Delhi loves Chinese food, the countless Chinese take-out vans on the streets are proof. Not just the streets, even the gourmet fare of the capital is dominated by a legion of restaurants claiming to serve the most authentic fare in town. And while it is tough to pin the best in business, we certainly cannot imagine a list without ‘The House of Ming’. Situated at the lobby level of Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, The House of Ming is one of Delhi’s oldest Chinese fine-dining destinations. Built in the year 1978, The House of Ming has consistently delighted it patrons with a mix of dishes inspired from four distinctive regions of China, the Northern or Mandarin, Shanghai or the eastern coastal region, Sichuan from the west, and Canton from southern China.  

The House of Ming prides itself in serving authentic and exquisite Chinese fare with a touch of class, which has, inarguably helped the restaurant hold its own despite stiff competition. The restaurant is still serving many of their delicacies from the original menu of 1978, along with iconic dishes that have made their mark in the following years. Here’s our take on what’s worth and what’s not.  

The Ambience:

Before we jump on to food, it would be a crime not to discuss the ambience of the restaurant which was designed keeping in mind the elegance of Imperial China. The precise wood work and the regal carpeting accentuates the oriental appeal of the restaurant. The most tasteful addition has to be the upturned, traditional Chinese-style roof over a few selected tables, all of which is done in wood. The tables covered in crisp white linens and the neat, geometric carvings on the chairs deserve equal praise as the cool colour tone of the restaurant, mostly dominated with pastel hues like beige, mint and golden. The restaurant is slated to go under renovation soon, and hence it is exciting to see what would be retained and the new elements that would be added.

The Food

Now on to the part you have been eagerly waiting for. The cooking styles at the House of Ming is heavily influenced from the Cantonese and Sichuan style of cooking, since they can be considered as two of the most defining styles of Chinese cooking. While the Sichuan style involves all things hot and fiery, the Cantonese delves with more light and subtle flavours.

Dimsums  

We started out with a range of dimsums, the super juicy, Steamed Chicken and Prawn Siu Mai was followed by very impressive Prawn Har Gau. We suggest you reserve extra space for the Char Siu Bao. These mammoth-sized dimsums that actually seem like big white, steamed buns with juicy, red, pork filling are so worth the calories.  

Among veg dumplings, the Assorted mushrooms, Cheese Dumpling, hit the spot with its creamy and generous filling. The Pan-seared Mix Vegetable Dimsums are ideal for those who find steamed dimsums too monotonous.  

Starters

For us, the highlight among the starters would be the Butterfly Prawns. ‘Butterflying’ prawns is a technique where you slit prawns lengthwise and curl both the edges upwards. The House of Ming serves these prawns in a perfectly smooth, sweet-chilli sauce with toasted sesame seeds.  

Another perfectly pleasant starter to try here would be the Chicken Tai-Chin. Tossed in sauce made with goodness of garlic, chilli peppers and spring onions, the dry chicken appetiser may look very spicy, but it is not as hot as you think.

The Beijing-Style Crispy Lamb screams pure indulgence. Drop your cutlery and chew into this batter-coated yummy delight with all your heart

Among vegetarian starters, the Crispy Spinach with Almond Flakes ranks way above the Crispy Broccoli, Butter Chili Oyster Sauce which we found to be a little lacklustre in comparison. The former is an enticing appetizer made with finely chopped spinach leaves that are first washed and dried and then tossed in with garlic and smoky spices. The almonds added the much-needed crunch. The leaves are so incredibly crispy they do not stick to each other.  You can actually seperate the leaves on your plate using your cutlery. 

Mains

Moving on to mains, do not miss the Stir-Fried Pakchoy. What looks like a simple salad like dish packs a lot of juicy flavour and crunch. This brings us to another 'simple-looking' dish Chengdu Chicken. Diced chicken tossed in classic chilly vinegar and soy-based sauce, while there is nothing ground-breaking about the dish, it still makes for a satisfying treat with golden Garlic Fried Rice (that also comes with juicy prawn chunks). Or, you can simply pair it with Hakka noodles.  The Tofu Curry in chilli sauce would be an apt choice for those craving something spicy and wholesome.

Dessert

For desserts, we’ll recommend the delicate Date Pancake, make with crispy, deep fried rice flour, stuffed with silky date mince. Folded and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This dessert hinges on contrast of textures and subtle sweet flavour- an absolute winner.  

Where: House of Ming, The Taj Mahal, Mansingh Road New Delhi

Cost For Two: INR 6500