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South Asian in Hong Kong and Shenzhen

 2017-07-03    ThomasIronmonk    Food    Hong Kong    1278  

A lot of attention is given over to Western Expats and their relationship with locals in the Pearl River Delta region. But what about the South Asians – the Indians, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis and Nepalese that make South China home? After all, China is a major trading partner with the great civilizations south of the Himalayas, drawing many businessmen and women to its manufacturing heartlands.

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Additionally, Britain’s colonial legacy in Hong Kong has drawn merchants, restaurateurs, tailors, and hustlers from the old Empire, lured to set-up shop by opportunities only to be found in Asia’s Manhattan. The result is a heady cross-cultural mix, sometimes dominating whole neighborhoods. And these “Little Indias” make their communities known via a plethora of excellent Indian restaurants. So to get your fix of curry, poppadoms, masala tea and saffron-imbued rice you’ll need to take note of the following areas and eateries.

Chungking Mansions

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Photo Source: VICE

Anyone who has sought budget accommodation in the SAR has inevitably stayed in Chungking Mansions. This chaotic high-rise in the middle of Tsim Sha Tsui is home to a thousand mini guesthouses, cafeterias, and shops hawking everything from bags to electronic to DVDs. This is also South Asian ground zero in the territory. A place heaving with hustlers hawking copy watches to a Bollywood soundtrack. The place is also festooned with eateries. Smrat Pure Vegetarian – a quaint little place tucked away on the fifth floor, Khyber Pass Mess Club on the seventh floor plus a hefty choice of onion bhaji and samosa stalls on the ground floor, make this the place to go for Indian cuisine fiends on a budget in Kowloon. 

The Great Indian Kebab Factory 

Located on Wellington Place in Central, with a view of the Fringe Club below, this fancy restaurant is perfectly located to relieve that yearning for South Asia fine foods. The sound of sizzling plates and the smell of blended spices inform the ambiance. But nothing prepares you for the a la carte menu with its elections of classic and new dishes to sample. A word from the wise: check out the Cocktail Samosa or the Punjabi Paneer Tika, which is made with real cottage cheese. You won’t be disappointed!

Chillie Garden Restaurant

If you find yourself over in North Point, this lovely Nepalese-run operation can be found tucked away down an arcade near some foot massage parlors. Not far from Fortress Hill, you can get a full set dinner for HKD115, a rare deal on Hong Kong Island. The place is also surprisingly relaxed, offering a much-needed respite for the clamor of Hong Kong’s daily grind.

Shenzhen Indian

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North of the border, Indian food isn’t quite as ubiquitous as it is in Hong Kong but its still possible to sniff out an excellent madras or a fiery biryani. First head to Luohu, where most South Asians make their home. The finest lunch deal can be found just off Renmin Nan Lu at TAJ Indian, a Muslim corner shop café with a to-die-for meat or vegetarian lunch. Also Renmin Nan Lu, just opposite Guomao, Bollywood Café is a classic evening venue, with beautiful views of the cityscape and world-class service.

Over in Futian, the number one Indian eatery is, in fact, another Nepalese venture. Little India, located below the Coco Park bar street, offers classic dishes from Nepal and India and is thus popular with the expat set that makes the neighborhood home. The owner also has restaurants in Nanshan and elsewhere in South China and appears to develop something of a chain.

The old international hub of Shekou is also an Indian food hotspot. Spice Circle, Kabir’s and Bombay Indian can all be found around the Seaworld area, offering a delightful alternative to the burger and pizza joints that otherwise festoon the neighborhood. 

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