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Indians shun Chinese goods but continue to love Chinese food

Indians shun Chinese goods but continue to love Chinese food

As an unprecedented anti-China wave sways across the length and breadth of India, leading to boycotting of 'Made in China' products, which hitherto dominated the markets, there is one thing that will perhaps never lose acceptance. Chinese food.

We remain committed to Chinese food, irrespective of the conflicting political and economic situation arising out of the altered geopolitics in the region. Vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians savor Chinese food that is available here. Of course, the food available here is not the same as what is cooked in China.

Sample this. The pure vegetarian Udupi Café at New Delhi’s crowded ITO area, catering to hundreds of customers every day, has been rustling up the “<em>desi</em>” Chinese food for several years now. Originally, the café served south Indian delicacies, like all other Udupi chain of restaurants, but a few years ago, the pocket-friendly outlet at the capital’s 'fleet street' had to introduce Chinese dishes after popular demand.

On the menu are a variety of Chinese soups, vegetable 'hakka' noodles, chilly garlic ‘chowmin’ among others. Not just that, the love and obsession for Chinese food is such that the restaurant has even started serving ‘Idly Manchurian.’

Chinese food, undoubtedly, is one of the most popular cuisines in India. Noodles, fried rice, braised meat balls, stir fried meats or fish in soy sauce, tossed vegetables, tofus, dumplings—the mouth-watering list is never ending. While Indians are determined to give up “anything that is Chinese,” their love for Chinese food remains undented.

Starting from <em>thelawallas</em> to premium five-start restaurants, Oriental food (read Chinese) is available everywhere. While the <em>thelawallas</em> and budget eateries may not serve you ‘authentic’ Chinese food, the high-end restaurants do that.

While many expats hailing from China stay in the metros—Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and the national capital region including Gurugram—Kolkata continues to be home to many Chinese-Indians. Kolkata’s Tiretta Bazaar serves you fresh Chinese breakfast even today. The authentic breakfast comprises a variety of dishes such as dumplings made of various kinds of meats, fish and even vegetables apart from a host of other rice-based delicacies. The market is not only popular among tourists but even the local Bengalis frequently visit the place.

Tangra, Kolkata’s own China town, has several popular restaurants. The restaurants are owned and run by the Chinese-Indians but their clientele mostly comprises Bengalis and other tourists.

While a few dishes served at Tangra are adapted to suit the local palate, most items are authentic Chinese, which are relished equally by the non-Chinese. Though the Chinese-Indian population is on the decline as many have moved to other native country, the community and the area, where they live, continue to be fiercely protected by the Bengalis.

At a time when Indians are ready to replace Chinese goods with products that are either indigenously made or sourced from other countries including Taiwan, Chinese food is something that nobody wants replaced.

We love our Chinese food—it is comfort food for us. We are not willing to give it up, come what may.