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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Where to get Sambhar in China?

Indian Kitchen seems to be the answer. Indian Kitchen is a chain of desi restaurants located all across China. Financial Express has a story on Indian Kitchen’s strategy of targeting local Chinese instead of the usual strategy, which targets desis and expats.

When 25-year-old Munuswamy Gnanavelu landed on the shores of the Portuguese colony of Macao in 1978, he had little save HK$50 in his pocket, a yen for Bruce Lee movies and a hearty appetite for adventure. In the years that followed, his multiple avatars included being an English teacher, sweater knitter and manual labourer.

Today, twenty-seven years after he first left the aromatic environs of his parents’ wholesale spice shop in Chennai, Antony Munuswamy (as he is now known), rules over a sprawling empire of 22 Indian restaurants in 10 different Chinese provinces. Indian Kitchen, as the restaurant chain is called, is possibly the most recognisable Indian brand in China. Munuswamy started the first Indian Kitchen in 1990, in Macao.

This is noteworthy because although in India, Chinese food has long been a favourite, available even at roadside dhabas, Chinese have been more cautious in embracing Indian cuisine.


  • Authentic chinese food is supposed to stink..especially to an Indian. Else its not Chinese.

    The food u get in India is nowhere close to chinese food. Even places like Wangs Kitchen add so much of masala and spice their dishes up. Gobi Manchurian and Veg fried rice can be made in any way, but is still catagorized as chinese food..

    As some1 rightly said, T. Nagar is the best place in the world for Chinese food..Vanagam Ba..

    By Blogger Chennai chatter, at 12:33 PM  

  • hi kaps, but then chinese food, or the local version, is popular all over the world, isnt it? like the english language :)

    nice post.

    By Blogger Prerona, at 1:05 PM  

  • I don't think Chinese cuisine can cater to veggies well. Not much choice available !

    By Blogger Jayan, at 5:08 PM  

  • Never heard of this outlet. I dont think it is as popular as the article made them out to be. In eastern China the better Indian restaurants are run by Nepalese. In western China, its the Tibetans who have lived in India for a while.

    By Anonymous preetam rai, at 6:40 PM  

  • @Chennai Chatter,
    Agree with u. What we get in India is nowhere near to the real Chinese food. But the Chinese food we get in India has a huge fan following.

    That's the beauty of Chinese food......it can be customized to suit local tastes.

    Atleast the Indian offering has lot of veg dishes. Mock meat dishes are also quite popular. Some of the Chinese (who follow Buddhism) are vegetarian too.

    @Preetam Rai,
    Do try it out next time u visit one of these cities. The article might have exaggerated a bit.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 1:56 PM  

  • Hmm I know there are some people who like Tamil movies after Rajini's Muthu, never knew there are Indian restaurants too, and surprisingly it isnt a Mallu this time(they are usually the ones who are into hotel/restaurant business).

    A 25 year old landed 27 years before, surely something wrong ;-)


    By Blogger narayanan, at 3:18 PM  

  • ranganathan st. narayanan i guess failed his pre-school math...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:28 AM  

  • @Narayanan,
    He went to China 27 years ago. He must be 52 years old now. Hope this clarifies.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 12:49 PM  

  • Aargh..read it wrong :( thanks for correcting.


    By Blogger narayanan, at 7:14 AM  

  • Actually, the number of indian restaurents are on the way up in the past one year. Indian Kitchen is however my savior whenever im on buss.trip as they are in most locations in China. Anyway, math does not matter to me, what matters is hot masala dosa and masala chai, amidst dumplings and other unidentifiable objects classified as edible (Kart@Shanghai)

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