A meal of hot noodles and pork dishes at The China Bowl pleases RAHUL VERMA immensely

The other day, a friend was drooling over the thought of digging into a bowl of hot noodles. Not the kind that you get in the top Chinese restaurants in the city, but the chowmein that's sold in vans and small carts. You know what I am talking about — those wonderfully greasy, chilli and soya flavoured noodles, just off a hot pan. Chinese food is like that. It adapts beautifully to its surroundings.

You get the most artistically created dishes in the top fine-dining restaurants, and the take-it-as-it-is fare in street corners. And in the middle are the many small and popular Chinese restaurants that serve a wide range of delicious and wholesome food at very reasonable prices. The China Bowl is one such restaurant in the Delhi University area. I have often eaten its food because it is a particular favourite of our friends who live in Mall Road. Often, when we visit them, they order it from the restaurant. And I have always enjoyed their food because it is one of the few places where you get pork, and good pork at that.

Last week I visited the restaurant. If you move from SRCC to Miranda House, you'll find a traffic light at the Patel Chest Chowk. Turn left from there. Go over a small bridge on a nullah, and you'll hit Vijay Nagar. About 150 metres ahead on your left you'll find China Bowl — a neat little 38-cover place. The restaurant essentially caters to students from the North-East. The evening I was there, I found the place buzzing with life, with students poring over bowls of noodles, and some brave ones tackling their food with chopsticks. But I think I know why students from the North East like to gather there. I have a feeling that it's the pork that draws them.

I, for one, love pork. The pork pepper chilly –— nice and hot and full of melting fat — is out of this world. I can't have enough of the pork spare ribs, which are wonderfully juicy. I have also eaten their roast pork — cooked in Szechwan and Cantonese styles, and enjoyed it thoroughly. The prices are so reasonable that you can really indulge yourself at The China Bowl. Most pork dishes, for instance, are priced between Rs.125 and 135. Chicken dishes — and they have everything, from wings, to chicken honey chilli and lemon chicken are similarly priced. I haven't tried out their seafood, but the prices are as tempting as the description of the dishes. King prawns, cooked the way you want, with celery, oyster sauce, Szechwan, Mongolian, sweet and sour, hot garlic sauce and so on – are priced at Rs.335 and smaller prawns for Rs. 235. King fish is for Rs.175 and ebi tempura — deep-fried batter coated king prawn served with garlic sauce and vegetables — comes for Rs.265.

I have eaten momos of various kinds, and found the casing soft, and the filling light and appetizing. Not surprisingly, the pork momos have given me the greatest pleasure. I like all these small places that take such good care of our stomachs! They make me feel all's well with the world.

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