20 years of experience writing about food and reviewing restaurants