If you were to stand in front of Ming Yang on the first floor of the Taj Lands End on a weekday evening you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in front of a budget Chinese restaurant at Bandra. For Ming Yang is perennially packed in the evenings and there are people waiting to get in. It is hard to imagine that you are waiting in front of a restaurant in a 5 star hotel when you see the crowd.
Ming Yang’s popularity predates the Taj Lands End to the time when it was opened at the Regent Hotel which was then bought over by the Taj. It was opened by Chef David, originally from Hong Kong, who moved to Mumbai from Delhi.
Chef David has spent a quarter of a century in India and even does the Bhangra when in a good mood. From Ming Yang’s point of view, this means that he understands the pulse of the Indian consumer. He experimented with a lot of vegetarian dishes, added in a fair bit of chicken, using produce, which the average Indian diner was comfortable with. He ramped up the flavor and brings in a strong Sichuan quotient into the food with strong spicy notes in his dishes. Even the Cantonese fare sees a stronger use of condiments such as garlic and sauces to make them appeal to the Indian palate. A formula which has worked.
Unlike the often reticent Chinese expats, Chef David loves being front of house and mixes readily with the patrons of Ming Yang. Many of whom check if David is there before coming to eat and discuss their orders with him.
The communal style of dining works to make Ming Yang not come across as too expensive. Families come to eat here and share dishes. Hotel insiders say a group of 4 is optimal to get your money’s worth. The prices work out to be easier on the wallet for those dining in groups than going to the European restaurant next door with its individually plated dishes. Spends at Ming Yang would compare with eating in some of the high-end Bandra stand-alone Chinese restaurants.
Ming Yang was shut for a while and has re-opened after renovation in a bright and shiny avatar.
Loyalists of this restaurant serving comfort Chinese food with a desi heart are rejoicing.
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Kalyan Karmakar authors the popular award winning blog, Finely Chopped and is an authority on the food of Mumbai. His extensive knowledge of the city's food scene has been featured in publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror and BCC Good Food. He was one of the founding critics of EazyDiner's Mumbai team.