Kochi gets a new Chinese destination from veterans
Chiyang, one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in Kerala gets a spanking new space
It definitely arouses curiosity when you hear that, Chiyang, has spruced up its menu. Having impressed gourmands for well over three decades with their Indo-Chinese specialties like chilli beef, they recently opened a new outlet on SA Road which sprawls across 3,000 sq ft (spread out over two floors). The building housing the 130-cover restaurant—is designed to resemble an ancient Chinese abode, complete with sweeping roofs—stands out in the modern locale.
As I meet up with co-owner Tomy Thomas and walk into the dim glow of the chandelier with regional inscriptions, he explains, “We were very particular about doing the place up in authentic Chinese decor, so we visited the city of Guangzhou and handpicked the furnishings including the wall art, dining tables and soft walls.”
Wok the talk
The luncheon begins with a serving of mildly flavoursome shrimp noodle soup. Next to arrive at my table is one of their new menu additions, beef hunan, which Tomy says he encountered on his recent trip to the neighbouring country. The wine infused stir-fried beef topped with scrambled eggs makes for a good starter. Their roasted Cantonese chicken—one of the few dishes with a gravy base on their spread—with its strong smack of garlic is apetising when consumed alongside Chiyang’s fiery chicken noodles.
Giving me a sneak peek into Kochi’s culinary history, the 43-year-old explains, “My father, E K Antony, started Chiyang in 1980 after he got acquainted with Oriental cuisine through friends. People hardly went out to dine back then, but via our large serving portions and unique flavours, we slowly found our space in Kochi’s culinary outings.”
Since the much-anticipated honey and pepper pork is yet to arrive, we ask the owner about the secret behind his success. “Authentic Beijing cuisine is not appetising for Kochiites. So we adapted everything to suit the Malayali palate. Though we stay away from Indian masalas, we do use ingredients like Western-celery, and also spice the dishes up a little bit,” says the restaurateur. Finally, I’m served a piquant Schezwan fried rice, which is the perfect accompaniment for their signature albeit slightly charred honey-glazed pork serving. The complete lack of a dessert menu (caramel pudding doesn’t count) is one of the disappointing things about dining here. However, their honey-infused passion fruit drink is a good option to end my meal.
Meal for two from `350 onwards.