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Restaurants & Bars 18

Manchow – Bombay-Chinese, devon ave.

zim | Mar 3, 200311:03 AM

Sunday afternoon, we decide to check out this fairly new devon outpost of a “Bombay Chinese” spot with locations in Hoffman Estates and Atlanta. (these are named "hot wok village". My mom loves “Gobi Manchurian” – cauliflower in an Indian concocted semi-chinese garlicky dark sauce (it is on every Chinese menu in India and when good can be very very good. If you are interested in the story of Indian-Chinese and hakka emigration to India, take a look at the website attached and scroll further down the page to an earlier discussion of Indian Chinese). It’s across the street from the north water/fresh farms market

Anyway, they’ve put a fair amount of money in redecorating the place and its fairly attractive, but they seems like they can’t decide if it’s a take-out shop or a sitdown place. Ordering is at the counter, food is brought to the tables, plastic plates and cutlery is on a side table against a wall, and food is served in take-out containers, but brought to the table – this leads to some degree of confusion, especially as our server was hard to communicate with in English or in hindi.

I was a little hampered by the fact that I was with 2 vegetarians and 2 kids, so I couldn’t order some of the more spicy meat dishes, and here spicy does mean spicy

Anyway we got a string bean with black garlic sauce, Gobi Manchurian, hakka noodles with shrimp, and baby corn bhazzia (ordered without spice) and shrimp pakora for appetizers.

The hakka noodles were takeout shop lomein with a few obviously frozen bag’o shrimp shrimp in there, not great

The black garlic sauce (there’s also a “hot black garlic sauce”) on the string beans was very similar to garlic sauce you might find in “eggplant with garlic sauce” in most Chinese restaurants – I’ve also seen this sauce in cookbooks noted as “fish flavor sauce” or even translated as “strange flavor sauce” despite that, a fairly standard but decently tasty dish.

The gobi Manchurian was a big disappointment to my mom, she noted that in India the sauce is usually darker (maybe with black bean?) and that the cauliflower hadn’t been dusted with corn starch and deep fried before saucing, so it didn’t have the crispness she really looks for in the dish, I thought the sauce was pretty similar to the garlic sauce on the string beans except for the inclusion of cilantro which made it a little nicer for me, and pretty tasty

The appetizers were really the best things of what we ordered

The baby corn bhazzia (think tempura) were much better than I expected – I had ordered these as something for the 5 year old, but there were very lightly floured with a corn starch coating mixed with a few Indian spices (I think ajwain/lovage and cumin) crunchy and without the obvious canned taste baby corn usually has – I would be very happy trying these in their default spicy version.

The shrimp pakora was by far my favorite – fritters of minced shrimp and chickpea flour with quite a bit of minced green chilies and spices served with a little dipping sauce container of I think a lot of minced green chilies (I think of the “finger-hot” variety) vinegar and a fair amount of sugar that came together well and was very good with the shrimp pakora.

Oh, we also had a veg. corn soup that was pretty bland but not bad when you threw in a good bit of that dipping sauce I mentioned.

On the whole, I’d love to go back and concentrate on the spicy stuff, as it is, it was good and I’d go back but it’s not something I’d crave

2629 W. Devon Ave.
Chicago, Il 60659


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