Great views with authentic : Chinese food
They had to make room for us at The China Mountain. and the Zhang Renwens the owner, Wagley the maitre’ de, and had to move potted plants to make space for our table. The
place was packed, and I thought the waiters were going to have to use the skateboard that a couple of kids were playing with.
From the huge menu, we ordered a tofu and mushroom dish which combined the hopes of an ancient Chinese Prince and the greed of an Egyptian Pharaoh. The Prince was in search of immortality and so created the bean curd or tofu. And the Pharaoh discovered he loved mushroom so much that he decreed only he could eat them. China Mountain’s tofu and mushroom mix made both of legends deliciously real. Two delicate flavours mingled together and the two textures were a delight. The tofu was soft, the mushrooms slightly chewy and the delicacy had to be tasted again and again so you got the subtlety.
At the next table, a huge delegation was standing up and sitting down toasting each other, the project they were undertaking — the food... It seemed good idea, all that exercise, after China Mountain’s inviting food.
China Mountains specialises in Sichuan food and they don’t use the words Chowmein, which is Mandrin Chinese (ch’ao mien) for fried noodles. But the Vegetable Fried Noodles (like the rose by any other name) was exceptional. The vegetables were slightly resistant to the bite and seemed to have imparted their many flavours to the noodles. In the mid 19th century, there were 25,000 Chinese working in American rail roads. They had their own cooks with them and ate foods that the American considered greatly exotic like dried bamboo shoots and dried mushrooms and cuttle fish. But the dish that all America went for was the Chowmein. And in China Mountain you understand exactly why. The noodles beneath the other flavours had a freshness about them you don’t generally get.
Wagley was busy with a high-powered Nepali ministerial gathering and we were helpfully served by Ramesh Thakuri who, when we ordered two small dishes of everything we wanted, suggested one dish each would be more than enough for Alexander and me. Sure enough each dish is so generous we wondered what the large portions were like.
The Mixed Vegetables and Mushrooms had a slight gravy to them and the surprise in the warm dish was cucumbers. They tasted delicious, served cooked amongst a bouquet of garden fresh greenery and more mushrooms. A French gourmet said, “the discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of man than discovery of a star” and according
to The New York Times Food Encyclopedia, better than a star was discovery by a French man of mushroom cultivation. The dried mushroom of the railway workers became home grown in the US in the 50’s when a gentleman called Jeno Paulucci (an Italian!) made Chinese food under the Chun King label available in supermarkets nationwide.
I fear I let down my vegetarian friends, including the owner of Ashoka in Bishal Bazaar who wants vegetarian reviews, by ordering a boneless chilli chicken which along with rest of the food was bliss. It was piquant and hot, and I suspect there was a touch of some Chinese spice like timur. It was the most unusually delicious chilli chicken I’ve eaten.
There’s something exceptional for every taste in the vast menu of China Mountain. Call The Royal Singhi Hotel at 4424191 and ask for the restaurant, which is right at the top. The views, a bonus, are spectacular.