- Jenny Pinto
How Chinese became India's favourite food
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Growing up in the 70s in Bombay (as it was then called), a typical family trip to the movies, would begin with push-starting my father’s beat up old black Standard Pennant and end with a dinner at a Chinese restaurant. No matter how often the car broke down, the excitement of the movie and Chinese dinner kept the mood upbeat. The Hollywood movie we watched at the Regal in Colaba in South Bombay, transported us to an exotic foreign locale for 90 minutes and then, if Nanking was the dinner destination, we walked through the old arches of Colaba’s colonial architecture, up to its neon “Chinese” font signage, into the dimly lit Chinoiseries of its faded interiors. Its red-tasseled Chinese lanterns, painted walls, gold trimmings, laughing Buddha statue and dragon motifs on the ceramic bowls was our imagination of China, and we were very pleased with that, though just 10 years before, my father told us, restaurants like Nanking were shunned by families like ours after the '62 war. We fiddled with the little bottles of red chili and soya sauce and bowls of green-chili-swimming-in-vinegar that were placed on every table, while we waited for our Sweet corn Crab soup, American Chopsuey, Honey-glazed Pork Ribs and Hakka noodles to be brought to us by an old Chinese waiter under the watchful eye of old Mr. Yick Sen Ling, the Cantonese owner of Nanking. Sweet Corn Chicken Soup, I later found out, was probably the first “fusion” Chinese dish. The story goes that during the Second World War, a group of British soldiers walked into Nanking at closing time, when food had run out, so they requested Mr. Ling to whip up something with a tin of corn they had with them and they loved the soup so much it got added to the menu. The rest is Indian-Chinese food history. I found similar stories about the origins of Shezwan and Manchurian dishes, Spring Rolls and Chilli Chicken, staples of any Indian-Chinese menu today.
(and just for the record, my father’s old jalopy usually drove us back home without a hiccup. Either the spark plugs had warmed up with the long drive to town or by our happy post-prandial sighs)
Looking back, I find it interesting to see how India adapted to and then adopted Chinese food and transformed it completely to become India’s favorite Indian cuisine. When I wonder how it went, from being found only in a few Chinese-owned restaurants that only adventurous urban Indians ate in, to being one of the most widely eaten cuisines that stands shoulder to shoulder with Tandoori and Mughlai on menus all over the country, I hear Pardesi babu Govinda singing “it-happens-only-in-Indiaaa”.
Today, one finds tiny restaurants dressed up in fake exotica and hole-in-the-wall eateries in small towns and highways across India, with names like “Aka Saka”, “Buddha Eyes” and “Fook Hing”, serving greasy noodle and corn-flour thickened gravy dishes and odd hybrids like Chinese pav-bhaji and Shezwan dosa. The sublime Chinoiseries of the early restaurants getting more and more ridiculous as the food gets further and further away from the original. Small town India’s imagination of “Chinese” can fill a whole photo-essay by itself!
However, introducing middle class Indians to the subtle Cantonese and Hakka flavors took a while. Like the Chinese immigrants did in America, (invent American Chopsuey with tomato ketchup) the Chinese in India also had to tweak recipes to create more acceptable and familiar tastes which, in the case of India, would have to be the addition of chili and spice. Interestingly, even as Chinese food got masala-fied, at the other end of the spectrum, the well-heeled Indian got more curious and open to the original. Though this happened much later, close to the change of the millennium, when many fine dining restaurants helmed by cooks from Hongkong and mainland China, gave the post-liberalization Indian palates a taste of the subtleties and delicacies of “International “ Chinese food, from Hunan to Xinjiang. If the proliferation and pricey-ness of these restaurants are anything to go by, Indians love that too. However, the more dominant of the two “strands” of Chinese cuisine is very much the Indian -Chinese which is now a separate school of Indian cooking in itself, with its own staples, rules and dedicated recipe books. There are even Indian-Chinese restaurants in the US and Canada started by the Hakka community who migrated from Calcutta/Kolkata, that are hugely popular.
But let’s rewind to how it all began.
Bombay Docks at the turn of the century.
The first Chinese migrants came to Calcutta (as it was then called) in the 18th century after Yong Atchew wrote to Gov-General Warren Hastings in 1782, requesting some land to set up a sugar plantation in Bengal, and bring Chinese labour to work on it. The men who first came were mainly from the Hakka community followed by the Cantonese. Most of the early arrivals were young single men and many of them returned to China to marry and some brought their wives back with them. Some of the women opened little make-shift dining rooms in front of their homes, catering to the Chinese workers. What they served was naturally, either Hakka food, which is distinguished by its salty, fragrant and umami flavours or the subtler Cantonese food that was steamed. Fast forward some years and Calcutta had a bustling China Town in the areas around Bow Bazaar, Tirreti Bazzar , and later in Tangra where the Hakkas set up leather tanning factories in an abandoned swamp on the eastern outskirts of the city. Although Eau Chew and the grander Nanking housed in a beautiful red colonial building it shared with the Toong On Church, both in Tirretti bazaar, are said to be Calcutta’s first Chinese restaurants, set up in the 1920s, the small, undocumented family run eateries probably preceded them by many decades. Like Eau Chew, the family run eateries catered mainly to the Chinese community and to foreign sailors getting off the ships that docked in Calcutta and had no Indian clientele. Calcutta's old timers recall that Nanking in later years, when Chinese food started to become popular with intellectuals and the film crowd, welcomed their clients with violinists playing at the door.
The story was similar in Bombay, where there was also a fairly significant Cantonese community, that migrated after the Parsi merchants began trading with China, their ships docking in Canton (Guangzhou). The Cantonese who started migrating to India after the first Opium war of 1842, settled in Kamathipura and around the Mazgaon dock area establishing a small China Town, within Bombay’s red light district. In narrow streets interspersed with the brothels, were Chinese teeth setters, grocery stores, laundries, gambling dens and eateries as well as a Chinese temple. Later the community were given land a little further away in Sewri, for a graveyard. Even today, both the red light district and fragments of Old China Town still jostle for space around Kamathipura and Mazgaon, though you hardly see a Chinese person. Although the Hupei (known for their teeth setting skills) and Shadong communities ( silk traders) also settled in Bombay, the first large restaurants that opened were mainly run by the Cantonese (from the Tham clan) who served Cantonese food, which is more subtle with an emphasis on fresh sea food and steamed dumplings like the Sui Mai and Dim sums we love today. Like the ones in Calcutta, these were also family eateries set up to feed mainly single men and sailors alone in a foreign country. The food remained fairly authentic but very few Indians ate there. The tastes were too bland or exotic for them and many Indians were probably suspicious of the meat being served.
There is no documented evidence, but by all anecdotal accounts, India’s oldest Chinese restaurant is actually in Bombay. Called Lokjun, it was started by a Japanese couple in 1895 on Kamathipura’s Shuklaji street, notoriously known as Safed Gully (or street for European prostitutes). First run as a sailor’s club called Lokun, it was very popular with Chinese and Korean sailors and even after it changed owners (to a Tham) and was named Lokjun, it remained a small eatery dedicated to its niche clientele and only closed in 2005, a good 110 years later. The food, I have read and heard (from one of their old chefs), was authentic and very good.
Lokjun restaurant 1895-2005; Shuklaji street, Mumbai; Photograph/ Vidura Jung Bahadur
Calcutta, however, has always been credited with being the home of "authentic" Chinese food and for introducing Chinese food to the Indians, because middle class Bengalis were possibly the more adventurous eaters. However, I would use the word "authentic" hesitantly because by the 1970s, the menus were pretty standard everywhere you went with the usual Sweet and Sour dishes, Sweet Corn soups, American Chopsuey, Garlic Chilli prawns and chicken, Chilli chicken and the variations of Fried Rice and Chowmien. Some food writers feel that this was a standard Chinese restaurant menu found all over the world that originated in the US, where Chinese immigrants opened restaurants and invented dishes to appeal to American customers and had very little resemblance to what the Chinese ate at home.
While I grew up eating at Nanking and Kamling in downtown Bombay, my contemporaries were eating at similar places like Waldorf, New Cathay, Chung Wah and Jimmy’s kitchen in downtown Calcutta. In China Town or Cheenapara, there was Nanking and Eau Chew, but Tiretti bazaar also became famous for its street food vendors like Fat Mama , who is the muse of a lovely BBC short film on Kolkata’s dwindling China Town, called “the Legend of Fat Mama” by photographer Rafiq Ellias, (https://www.desichineseproject.com/post/the-legend-of-fat-mama). Fat Mama’s legacy continues on the streets of Tirretti Bazaar even today, where every Sunday morning, both tourists and locals come to breakfast on Sui Mai and Sui Bao and buy Chinese sausages and Pakchoy, sold on streets taken over by hawkers (except the dumplings are very often made and sold by Biharis these days). The restaurants in Tangra really came much later, after 1962, when the old popular restaurants, wound down or dwindled for many reasons including the Indo-China war and emigration.
Morning breakfast in Tangra, Kolkata. Photograph/ Vidura Jang Bahadur
Calcutta and Bombay after 1962
The Indo-China war of 1962 was a dark chapter for the Chinese community in India, especially after many families were interned in a camp for many years in Deoli in Rajasthan. Some of them were put on a ship and sent back to China and others began to migrate to USA, Canada and Australia when they found that they had lost most of their property and business. Of the ones who stayed on in India and rebuilt their lives many moved to the cities and started beauty parlours and restaurants. Calcutta remained the city with the largest community and the epicentre for good Hakka Chinese food shifted to Tangra. These little eateries of course, catered mainly to the tannery workers and Chinese communities from Bow Bazaar and within Tangra. The food being served got a reputation for being authentic though few Bengalis ventured to eat there. Later, changing environmental and urban zoning laws forced many of the Chinese tanneries to move out of Tangra, and since the Hakkas are pretty canny business people, they simply filled the real estate being vacated by the tanneries with large fancy restaurants, with more Indianised Chinese food that was soon discovered by a food loving middle-class Bengali clientele who got served Indian-Chinese under the guise of “authentic” Hakka cuisine. The neighborhood is pretty gentrified now, with some gated high-rise condominiums being constructed and restaurants with names like Golden Joy, Kafulok, China Pearl and Beijing (owned by the well-known “don of Tangra” Monica Liu who also owns Kim Fa and a few others on Park Street). The bhadralok favorites on Park Street, like Waldorf and Peiping are still around of course and the simpler, no frills places are still in Tirretti Bazaar. The lovely old building on Chhatawalla Gully, that housed Nanking is now in a poor condition (there is talk of it being restored) and occupied now by the Toong On Church because the owners of Nanking also migrated to Canada. Eau Chew is still at the same address, up a modest staircase on the first floor of a building behind a petrol pump on Mission Row. Run by Joel Huang and his mother Josephine, who are the grandson and daughter-in -law of Mrs. Huang who started it. Joel has kept it fairly “original” with the mica topped tables and lace curtains and although he is now quite well known in Kolkata, he has resisted the urge to upgrade the old restaurant to a more contemporary and hipper place, unlike the Tangra Chinese restaurants. The menu is still reminiscent of the old “Calcutta Chinese” with signature dishes like the Chimney soup, Roast Chili Pork and Josephine noodles, named after his mother. Although he didn’t say it to me when I met him, one Kolkata food reviewer wrote that Joel lays claim to “Shezwan” sauce. He says his grandfather invented it.
Chinese emigration to the West continued well after '62 and very little of the old China Town remains, though even today you can still get Moon Cakes during Moon Festival in September and wander into Sing Ho Stores for homemade sauces or Hap Hing Co. Chinese Provision & Medicine Stores for Chinese herbs. What flourished with the Indian-Chinese food industry though, are the two sauce factories in Kolkata. The Sing Cheung Sauce Factory established in 1954 and Pou Chong Brothers, that started slightly later, both family-run enterprises that still rule the roost in sauces and Chinese condiments. Their green chili and other sauces have many clones and are served with everything, from sui mai to samosas all over India so we’re talking serious business here. These stores in Tirretti Bazzar are also still the best source for not-easy-to-find Chinese ingredients including many kinds of dried fungus, shiitake mushrooms and fermented black beans.
In Bombay the many iconic Chinese restaurants like Kamling, Nanking, Mandarin, Fredrick’s and Flora, all owned by the Cantonese Chinese, became very popular with Bombay’s Parsis and the Bollywood set. But they also made Chinese food accessible to middle class Indians like us in the 60s and 70s. After 1962, Kambling changed hands but continues to this day to be a bastion of the old world Chinoiserie-charm with the nostalgic taste of Chinese food of the 70s. As fancy Chinese restaurants mushroomed in the 80s and 90s, business for the older restaurants dwindled for a while and old favourites like Flora, Nanking and Mandarin struggled for a few years before finally shutting shop. In the case of Mandarin, the third generation of Thams now run a chain of hip restaurants and pubs and Nanking’s Mr. Yick Sen Ling’s sons run the pretty famous Ling’s Pavillion.
Many Chinese families also moved south to Bangalore and Chennai and opened restaurants. In Bangalore the family of Mr. Tham Tsee Tseng claim that their father invented Chili Chicken, or at least served India’s tastiest Chili Chicken, at the famous Nanking, that he owned and ran on Vithal Mallaya road, housed in a lovely old bungalow. (the same Mr. Tham, who in 1945, had inherited Lokjun when the Japanese couple moved back to Japan, but he sold it and moved to Bangalore) Nanking was frequented by the Japanese working at the old HMT factory and celebrities like the Bacchans (during the shooting of Sholay) and the Khans (who moved to Bangalore to breed horses). Sadly, both the restaurant and the bungalow have long gone.
Nanking on Grant road Bangalore, which closed in the 80s. Photograph from the Tham family album
Mr. Chen' in his Kamling restaurant in Bombay, still operating today, built in 1938.
Photograph/ Suleiman Merchant
Tandoori Chicken in Shezwan Sauce?
By the mid 80s, things began to change. The cuisine, long relegated to a niche clientele in the Indian metros, was soon becoming as Indian as Butter Chicken. Ironically it started with the posh Taj Mahal hotel opening the Golden Dragon in Bombay and the House of Ming in Delhi, in the 70s, that both served the fiery Sichuan food for the first time in India. Introducing the numbing tingle of Sichuan pepper and earthy Pixian chilli bean paste to an elite clientele, that had a slow start but soon became very popular. Both Chinese and Indian restraunteers everywhere, soon caught on that bland Chinese food could be theekha. Nobody had migrated to India from the Sichuan region so the fiery peppers were probably exotic even to the Chinese community in India, many of who were by now 2nd and 3rd generation migrants. But they innovated and it was not the zingy Sichuan pepper that that they brought into their kitchens but ginger, garlic, onion and chili and they called it Shezwan. The umami tastes of Soya sauce went surprising well with Indian spices, chili and garlic. Seeing their success many restaurants went a step further and added not just spice but even fresh coriander to fried vegetables and meats that they immersed into a soya- garlic, cornflour-thickened sauce that appealed to the Indian customer’s love of spice and gravy. Although many Chinese-owned restaurants still tried to keep the food “authentic”, the spicing up of the food was working and restaurants serving this food all over India boomed.
In 1985 Nelson Wang, a dancer turned restraunteer, flush with the success of his smaller restaurant Fredrick’s and the one he ran at the Cricket Club of India (CCI), opened China Garden in Kemp’s Corner that soon took Bombay by storm. People went there as much for the food as for the possibility that a Bollywood film star or famous politician would be dining at the next table. When Hollywood actor Goldie Hawn visited China Garden it was big news. The hard working but canny entrepreneur that he is, Wang not just expertly tweaked the food but plated it beautifully and departed from the kitschy, clichéd red and gold interiors to white and gold for China Garden’s plush interiors. The food was really good and Wang was ever present in the restaurant, making sure his interesting rags to riches story was also ever present in the press, where he was declared the king of “Manchurian” food and he soon became a regular at Bombay’s swish parties and at Bollywood ones too. Interestingly, China Garden’s far-Eastern and Chinese visitors got presented a separate more “authentic” Chinese menu, without the Manchurian dishes and fried okra, but with dishes like White Fungus with Red bean Soup, which showed Nelson Wang cared about his reputation and his customers.
Codes and Colours
Indian-Chinese food, as it expresses itself today, is not without some pretty consistent codes of design in both the food and its presentation. Firstly, no “family restaurant” in India is successful unless they offer “Mughlai, Chinese, Continental” on their menu which must include the Manchurian and Shezwan dishes. Then there are the stand alone Chinese joints and street vendors who give themselves randomly Chinese sounding names like Hungry Eyes, Ming Yang, and even Soon Fatt ! The frontage of the restaurant is usually red, with cut-and-paste digital images of noodle bowls, chop sticks, laughing Buddhas, lanterns, woks, …anything the owner thinks is representative of the Chinese. The dishes on the menu know no boundaries either and to the standard favourites like Shezwan and Manchurian (that often morphs to Manjari) , Chilli Prawns, Hakka noodles, and Manchow soup, they have now added Dhokla Manchurian, Idli Manchurian (even star chef Sanjeev Kapoor has a recipe for this) , Shezwan Dosa, Chinese Bhel, Chinese Pizza, Triple Shezwan, Chinese Pav-bhaji and Tandoori Chicken Momos, depending on which part of India you happen to be (yup, we have our own “regional” Chinese cuisine). The dishes varied but the formula remained the same: liberal splashes of Soya and chilli sauce to which you add generous dollops of tomato ketchup for tanginess as well as the colour red, (tandoori colour for the fiery look, lest you had any doubt as to its spice level) and Shezwan sauce usually did the trick of turning anything into a Chinese dish
In the rest of India, beyond the big cities, the popularity of this "new" cuisine, that was sweet, spicy, sour and exotic, inspired hundreds of new Chinese restaurants up and down the spectrum, but these were owned not by Indian-Chinese anymore but by enterprising Indians, (who knew nothing about Chinese cuisine or culture) who are known the world over to never miss an opportunity when they see one.
There were now so many new Chinese restaurants but where were the cooks coming from?
Chef Hsien koi Sang, aka Badal (second from right), Oodlabari. Photograph/Vidura Jang Bahadur
From Oodlabari to the rest of India
In trying to find out more about Lokjun, the oldest Chinese restaurant in Bombay, I had heard of a Chinese cook who worked there in the 70s /80s and had now retired to his home town of Oodlabari near Siliguri. He is Hsien Koi Sang, but called Badal at home, after the 1951 Madhubala film. Oodlabari had a significant Chinese and Nepali population, all descendants of workers who had come in the first half of the 20th century as labour in the tea plantations. I visited Badal in 2019, and I discovered not just a soft-spoken man and a very passionate cook but also the little town of Oodlabari, that can well claim to have scattered about 200 plus Chinese cooks around India and like all good seeds, they have sprouted into hundreds of Indian Chinese restaurants and dhabas. “We were born and raised in India” said Badal, speaking over the sizzle and glorious aroma of the roasting Lap Yuk, (cured pork belly) that he was expertly roasting to a crackle in a lidded wok, “and we love Indian food, so it was not difficult for us to bring the two tastes together, Indian and Chinese. We knew how to make Chinese food appealing to the Indians”.
Badal ought to know ! He learnt to cook from his mother, then trained in well-known restaurants in Calcutta, including Waldorf and Chung Wah after which he went to Bombay and worked at the Taj where he met Errol Leong. Errol moved on to manage Nelson Wang’s China Garden while Badal preferred to helm the kitchen at Lokjun. They kept in touch and Badal followed Errol Leong to Nanking in Dubai from where he then went as head chef to China Restaurant in Amman, Jordan, a restaurant frequented by the King of Jordan and his family. Framed newspaper and magazine articles about him in Dubai and Amman adorn the walls of Badal’s living room.
According to Badal, almost every male member in every Chinese and Nepali family in Oodlabari is a cook somewhere in India and also abroad and today there would be more than 200 of them. His own two sons are cooks in Europe, but he himself is now retired and has a small seasonal business making Lap Yuk (cured pork belly) and Lap Chung or Chinese sausages that people come all the way to Oodlabari to buy and then distribute all over India. When I mentioned Nelson Wang’s claim to having invented the famous Chicken and Gobi Manchurian he chuckled. “Deep-fried pakoras in soya-chilli-garlic sauce, with fresh dhania, we were doing it when Nelson Wang was still a (limbo) dancer“ he says ”but we didn’t call it Manchurian, that was his invention”. I want to believe him!! The lunch he prepared for us, of Lap Yuk was simply out of this world !! For some odd reason he also cooked us Southern Fried Chicken, that was inspired by Col Sander’s, but Badal’s version won hands down!! Though Badal makes some pretty authentic Chinese food at home, he believes there’s nothing better than well-made Indian-Chinese. In Dubai, he says he taught many cooks from Hongkong the secrets of this new Indian cuisine !
Photograph/ Vidura Jang Bahadur
Fusion or Confusion?
Thanks to the versatile cooks from Oodlabari coupled with the enterprise of many canny Indian businessmen, Indian Chinese (or Sino-Ludhianvi, as journalist and food writer Vir Sanghvi aptly calls it) is a cuisine by itself today. The instant popularity of Shezwan (Sichuan) Chicken and Gobi Manchurian meant that India’s restaurateurs could now simply make up dishes with lots of soya, chili and masala and pass them off as Chinese. The umami flavours of soya sauce embraced the chili and garlic and Indian masalas in surprising and tasty ways! Says Sanghvi on his blog, “ But once they did that (invent spicy Chinese dishes) , a second phenomenon occurred: if the whole cuisine was going to consist of made-up dishes, then why bother with Chinese cooks? Bit by bit, the Chinese restaurant business slipped out of the hands of the Chinese-Indian community. Today, more Punjabis own Chinese restaurants than do ethnic Chinese. And more Nepalis cook at Chinese restaurants than do actual Chinese people”.
Oodlabari’s Nepali and desi-Chinese young men most definitely did their bit to make sure this hybrid cuisine would reach every nook and corner of our vast country, popping up in small little restaurants in small town India, and in highway dhabas. Famous recipe book writers like Tarla Dalal and Sanjeev Kapoor included Indian-Chinese dishes in their books and TV shows. So suddenly every enterprising housewife was showing off her new Chinese cooking skills as she did her new handbag and Gobi Manchurian started appearing at wedding buffet tables as well, next to the Butter Chicken and Paneer Mutter, to be eaten with naan ! Ironically Chinese food could be called the most “ democratic” cuisine in India. You choose how to make it and with what to serve it.
The phenomenon of borrowing from other cultures and cuisines is not new of course. History is replete with cross cultural influences in art, food, language, religion and everything . The best examples are along the ancient Silk Road, that stretched from Persia and the Mediterranean in the west, via India to China in the east. Through all these great, ancient civilisations from Xi'an to Samarkand, the travellers carried their wares with them, borrowing, exchanging, assimilating. From salads, soups, breads, pilafs, kababs, and pastries, from Xi'an to Samarkand and Varanasi to Venice, it was along the caravan trails (and later the sea routes) of the Silk Road, that vegetables, fruits, grains, and seasonings — and the techniques for growing and cooking them — passed from one culture to another, to be absorbed and transformed into local specialties. Similar foods popped up everywhere and the food jury is still out over which came first, noodles or spaghetti, a debate that chef David Chang devotes a whole episode to in Ugly Delicious! But hunt as I did, I didn’t find much Chinese influence on Indian food during the Silk Route times (2nd century BC to 14th century AD). The Persian and Mughal influence on North Indian food is very big and very evident but not the Chinese. The idiyappam maybe? Were they a form of rice noodles? Apparently not. According to food historian K. T. Achaya, Idiyappam and Appam were already known around 1st century AD, and references have been found in Sangam literature and steaming techniques can be traced to Vedic times. So it seems that while the rest of the ancient world was busy exchanging recipes along the Silk Road, the Chinese only tickled our taste buds in the late 20th century, thanks to the adventurous Bengalis who ventured into Tangra !! The Chinese traders did however leave behind their woks, cleavers, pickling jars and fishing nets, which you will find all over south India. But nothing more than that on the Indian culinary scene.
Photograph/ Vidura Jang Bahadur
Today, Chinese food has truly become regional, and is eaten all over India in almost infinite variations -- Hakka Chinese in Old Kolkata, Indian Chinese in Tangra, Sino-Ludhainvi in New Delhi, Udipi Chinese in suburban Bombay, and Shezwan Chinese everywhere else. If you are an HNI (high net worth individual), you can also find the “real thing” now. Superbly curated regional dishes from all over China, cooked by expat Chinese chefs, some of them Michelin star, but mainly in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi’s luxury hotels.
I am not a food snob and with the growing disparity and the looming climate crisis I firmly believe that the ability to adapt and an appreciation for otherness will be the key to survival in the future. So while some call Indian Chinese cuisine a Fusion, others call it Confusion, I will settle for Evolution.
However, when framing this story of how Indian-Chinese food came to be, it also aroused my interest in the history and philosophy of Chinese cuisines, which I find fascinating, so my only wish really is that we find a new name for Indian-Chinese food that doesn’t link this new-fangled cuisine to China. As a hobby cook, my only regret is that, since Indians found everything they wanted in Shezwan sauce, good Chinese ingredients are still hard to come by as there is no demand for them in India!