Every other restaurant has a Chinese menu, and nobody’s complaining. Why would anybody? As Hyderabadis, we love Chinese food; authentic and otherwise. As Indians, we love Chinese food, which is how it spread round the country from Assam and West Bengal in the first place. Our love for Chinese food, however, shows most in the hordes and disorderly queues we form at Chinese food bandis – the roadside food stalls that seem to do the Chinese fare business best.
Says foodie and CA student P Hrishikesh, “I have food at ‘authentic’ Chinese restaurants, some of them being expensive diners such as the Aromas of China. Sure, that’s an experience worth having, with soothing Chinese classical music playing in the background and chopsticks being given to you for the real feel of it. But, when I really crave Chinese food, I invariably head to a roadside stall.”
So, what is it that makes the ‘unhygienic bandi’ click? “It must be the localisation of Chinese food. While the authentic food is sumptuous, the Indian version is spicy and tasty. The level of spice and salt our roadside stalls add to the dishes just make them irresistible,” says Taruni Vishal, a web entrepreneur.
But isn’t the food unhygienic? “Of course, it is. It has given me a bad stomach several times. And when I say several times, it implies that I keep going back anyway!” laughs Taruni.
MBA grad and ex-Googler Anjali Sharma says her craving for the roadside Chinese fare may be more frequent than is considered normal. But, who is to decide what is normal? “I think about it every day, and go for it at least twice a week,” she tries to suppress her guilty laughter. And what does she like best? “Noodles!” is the immediate, excited reply.
And you, Hrishikesh; what about you?
“Chicken 65, Chicken Manchuria, and, of course, noodles.”