Indian Chinese Food, Yes, You Heard Me

Since I knew we were going to be roaming around in new jersey, I remembered this little tidbit in the back of my brain from years back. Indian chinese food. In new jersey. So I reached out to my friends who had told me about this and finally tracked a place down. So on our way home from Mitsuwa, we stopped for dinner at Ming. So before my friends ever told me about this phenomenon, I had no idea that indian chinese food existed. What is it? It’s chinese food with indian influence. They love chinese food too! And there’s a number of these types of restaurants in Edison.
It’s kind of a fancy place. But not snooty. Next door is a proper indian restaurant. Let’s just say that H/A and I were the only non-indian people in the whole place. They give you some pickled cabbage… which I loved!
I had no interest in an appetizer, but of course, H/A went ahead and ordered a random one. Crispy lamb “beijing style”. It was supposed to be crispy fried lamb tossed with shredded carrots, bamboo shoots, and green peppers in a sweet and spicy flavoring. They forgot to say that it also includes giant heaping strips of ginger. EEK. I like ginger as flavor, but I don’t like to bite into it as a main ingredient. And you couldn’t differentiate the bamboo shoots from the ginger. It was terrible. The sauce itself was great. But too bad you couldn’t get over the hunks of ginger. The lamb was thin fried strips, so you couldn’t really taste lamb. You just tasted crunchy batter. Mark my words. I’m not going to let H/A order any appetizers in the future without my approval. If I knew he was going to order one, I would have certainly picked a different one.
So here’s my biggest gripe of the evening. Rice didn’t come with your meal. And a bowl of jasmine rice cost $6. Yeah, seriously. Do they not know that you can get a giant 10 lb bag of jasmine rice for $5? And they were charging me $6 for a bowl of rice? Grrr… I’ve been to places where you have to order a side of rice (e.g. banana leaf), but the price was ridiculous. But how can you eat chinese entrees without rice? It would be illegal!
The chili chicken hakka style. There were a lot of dishes on this menu that was prepared in this hakka style. What is hakka style? I still have no idea. We asked, but the server did a terrible job explaining. Apparently, Hakka is a type of people in China, but when you are talking about hakka style food, especially in an indian chinese restaurant, it really bears no resemblance to actual hakka style cuisine. In any case, this hakka style chicken was really good, savory and sweet. With a kick. And we asked for it less spicy. But man, it still had a really strong afterkick of spice. Whoa.
We also got the eggplant with paneer in spicy hoisin sauce. Now here is a dish that is obviously a mix of chinese and indian. You can’t name one actual chinese dish that would ever have cheese in it. Yet this one did. It was typical eggplant, but instead of being stuffed with shrimp or something, it was stuffed with cheese. And then there was a spicy hoisin sauce on top. Again, this one was deceptively spicy! It was such a strange dish, but I liked it. I like paneer type dishes in indian food, so that probably helped.

All in all, this was a really interesting meal. I’m definitely glad I tried it. Would I want to try it again? Well, I wouldn’t go out of my way to have it, but if it was available, then yes. But this place was also quite expensive, especially for chinese food, so perhaps if there was a cheaper alternative. And if there was one that gave you rice with your darn entrees.

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