When it comes to choosing a good Chinese restaurant, I have only one simple rule. “Let the Dimsum be the judge.”
Anyone who knows me well would know that I am an ardent and unabashed lover of Chinese food, authentic and even localised for that matter. Royal China has been a family favourite restaurant for many years now and we were heart broken when the Bandra Branch closed down. However, where there’s a will, there is a way and where there’s delicious dimsum, Sanskaara will lay.
Alright then, enough with the chit chat, let me tell you why I rate Royal China amongst my top 5 Chinese restaurants in Mumbai. I’m also sharing my list of MUST HAVE’s. This list has been carefully curated and edited over the years and I assure you what you’re reading below is truly worth your time.
My meals at Royal China are always dominated by appetisers. There are so many delicious small plates to try that we end up focussing on mainly on the appetisers. The dimsums play a significant role in this. We keep our main course rather simple and usually order just one dish and rice. Given here are some of the appetisers you should blindly order on your visit.
Prawn and Chive
This dimsum is a juicy and meaty one with a distinct flavour of chopped chives. The prawns are perfectly cooked and are a great match with the Chive
Seafood Dumpling with Chilly Oil
Royal China is famous for its legendary chilly infused oil. It is so good that they even sell bottles of it separately. The seafood dumpling is mix of fish and prawn with a soft, thin, glutinous coating. The coating is minimalistic and compliments the filling beautifully. The dumplings are doused in spoonfuls of the famous Royal china chilly oil and they are unbelievably delicious.
Prawn Cheung Fun/Pork Cheung Fun
Cheung Fun is a large flat rice noodle made into a roll by adding filling to the centre. It is a common snack in China and I had lots of these on my visit to China last year. They are generally served with a sweet soy sauce and royal china has stuck to this tradition and serves a delicious Cheung Fun. The noodle coating in so delicate that is almost transparent and after trying all 3 variants, I can assure you that they are as good as the ones in China. The Pork Cheung fun has a soft sweet filling and the prawn has 2 options. The simple one consists of minimally cooked steamed prawns wrapped in a coating. The crispy prawn cheung fun is like an explosion of textures in your mouth. The crisp coating on the prawns and the soft, sticky noodle wrap are exquisite together.
Edamame and Truffle Dumpling
This is one of my favourite vegetarian dumplings. It consists of a smooth paste made of fresh edamame beans wrapped in their classic dimsum wrap. Edamame beans have become a major food trend recently and they’re good even when eaten steamed. The addition of truffle oil adds additional aroma and flavour to the dish.
Sticky Rice in lotus leaf with Chicken
This dish consists of two steamed parcels of sticky rice flavoured with aromatic chicken,mushrooms and vegetables. The rice is wrapped and steamed in a lotus leaf to add an additional dimension of flavour.
Seafood Lettuce Wrap/Vegetable Lettuce Wrap
This is one dish we order on every single visit to Royal China. I have never had this dish anywhere else in Mumbai and it is unique and delicious all the same. The dish consists of a seafood salad with cruchy vegetables and vermicelli served along with a plum sauce and fresh, crunchy lettuce leaves. The lettuce leaves are used as a wrapper on which you spread a spoonful of plum sauce and salad, this is then rolled and eaten like a burrito. Its unusual, quirky and fun!
Steamed Prawns with Garlic
The dish is as simple as the name is. It consists of some perfectly steamed prawns served in a sweet soy sauce topped with fried garlic. Perfect for people that like to keep it simple.
Char Siu Bao
If you’re a fan of steamed Chinese bread, this one is a sure winner for you. Pork is one of my favourite meats and the sweet, sticky pork filling inside the fresh, piping hot buns make the perfect appetiser. Ive had this in many restaurants across the city and I rate this the NUMBER ONE PORK BAO in Mumbai.
Without getting into too many details some of my other recommendations include Asparagus and Beef Rolls , Spare ribs in Black Bean sauce,Roast Pork Puff and Chicken and Shrimp sui mai.
Like I mentioned earlier, I always focus on my appetisers at royal china and keep the main simple. Here are some of the dishes we have always enjoyed.
Steamed Whole Fish in Soy Sauce
The dish is exactly what it promises, a large serve of fresh fish served in a delicate soy sauce with juliennes of ginger and minimal spicing. This dish keeps in tone with our ‘simple main course’ theory.
Prawns/Fish in Flaming Superior Sauce
If youre not one to believe in the above theory, this ones for you. This dish is a Royal China classic and is best known for its drama of being served in a flaming dish. The sauce itself is delicious. Flaming prawns and any rice dish are a good enough main course for a table of 2.
If youre not looking for 2 separate dishes, this one pot rice dish is the way to go. It consists of aromatic steamed rice topped with a saucy medley of meats and vegetables.The spices are mild and the dish is not spicy.
Steamed Chocolate Bao
This dessert is a unique take on the classic savoury baos. The steamed bread is filled with a decadent chocolate filling.
Chocolate Mud Cake
This is one of the very few dishes that I found below par in Royal China. For a restaurant of this calibre I definitely think the quality of cake needs working upon.
Honey Walnut Pie
This dessert too was a miss in my opinion. The plating looked a little shabby and the dessert itself was slightly oversweet and very average in my opinion.
Honey Noodles with Ice Cream/ Lychee with Ice Cream
For the desserts at Royal China I’d say stick to the classics. They do a very good job with their honey noodles and I have always enjoyed lychees with ice cream. If you like any of these options, you’re good to go.
To conclude I’d like to say that Royal China is one of the restaurants I mention to people when they ask me for recommendations off hand and unlike other restaurants I actually know most of their menu by heart. In fact I didn’t even need to refer to their Zomato menu whilst writing this. I hope these recommendations make your next Chinese meal a delight because it is definitely a heartfelt review.
Until then, Bon Appetite!
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