It was a Saturday and Mark and I just lazed around the whole day, so we found ourselves again walking into New Sarhad Darbar for our Saturday dinner habit. I was craving some Mutton Korma and Roti, which unfortunately were not available that time and I wasn't up for having their other dishes, so we decided to dine elsewhere.
We've been seeing this Chinese restaurant just right across but we haven't got the chance to try it out. And because we also haven't had Chinese food for quite some time, I obliged when Mark suggested that we dine at China Town instead.
Hues of red, yellow, and gold plus some Chinese decors and pieces adorn every inch of China Town, just like how most, if not all, Chinese restaurants are. It's a two-storey restaurant with majority of the seating area situated at the 2nd floor. I think this restaurant has been around in Bur Dubai for years already, which is evident in it's structure and furniture and fixtures. It is dimly lit which makes for an intimate Chinese dinner setting. Overall ambience actually of reminds me of an old Chinese restaurant in Manila.
More videos HERE
The menu is quite extensive and caters to the Indo-Chinese palates. I still have a lot to discover and learn about this cuisine, but as what I've observed (Indian friends and readers, please correct me if I'm wrong :D), what makes it distinct from the traditional Chinese food is its Indian influence, specifically their love for spices. You'll see a lot of dishes with Szechwan sauce in an Indo-Chinese menu.
Another observation: instead of the usual garlic chili and calamansi condiments in traditional Chinese restaurants, China Town had some sort of a red chili paste/sauce and vinegar with a lot of green chili as condiments, which were served on our tables after we placed our orders. They also have soy sauce, salt, and pepper ready on each table.
They also cook or at least name the dishes differently in Indo-Chinese cuisine. Say for instance, China Town's Yang Chow Fried Rice is sweet and with ketchup and their Shanghai Fried Rice has noodles, so I opted for the Canton Fried Rice as suggested by the staff, which is a serving of rice with bits of veggies, eggs, and shrimps. In traditional Chinese, all three are almost the same.
|Canton Fried Rice (half) - AED 19|
I liked the Canton Fried Rice as it's not too oily and is well seasoned. With a combination of rice, veggies, eggs, and shrimps, it's already a complete dish on its own. I only ordered a half portion, but it comes in a generous serving which I reckon can be shared by 2-3 people.
I also had half a serving of the Prawns in Sweet Garlic Sauce. It comes in 5 pieces of fried battered prawns drenched with a sauce that's sweet, garlicky, and gelatinous in consistency.
|Prawns in Sweet Garlic Sauce (half) - AED 34|
I also wasn't expecting this dish to have fried battered prawns, the ones that I had before come in either prawns with shells or shelled prawns, but I am not complaining. I just wasn't a fan of the gelatinous sauce, but other than that, I enjoyed this dish. Loved drowning the prawns in spiced vinegar! Mark didn't enjoy it as much as I did though.
He had Steamed Fish instead and enjoyed it to bits. It came in 5 pieces of steamed white fish in a sauce which what smelled like it had ginger in it. I didn't get to taste this one as I'm no fan of fish, let alone steamed ones. Mark had it with steamed white rice (AED 9); he loved it and claimed it tasted like those that we had from authentic Chinese restos, so I'm gonna have to take his word for it. ;)
|Steamed Fish (half) - AED 34|
China Town doesn't have bao nor har gow in the menu (not sure if it's specific to this restaurant or if it's really not an Indo-Chinese thing), so we just went for their Steamed Dumplings. The latter was unfortunately not available that time, so the staff suggested that we try the Steamed Wontons instead.
We had a full serving of it which included 10 steamed chicken-filled wontons. I can tell that the filling had no extenders (it was purely chicken which is okay) but pure chicken tends to be a bit stiff when steamed, which is the case with China Town's Steamed Wontons. Mark and I agreed that it was good, though not something that we'd go back for.
|Steamed Wontons (full) - AED 34|
We also had China Town's fresh juices—Orange Juice (AED 16) for Mark and Pomegranate Juice (AED 16) for me.
Overall dining experience is okay—service is efficient, staff is well-versed of the menu, ambience somehow brought us back to Manila, and food was decent, but factoring in the quality and serving size of the food against the price, it's a bit of a stretch in the budget.
Near Al Fahidi Metro Station
Al Hamriya, Dubai
United Arab Emirates
+971 (0)4 397 5350
We paid for our meal on our visit to China Town. This blog post is not influenced nor paid for. Opinions on this blog post are my own.