My earliest memories of going out with my parents, to eat in a restaurant, are that of a Chinese place called Nanking in Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh. It belonged to Chinese family, so the food was as good as it got back then, using local ingredients.
The lunches and dinners at Nanking were the most anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed food experiences of my life back then. Not surprisingly, my love for Chinese food, that’s now extended to most cuisines from Asia, is alive and thriving. And if I ask my kids what they’d like to go out for, they’ll most certainly always say Chinese, or Japanese, or Korean.
Being regulars, and quite discerning about the authenticity of the Asian fare we indulge in, we avoid the “popular” restaurants and dishes, and ask for stuff that’s not on the restaurant’s menu, if the Chef or owner of the restaurant is from the country of the cuisine’s origin, especially China.
Despite adopting and consuming Chinese cuisine since time immemorial, it is rare to find very good (authentic tasting) Chinese food in India.
We’re a lot better when it comes to Thai, because the taste of Thai cuisine is more palatable for Indians, so there’s less messing around with it.
When it comes to Korean and Japanese, though, we’re seeing a lot of great restaurants cropping up all around us. And since their clientele is mainly expatriate and the well-travelled Indian, the food stays true to its origins in terms of ingredients and flavours, and is sure to delight the purist in every foodie!
That being said, here is my list of Top 5 restaurants for Asian food (and why) in Delhi NCR. Check it out!
#5. Big Wong – It opened a couple of years back with a small outlet in Galleria, and has now expanded to several across Gurgaon. The food is good, wholesome Chinese, bordering on Chinjabi. But still, it makes it into my list at number five. (get directions here)
#4. Rred Hot Cafe – The oldest Thai and other Asian food restaurant in Gurgaon, Rred Hot Cafe holds a special place in my heart, with my family and I having had many a delicious meal here. Originally known for its iconic Thai Red Curry and Thai Green Curry, Rred Hot today offers some delicious Thai, Malay and Indonesian dishes too. My current favourites here are the Chicken Dumpling with Rice Coat, Pandan Fish Parcel, and the Vietnamese Cari. (get directions here)
#3. Gung The Palace – The first well-known and popular Korean (for non Koreans) restaurant in the Delhi NCR, Gung is our family’s favourite Korean place. Gimbap, Barbecued Pork Belly, Bulgogi and Octopus Cassarole, and the stir fried Squid and Octopus, are what we love here. (get directions here)
#2. Raifu Tei – The newest of my favourite restaurants, Raifu Tei is hard to find, and the food is trickier to order because the menu is designed for Japanese speaking/reading people. But I love their Sashimi, Tempura, and Katsu Don – which are served typical Japanese style, with many accompaniments that can become a complete meal out of one mains order! (get directions here)
#1. Nanking – Interestingly, decades after my first tryst with Chinese food at Nanking in Secunderabad, AP (now in Telangana), my all time favourite Asian restaurant today is also called Nanking, albeit Baba Ling’s Nanking in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi!
Over the years, my order at Nanking has remained the same – Sugarcane Prawn, Char Siew Bao, and a whole, huge, fresh Crab, cooked with Singapore Chili sauce, and served with steamed rice and stir fried greens!
To me this is the meal I love the most in Delhi NCR, and I have to go back to the same menu, at least once in 3 months! (get directions here)
If you love Asian food, I highly recommend you try out the places in my list above!
Ps. You can check out a collection of the above and more great Asian food restaurants in the Delhi NCR here.