I have been a regular visitor to Tangra , Kolkata’s Chinatown for a quarter of a century. My favorite eatery in those days was Kim Ling opened in the early 1990’s by Monica Liu , “The Queen of Tangra” as she has been dubbed. This formidable lady is a true ode to “woman power” and is someone who I greatly respect and admire. Today her “culinary kingdom” consists of five restaurants all extremely successful and serving up the famed “Tangra Chinese Cuisine” that the City of Joy is known for … yes Kolkata’s love affair with Chinese food carries on unabated.
Beijing was opened up almost a decade after Kim Ling. I love the food they serve and I visit fairly often. The service is prompt, the food is fresh and hot and the green chili sauce to die for … it’s literally the only time I voluntarily eat spicy fare.
I thoroughly enjoy the starters here and often opt for Starters and Soup for my meal. I love the Thai Soup and recommend it …. lovely bold flavors…so very good in the monsoon and winter months. During the muggy summers I reckon a beer would be a better bet! The starters I like are Fried Chicken Wantons , Spring Chicken , Crispy Chili Baby Corn , Drums of Heaven , Honey Chicken and the unbelievable Chili Garlic Crab Claws which is my must order dish but beware it’s not always available.
If you do have place for the Main course and I confess I often don’t, there are two dishes that I will recommend. The Meifoon (Rice Noodles …. Slightly thinner than the regular Hakka Noodles we order) and during winter or on a rainy day the Cantonese Rice which is basically steamed rice with a delicious Cantonese gravy of fresh vegetables and your choice of protein (if your non-vegetarian)… its absolute soul food. Good choices to accompany the above are Chilli Chicken, Chilli Garlic Prawn, Pepper Prawn, Lemon Chicken, or Peking Fish. For the vegetarians the Manchurian or Stir Fried Vegetables are your best bet.
End this feast down with their Tutti Frutti which balances all the spice and stagger home content and satiated. There are also a couple of other options for dessert available but I usually stick with ice-cream. With barely a couple of thousand Chinese left in Tangra (many migrated after they were forced to shut down their Tanneries and shift to Bantala) there are now rows of restaurants that have come up as an alternate family business in Tangra but Monica Liu and Kimling and Beijing will always hold a special place in my heart.