Another trip to China Town

images%20005.jpgI’m no die hard Chinese food lover but being some one who lives five minutes off Khayaban-e-Saadi, China Town automatically becomes a frequent option when an opportunity to dine out presents it self. This weekend we had some guests over, and we had planned to take them to Usmania across the road, but when they showed up at our place it turns out they had had dinner with some one last night at the Gulshan Usmania, so much to annoyance, for the third time in as many months, we were off to China Town again.

Now I have nothing particularly personal against the folks there, over the years their service has always been pretty efficient, the food tasty and the environment comfortable, but some how the over all experience is never as fulfilling as you’d hope, especially when you compare it with your bill later on. I don’t know if it’s because the place is often filled to capacity (we went in the afternoon and we still had to wait for a good 20 minutes before we could find seats) and hence overcrowded, or may it’s just because I’m bored of seeing the same menu over and over again.
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I know the place was renovated from top to bottom last year, but there haven’t been many new editions in the menu that I noticed. We’ve been going to this place for a good decade now at least, and we still end up ordering more or less the same course meals every time, may be its our fault and we aren’t daring enough in our choices, but I took a fellow Indian blogger for dinner here two years ago and I was hoping then he’d chose something different to what we’ve been doing for all these years…but no, still same old chicken corn soup, beef and chilies, fried prawns, spring roles, egg fried rice and mineral water.

We’ve been trying their fish dishes off late, but they’ve not had that good a review in my family, the view is that they taste too ‘desi’ and don’t really seem like Chinese dishes. But then again, I’ve been saying that about all their dishes for a long time, traditional Chinese food is never cooked as much we’ve grown used to eating at our desi Chinese restaurants, they’re less spicy too. I’ve been to Chinese restaurants in several places in the United States, for example, and no where did the Chinese food there taste as spicy and colourful as the one I had at China Town in Karachi. Perhaps the chefs here have modified the original Chinese flavor to more meet the taste of our shorebedar salan-spoiled taste buds.

Or perhaps it’s just me and my weird theologies. Because going by just how many people flock at China Town, you have to conclude that they must be doing something right. Is it your favorite Chinese restaurant in Karachi too?

34 Comments so far

  1. Your Hero (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

    China Town is costly, I agree. However, to me, it’s perfectly fine if the food is spicy since that is what we love- Oil and Spice.. Remember, there is no such place as real Chinese Food Restaurant except in China. I have been to many Chinese places in New York and accord to some of my Chinese colleagues, even the food here is now way near the actual Chinese food. And by the way, ‘aapas ki baat hai’, the actual Chines food smells like Fish Market as I have experienced that too at some Chinese friends who used to cook :)


  2. Lies (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 10:12 pm

    No one goes to Chinatown for the excitement, they go for the comforting feel of a place they’ve been eating beef chilli at for 10 years+

    Also, chinese food in the US is definitely NOT authentic. China is a big place and they have different types of food. Generally, a lot of their fare you won’t be able to stomach! Last year, I had the unfortunate opportunity to sample something made out of congealed organ fat of cows… something of a delicacy inc certain parts…


  3. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

    Zainub, I think you meant, Usmania restaurant, and not, Usmani.

    Am I correct?


  4. Zainub (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 10:24 pm

    Yes Arslaan, bad typo, apologies. I’ve made the correction. Thanks for pointing it out.


  5. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

    I’ve been to China Town twice in my life.
    Once there were 2 cockroaches crawling in the noodles. The other time there was a Nail (Keel)in the prawns..:S. Havnt heard much good abt it.

    How abt Ming Court in Khadda Market? (Opp Jimmys Studio). Its quite good.


  6. Raza (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 11:45 pm

    China Town is over-rated in my opinion.
    The food is no where close to chinese — i’ve had several bad experiences with this place. Also, its expensive. Not recommended. Either people in this city have no idea what Chinese food tastes like, or they have NO sense of taste. The food is disgusting.
    Ming Court or better still, Dynasty for me.


  7. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 12:09 am

    @Zainab: OT but glad to see you here on KMB. I hope you will cover local cricket/other sports news and other stuff efficiently with “slightly different perspective”. Best of luck!


  8. darthvader (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 12:42 am

    Finally ..I met someone who theologises about food , good for you i say .

    love , peace and rus malai
    vader , the Dark Sith


  9. Cecil (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 12:44 am

    Try Yuan Tung in PECHS. It’s the closest i’ve tried. I hear Dynasty recently hired sum chinese chefs so that may be pretty good now tho. I’d black-listed it bout 10 years back.
    And instead of going for the usual stuff (ala chicken corn soup, beef and chilies, fried prawns, spring roles, egg fried rice and mineral water) go for wontons, tou fu, stuffed crabs, szechuan chicken, yam mien instead of chow mien, hot pot, chop suey, rice pasta, etc.


  10. Sufi (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 1:23 am

    I am not a fan of Chinese either, and I think China town stinks. Your post reminded me of my earlier post here..
    So we all love china town?


  11. Jamash (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 1:39 am

    @: 2 cockroaches crawling and nail in the prawns.
    Wow!! they sure know how to cook for Adam’s Family.


  12. king_faisal (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 2:43 am

    me and my friends used to call the place chiniot town because the place was always filled with chiniotis who are not known to be conniseurs of good taste. food we thought was average. waisay i love pakistani chinese because you can get the taste of pakistani spices without having to eat salan. i have nothing against salan but eating it 2x a day gets to me after a while. plus chinese food contains subzi which is healthy unlike salan. also i agree with those people bad mouthing authentic chinese food. spices are not used in chinese food which makes it stink. coming close to a chinese person after they have eaten is not a pleasent experience.


  13. king_faisal (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 2:48 am

    my favourite chinese restaurant is dynasty. also i used to like the korean place across metropole but the place has moved. anyone know its new location?


  14. Sufi (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 3:21 am

    So true abt the place being filled with the Chiniotis.

    Zainub, one of my comments is held for approval, please look into that.


  15. Zainub (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 3:58 am

    Adnan,

    Thanks for kind message.

    Sufi,

    Don’t know how that happened, but I’ve taken care of it.


  16. Sufi (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 4:24 am

    Don’t worry about it, its an automatic filter installed on all metroblogs.


  17. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 5:08 am

    Razvi Kid, I expect a lot of good things here from you … I am sure you would do fine …


  18. FARAZ (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 7:00 am

    I wish I could visit these restaurants again in Karachi (may be not China Town in particular). The American version of Chinese cuisine is less than excititng.


  19. Huzefa L (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 7:14 am

    Chairman Mao’s delivery is the best Chinese food I’ve tasted in Karachi. But you need to be careful about what you order, cause you won’t like everything.


  20. Purple_Haze (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 8:30 am

    huh? I thought China Town is name of an area in Karachi like it is in New York (China Town – Little Italy – Village etc.) It is just a resturant?? crap… Try turning it into the name of the entire area… Start calling that part of the street China Town.


  21. MB (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 9:37 am

    That NO PARKING sign looked different than usual, is it by the CHINA TOWN ?


  22. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 10:16 am

    China Town The place sux. It is place of lound pitch hay wired families who like to get noticed, even when they are eating (or trying to) they talk in high TONE and look around to know how many are looking at them.

    Food used to be good but the environment to dine out needs to be little sober and comforting instead of loud crowd.

    China Town can be compared as sitting in car and eating at bundo khan sindhi muslim with windows rolled down.

    For chinese cusine I would prefer Dynasty or Yuan Tung in PECHS – which operates from sundown till 10.30 only


  23. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 10:20 am

    sorry for the TYPO – lound = LOUD


  24. Keep Walking! (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 11:05 am

    China Town sucks big time!! I have had the badest (is this a word? doesn’t matter) experience there…

    Red Dragon (Sri Lanka) was the only Chinese place I had the real chinese food… excellent it was!!!


  25. Hasnain (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

    China Town is probably one of the best Chinese joints in town. Agreed that they have modeled their food according to the Desi taste buds but did they have a choice? I have had Chinese food in China Town, San Francisco (the largest community of Chinese outside China) and trust me it stinks. Other than $2 boiled rice bowl nothing is worth mentioning, it smelt so weird, I had to wait for the fortune cookies to get a break.
    Agreed that China Town is expensive but the quality has been maintained over the last ten years which is pretty much abnormal compared to any eatery in Pakistan where quality and quantity decline as soon as the place gets popular, Red Apple, Dynasty and Usmania are great examples!


  26. Adil (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

    They serve two menu cards. One is Desi chinese and other which is pure chinese food. So you have a choice


  27. F. AHMED (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 6:33 pm

    I would advise people to avoid going there on weekends esp with guests as due to the rush their food quality sometimes drops by 50% or more.

    i took an aunt who was in khi from the USA about 2 -3 years back on a weekend and it was an embarresment:))

    one more thing…. i went there with my family a few years back and there was big group of chinese sitting in the extreme right corner (enclosed kind of private section)on the front side of the rest. and they were making a lot of noise and many were drinking as well….

    while we were still stiing there having our dinner they started to come out and go towards the exit..many were dead drunk falling here and there and men/women in each others arms…etc

    i fealt ackward sitting there with my family and i protested to the manager and the qeen bee!!


  28. F. AHMED (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 6:41 pm

    I haveto say that on the whole i find China Town pretty good compared to other chinese rest. in khi

    the chinses at Awari Towers is pretty good as well, but somewhat more expensive….but certainly worth trying!

    if you find any lahori bragging about the chinese rest there then u can shut them up as now the difference in standards is not huge as in the past. many rest. in khi are even better.

    the quality of many well known chinese rest. in lahore has fallen greatly. this is my personal exp. i was there 3 months back:)


  29. Cecil (unregistered) on March 22nd, 2007 @ 2:28 am

    That’s prolly cuz there are stil actual chinese here.
    i believe the population of chinese living in lahore is pretty close to nil.
    At least here, some of the ones operating are still owned and run by chinese.


  30. Nabeel (unregistered) on March 22nd, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

    Anyone heard of Mee-Kong (not sure about the spelling). A friend was praising it no end a few days ago…it’s near the Nazimabad McDonald’s i’m told…and has been there for over a decade…apparently the food is good.

    ?


  31. F. AHMED (unregistered) on March 23rd, 2007 @ 3:19 am

    @cecil:

    there are a lot of chinese working on different projects in karachi so the ones i was mentioning belonged to this category.

    the original khi based chinese have been domesticated long time back and most do not speak chinese noe. a friend of my brother was one of those!


  32. Raheel (unregistered) on March 24th, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

    Hey guys try Chopstix well priced and good food also have options of single servings of their dishes ,plus their combo deal is just for Rs 130 and its a complete meal …..they deliver as well number 5340584-5….Do give it a try especially hot and sour soup and chicken chilli dry…happy eating.


  33. F.AHMED (unregistered) on March 24th, 2007 @ 11:39 pm

    @raheel:

    i would try it!

    on the lighter side, can i ask u one question?

    do u own Chopstix or work there??:))


  34. asif waheed (unregistered) on March 26th, 2007 @ 9:21 am

    i had jade gardens long time ago may 10 yrs ago and i was good and i never liked china town don’t know how much it had changed since i left the country .



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