Kathmandu, July 24/ With more tourists coming to Nepal from its northern neighbour every year, many Chinese restaurants have popped up around the city. Most of them are in Thamel, an area which has now become a hub even for Chinese tourists. These restaurants aren’t only popular among the Chinese, but are also famous among Nepalis who have developed a keen taste for food from the Middle Kingdom.
To experience why Chinese eateries are so famous, I head to Zhong Hua restaurant located in Thamel. The restaurant was opened in 2014 by Xiaobing who came to Nepal in 2013. After seeing a sudden rise in the number of Chinese tourists, he felt opening a Chinese restaurant was a no-brainer. To add to that, he also has a hotel which he runs on the floors above the restaurant.
The ambience of the place is quite pleasant with soft music playing in the background. The name of the restaurant translates to ‘China’ and it befits the place. The restaurant has an extensive menu with most items imported from abroad. The reason for that, Xiaobing says, is that the quality of products available in the market here in Nepal isn’t up to the standard.
Unaware of what to order, I asked Xiaobing for help and he selected three dishes that have been well received by the patrons. To start with, we were brought out the okra salad accompanied by wasabi sauce. The boiled okra went quite well with the wasabi sauce which gave a pungent feel. The peppery taste gave the okra some flavours which made for a pretty good starter.
As we finished the okra salad, the staff started bringing out the mains. We would be having chicken chilly and twice-cooked pork accompanied by a bowl of rice. The chicken chilly was different from the ones I’d had before. Most chicken chillies are in a gravy form with the tomato gravy dominating the chicken but here it was dry and it tasted different. The dish can also work as a starter if you have a large group and it will also go well with a glass of beer or wine.
The twice-cooked pork was amazing. It was spicy and full of flavours–a dish that is made for the Nepali taste bud. The pork was juicy tender and went extremely well with the rice dish presented by the staff. Cooked with green onions, the pork had a distinct flavour which was delicious–a reason why I would recommend this.
Apart from this, the restaurant also has a wide range of seafood options which Xiaobing says is well received by both Nepalis and tourists. Chinese people really like their soup and from what I hear the soups here are pretty good too.
What I also liked was the way the restaurant takes its order. I was given a tablet which had the entire menu from which I could pick and choose what to order. It was like ordering something from Amazon or Ebay.
Overall, the restaurant is worth a visit. It may be a little costly than some of the restaurants around the Jhyata area, but the quality on offer is better. Apart from a few restaurants in 5-star hotels, not much can match up to the service provided by Zhong Hua.
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