Kathmandu:

You will find it hidden in Thamel, and once you climb the stairs, you are in genuine China where Jo and Yang, a brother and sister team, preside over a restaurant that serves the most authentic and delicious Chinese cuisine in Kathmandu. Chinese Cate Town Restaurant, with Cate coming from ‘delicious’ in Chinese.

Even the peanuts - sharp and devilishly marinated and soft - seem to come from some exotic planet. You can’t stop at one, or even ten. The Chef, who has 30 years experience, wanders past to see that you are eating heartily and well.

Vicki, a Tibetan who serves at the speed of light, brings batter-coated mushroom where the mustiness comes through the batter and lingers on your tongue as Jo says, “Vicki likes the Dalai Lama and we know the Dalai Lama likes mushroom...”

Even as you get used to the taste and softness of the fungi, on comes a duck that is both soft and crisp, cut in thin strips with matching stripes of ginger that complement each other to give you a truly unbelievable taste and texture.

It is mysterious how in the middle of all this feasting, we ordered and got the most extraordinary chicken momo flavoured with herbs and condiments that tingled the tongue and were heightened by red hot sauce somewhere between bean sauce and curry, and were incredible.

It could have ruined our taste for the fish balls stuffed with shrimp and chicken and vegetable. I personally have never eaten something so varied, where one taste leads to a new flavour which then goes on to bliss...

But Vicki added to the evening with another dish, which was magical. You get it elsewhere, but at Cate’s it was “cateious”, which is unbelievable. It was shredded chicken, black beans, with a slight gravy and a touch of capsicum which turns the whole thing into a dream.

China is fortunate in having a number of different types of bamboo shoots. We were served some with cashewnuts. A most unusual dish that tasted fresh and had different tastes from nuttiness to bamboo shoot fruitiness. A meal at ‘Cate’ is an education.

There is a marvellous vegetable dish they do at ‘Cate’ which lives up to the word delicious. It is brinjals, capsicum, a little garlic and sauce and a light oil.

We tried a genuine pork dish with the little pork, a lot of noodles and Hoisin sauce which is red, hot and to be savoured. You get it in bottles today. But my New York Times Encyclopedia says it contains a variety of condiments from chilli to cumin to red pepper to tastiness.

When the Chinese serve tofu (beancurd), they are inadvertently paying homage to a Prince of old 7th century, who created tofu as a means of living forever. He didn’t, but he died old, content and happy whenever the Chinese offer tofu, one is also reminded of Confucius who demanded that his wife cut the meat, the tofu and the vegetables exactly right. This they do to a perfection at ‘Cate’.

My favourite is the patiently peeled skin of tofu mixed with greens, both matched in size. You get the soft of the skin and the crunch of the greens all at once, and you know the Confucius matching was right.

As you leave, there is a party from the Chinese Embassy laughing and joking and you wish you could stay. But you know you will be back. After all there are 200 dishes at Cate crying to be sampled. Contact Jo at 9841911888.