For a foodie to reach pure chinese (not oriental) foodgasm, welcome to Eau Chew- arguably Kolkata’s oldest operating Haka-Cantonese styled Chinese Food Joint.
“Direction and Timing”
As soon as you enter Ganesh Chandra Avenue from Central Avenue- Ganesh Chandra Avenue crossing and heading towards B B D Bag, after around 3-4 minutes of work, there will be an old-car parking space and a closed petrol pump on your left. Behind that, lies an old building (clearly out of its best days) with a board- Eau Chew…. Welcome !!!
Timing:- 1130 AM- 230 PM and 630 PM – 10 PM
“Interior and Decor”
Interior is nothing to boast about- you get an AC environment with comfortable chairs and an extremely hospitable host- the Huang family.
Eau Chew means “Europe” in Chinese. The founders of this place opened it up when there was an European thriving in this area and hence the name. The current patrons – Mr. Joel Huang and Ms. Doren Huang are the fourth generation of the family tree running the place. Still, the entire food is cooked by the family members and only the mise-en-place is done by cooks/ helpers. Hence, you can be rest assured about the food quality.
On the table, they serve you with the standard condiments, the only difference being the Soy Sauce. Its unlike something we normally come across in restaurants. The soy sauce here is salty, spicy and having a typical character of its own.
We asked Ms. Huang to guide us about the menu that she would like us to take and the journey started with Chimney Soup.
Now, this chimney soup is almost a staple diet is china among all class of people. Charcoal is put inside the strange shaped pot and half-cooked soup is poured in it and the while thing is put on the table. As the discussion on the table grew wilder, the soup would get its true flavor getting cooked to perfection on the table. Nowadays, as Joel Huang said, due to fire license problem and time constraint the “cooking on the table” ritual has come down to getting the full-cooked-soup in the soup pot and serving it. The chimney soup is a full-meal in itself and consists of egg drop, vegetables, chicken, fish cubes, prawn and pork and one small portion is sufficient for 3-4 adults. The taste-its nothing like ever tasted before- the subtle taste of the ingredients- perfectly blended together creates the magic.
the next starter was “pork and prawn stuffed Sui Mai“. Now, Sui Mai, in layman’s language means dumpling. Its kind of the seamed dumpling with little crispy exterior (don’t know how they achieved it via steaming) and juicy, succulent interior. Its to be had with the spicy red chutney provided with it.
Next came one of their signature dishes “the Josephine Noodles“. This dish, as Joel said, is invented by Josephine Huang- the third generation Huangs in Kolkata. Its basically a huge pot of pan-fried noodles with lots of toppings (chicken, fish, prawn, vegetables, black mushroom to name a few). One dish is sufficient for 2-3 people. And it tastes just like heaven. We’ve tasted gravy noodles a number of times- everywhere, but this dish with pan fried noodles was mind-blowing.
Along with it came a full army of gastronomically brilliance…. As follows:
First one was Fish with chilly black bean. This is kinda dry dish with lots of chilly and a version of rajmah. And, the fish used was pure sweet water Bekti. This one was the showstopper among the side-dishes. The smoky flavor of the black beans gave this dish a distinct edge over the others. To good.
The next one was chicken in wine sauce. This is cooked using smoked boneless chicken chunks in chinese red-wine. This dish has a love-me or leave-me kinda attitude. Either you’ll fall in love with it or won’t like it. My wife didn’t like it while went well with me.
And their signature item- Dry Roast Chilly Pork. lean meat, rugged-no nonsense looks, lots of chilly and pure foodgasm….
You can check Joel Huang preparing the dish here
And , we were almost full, while the final dish arrived- the Schezwan prawn. Unlike what we’re used to, this one was not of reddish color, nor it contained lots of garlic but was flavored with schezan peeper and was extremely good. Prawns were of best quality and this went extremely well with steamed rice.
After all, this, we’re almost on the verge of food-explosion and happily full. The pocket pinch was nominal…. a final thanksgiving to Joel and Doren and off we leave.
Points to remember:-
- They do outdoor caterings – pure Chinese food at a nominal cost
- For a group of around 10-12 people, they present a set menu consisting of 12-15 dishes at the restaurant at a very nominal cost (around 500/- per head, might slightly vary)
- Suckling pig, Whole picking Duck etc are available on prior request and a token advance
- It’s as far as my knowledge goes, still a cash-only restaurant
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