|(From top) The interiors of Beijing; Monica Liu at work in the kitchen. Pictures by Rashbehari Das|
It’s perhaps the most experimented cuisine in the city’s gourmetscape. If the posh restaurants dish out tempered variations and the small haunts in every other lane cook up the Chowmein-Chilli Chicken staple, it’s the eateries at China Town that offer the most authentic selection of Chinese cuisine in the city.
Goodlife treks through the dingy lanes of Tangra in east Calcutta and checks out a few of the favourite destinations.
Restaurateur Monica Liu gifted Tangra its first air-conditioned eatery way back in 1991. She opened Kimling when her family leather business got into a rough patch.
“Cooking was always a passion. When the business was closed down, opening a restaurant was the only option left for me,” says Liu.
Kimling came up on 13 South Tangra Road with a seating capacity of less than 50. Now, it can pack in as many as 200 covers.
The personal touch in the fare at Kimling is the restaurant’s success mantra, believes Liu. Visiting the market to shop for fresh ingredients is part of the lady’s daily routine.
“The various provinces in China offer different cuisines. But since Calcuttans have a taste for spicy food, we offer more of Szechwan,” she reveals.
Most of the recipes used in the kitchen are picked up by Liu during her extensive travels in China and Hong Kong.
And not just recipes, some of the ingredients are also sourced from the east. While the local markets supply the fresh materials, sauces and spices such as Oyster Sauce, Hoisin Sauce and curry pastes are sourced from Hong Kong and Thailand.
Liu rates the soups high among the Kimling favourites and lists Pepper Fish, Pepper Prawns, Chicken Crispy Fried Wanton, Mongolian Chicken, Chicken in Pak Choi, Prawn with Black Bean Sauce and Fish with Green Pepper among the must trys.