Thursday, October 21, 2021 | Rabi' al-awwal 14, 1443 H
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A meander into the streets of Zhongguo

The history of Chinese cuisine is peppered with variety and change. This art has been cultivated and refined over hundreds of years. Legend has it that the culture of Chinese cuisine originated in the 15th century BC during the Shang dynasty. Centuries on, the Chinese have discovered the health-giving properties of all sorts of roots, herbs, fungus and plants. They have taught the world that the nutritional value of vegetables is destroyed by over-cooking and in addition, have found that things with a great flavour can also have medicinal value.

Chinese cuisine as we now know it evolved gradually over time as new food sources and techniques were introduced, discovered, or invented. Today, the world over has its own versions of the cuisine that has been adapted to suit local palates. We decided to sample this global favourite at one of Oman’s oldest institutions - The Chinese Palace. As is on course with our meals, we ordered two appetisers, two mains and a dessert.

HE SAID: For our appetisers, we picked the chicken dumplings and vegetable spring rolls. The dumplings were served in a bamboo basket with rice vinegar. The dough around the filling was very thin and the chicken filling was juicy. On the other hand, the roll filling was overcooked which affected the overall texture of the roll.

SHE SAID: The chicken dumplings were what dreams are made of. I’ve never had dumplings served with vinegar. It definitely elevated the taste of the lush filling. The spring rolls were crisp but the filling had turned to mush. Disappointing.

HE SAID: For our main course we picked beef with kangkong and cabbage and mushrooms. The beef with kangkong had thin strips of beef and kangkong leaves (some people call it morning glory) cooked to perfection in soy sauce. No wonder it was the first main that disappeared from our table. The cabbage and mushrooms were not less, crispy and nicely done, it was enhanced by natural flavours including the salty minced garlic. As a side, we ordered the Singapore fried rice as a change. To be honest, I did not like it as it was overpowered by the turmeric taste.

SHE SAID: Our mains were excellent. The beef was melt in the mouth soft and the bite of the kangkong (water spinach) enhanced the flavour of the dish. Our second main was a simple dish of cabbage and mushrooms tossed in soy and garlic with Mirin. A light appetising dish. We asked for a portion of Singapore fried rice on the side that turned out to be a letdown. The extremely strong flavours of turmeric marred the lightness that fried rice generally has.

HE SAID: For dessert, we had fried ice cream, a ball of ice cream covered by a thin layer of dough and coconut powder. It was a remarkable experience as the dough was hot and fluffy and the ice cream was cold and creamy.

SHE SAID: Coconut covered ice cream. What’s not to like? This dish may not look great but it really was a sweet treat that was not cloying or overpowering.

WE SAID: Good food doesn’t have an address, sometimes small restaurants can be on point with an A-game. We’ve had the chance to visit fine dining restaurants however this place had the higher hand for food quality, taste and value for money. Will we go back? That’s a yes from us!


Ambience: 3/5

Taste of food: 4/5

Presentation: 2/5

Service: 3/5

Value for money: 5/5

Disclaimer: The ORR team reviews anonymously and pays for their own meals.

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