Do you know what makes Indian cabbage sellers happy? The Indian version of Chinese food that’s available on Mumbai streets. Like one restaurant suggests, we love our Chindian Fusion and for chindi prices, we strive to keep the many ‘legacies’ and ‘delicacies’ of china alive, and the innovation we’ve come up with to do just that remains unparalleled. As much as we enjoy delicately wrapped dimsums at the Royal Chinas of the world, there’s something cathartic about dousing some cheap hakka noodles in so much misspelled ‘shezuan’ sauce we won’t know what we’re eating anymore, or stuffing it all into a frankie along with some bhel. Say what you will about Chinese-Indian street flavours, all we know is that it tastes delicious and always hits the spot.
So even as we apologise to the apparent father of chinese cuisine, Peng Zu, who lived till he was 800 years old, and we raise our Chinese thalis as Sudarshan Chakras in his honour, we all have the same thought running through our minds--may our ‘fusion’ Chinese food live as long as he did. Here’s a complete guide to the very best of cheap Chinese food across the city that really isn’t Chinese at all.
I. Burnt Garlic Rice at 5 Spice [any branch]
As the name might suggest, the cuisine at each branch of this chain has more delicious and intermingling spices than you bargained for. Each dish delivers on the curry and sauciness of Indian food, while bringing Chinese elements in every bite. Famous for its portions and thus revered for its value for money, any order is perfect to split by two. And no trip to this restaurant is complete without trying their Burnt Garlic Rice, with crispy fried slices of garlic topping a steam pot of wildly flavoursome rice.
Cost: Sharing is the name of the game at Rs 285, sufficient for two
II. Fish Chilli Noodles (Gravy) at Babu Chinese
Where: 872, Subhedar Nagar, A.G Khan Raod, Worli, Mumbai
When you are done correcting their spelling of ‘Shwezuan’ sauce, their Fish Chilli Noodles with juicy fillets of the freshest catch is a spicy sauce and fresh noodles. The chef here claims to have worked for five star hotels, and now operates his roadside eatery opposite the Worli medical store. Their dishes are as creatively named as they are delicious, with the Fish Mind Blowing Rice and Prawn Mind Blowing Noodles.
Cost: A wholesome meal at Rs 190
III. Shredded Chilli Pork at Bamboo Garden
Where: 3/4, IC Colony, Main Road, Borivali West, Mumbai
One of the best parts about dining at the Bamboo Garden is the warmth of its owners, who will always ask you if you liked the preparation and even alter it to your liking. Bringing in the perfect fusion of Indian and Chinese cuisines, they even serve a mouth-watering Chinese Biryani--don’t knock it until you try it. For all meat lovers, the Shredded Chilli Pork is a must have, with succulent chunks of fresh pork is cooked to perfect and spiced with onions chillis, served dry.
Cost: Meat cravings satisfied at Rs 160
IV. Namkin Rice at China Land
Where: 2 & 3, Senapati Bapat Marg, Near Keval Industrial Estate, Lower Parel West
The Namkin Rice, not to be confused with typical salty namkeen rice, is a gorgeous blend of flavours, spices, herbs and vegetables in a pipping hot pot of rice, topped off with the distinct flavour of crispy onions. And don’t forget to follow it up with the sizzling brownie for dessert, adorned with a thick chocolate sauce.
Cost: Wild flavours at Rs 230
V. Crispy Thread Chicken at Chinese & Grill
Where: 122/132, Barkat Manzil, Near Minara Mazjid, Mohammed Ali Road, CST
Chinese & Grill is always spilling with patrons looking to grab a taste of the scrumptious Chinese delicacies, so if you’re made to wait for the table, remember that it’s definitely worth the wait. Red decor paints the walls of this joint, where every meat dish is like a gift from the Gods. The Crispy Thread Chicken is exactly as delicious as it sounds, served best with chutney on the side.
Cost: Deep fried perfection at Rs 310
VI. Prawn Black Pepper at Delicacy of China
Where: Adarsh Nagar, Andheri West
Called ‘DOC’ by regulars, this restaurant tucked away in Andheri West is a local favourite for all budget-friendly Chinese lovers. Bright yellow and green plastic plates carry generous portions of the typical ‘Indian Chinese’ cuisine, with an array of sauces on the side. Give their Prawn Black Pepper a try and we promise to hold tissues while you weep MSG tears.
Cost: A local’s choice at Rs 200
VII. Chicken Hunan or Chicken Devil at Discovery Restaurant
This decade-old beloved food joint is small, quaint, and full of its regular patrons. Creativity floods their menu as wild dishes with exotic flavours feature in every order. We suggest you taste the saucy and succulent Chicken Hunan, and for vegetarians, the Peanut and Flat Noodles is the dish to try. And the best part is that they’re seriously wallet-friendly, perfect for college student budgets.
Cost: Make the deal with the devil at Rs 215
VIII. Chicken Oyster Chilli Pan Fried Noodles at Golden Wok
Golden Wok’s Chicken Oyster Chilli Pan Fried Noodles are a bit hard to say in one breath, but once you get the order out, they’re worth it. The salty and delicious oyster chilli sauce drenched pieces of soft chicken, tossed with crispy pan friend noodles, served hot with sauces on the side.
Cost: Chinese chicken Heaven at Rs 300
IX. Meal Of The Day at Go Panda
Served in earthern pots, each dish looks authentically spiced, with an intoxicating aroma constantly flooding this eatery. Go Panda is all about culinary experimentation, where typical delights such as chicken sandwiches and Sloppy Joes are served with a Chinese twist. Their Meal of the Day travels the whole Asian continent on each new day of the calendar, so there’s always something new in store for you.
Cost: All around Asia at Rs 165 (Veg), Rs 175 (Non Veg)
X. Chicken Hot Garlic at Hearsch
Where: Hill Road (Bandra West)
There’s not a single Bandra story that is complete without the mention of Hearsch Bakery. This famous household name is tucked into a quaint spot next to Holy Family Hospital, with patrons lining up to order and sitting under the large tree outside to devour their delicious meals. Lollipops, sandwiches, samosas, rolls, wraps and patties are the popular must-haves, and if you’re looking at a more wholesome meal, the Chicken Hot Garlic is as scrumptious as the name promises. And don’t forget to grab some of their freshly baked breads on the side.
Cost: Rs 130 at one of Bandra’s local gems.
XI. Chicken Triple Rice/Noodles with Schezwan at International Student Hotel
Students across South Bombay have long enjoyed the cheap treats served at I.S.H. for years. The canteen located inside this student hotel boasts a range of food items of both Indian and Chinese cuisines, and the vegetarian selection is a regular favourite. The easy-on-your-wallet Chicken Triple is topped with a delicious orange Schezwan gravy, and the portions are so wholesome, they’re almost like a meal-and-a-half.
Cost: Value for money at Rs. 80
XII. Chinese Bhel Frankie at Jai Hind College
More than lectures being an incentive, this canteen’s hot-off-the-fire sandwiches and frankies get the students pouring in. Each new day, the college eatery is flooding with patrons looking for a taste of the many, many multi-cuisine budget-friendly offerings. This joint’s famous Chinese Bhel Frankie, a Jai Hind creation, entails just the right amount of crunchiness makes the perfect fried noodles, topped with cabbage, onion, complete with the perfect Schezwan sauce.
Cost: Rs 30 (You will also need a college ID, a festival, or a friend inside to get in)
XXIII. Crispy Chicken at Janata Lunch Home
Where: Pali Naka (Bandra West)
This popular Bandra dive bar is always overflowing with college students and young professionals looking for a wallet-friendly spot to unwind after a long day. While cold drinks adorn your table, order a plate of the crunchy, scrumptious Crispy Chicken dish to line your stomach--trust us, you will need it.
Cost: Drinking accompaniments at Rs 225
XIV. Spare Pork Ribs J.K Style at Jim-me’s Kitchen
Where: Hill Road, Bandra West
Jim-me’s might seem a tad expensive, but for a true Chinese food-lover, it’s definitely worth it. This 21-year-old cash-only eatery is famous for its spare rib preparation that the place’s owner swears by. Fans of the Spare Pork Ribs J.K Style pile in from across the city for a taste of the sweet-styled meat.
Cost: Go piggy chopping at Rs 330
XV. Spicy Lime Flavoured Noodles with Chicken at King Chilli Chindian Fusion
Where: Santacruz East
Just the name of this eatery is enough to call out the ‘Chindian’ in all of us. With good will and praise travelling by word of mouth from Kalina to Santacruz east, this restaurant was Mid-Day featured as the ‘Best-Value’ spot. Order the Spicy Lime flavoured Noodles with Chicken and consider your pilgrimage to this ‘Chindian’ haven complete.
Cost: Easy on the wallet at Rs 175
XVI. Mushroom Fried Rice at Lalit
Situated in the lane next to Kyani & Co near Marine Lines station, Lalit’s cheap-and-cheerful Chinese dishes are a favourite amongst student regulars and young professional patrons. You will have your selection of the AC and Non AC dining areas to enjoy the steaming hot Mushroom Fried Rice, best paired with a Manchurian curry.
Cost: It’s a great deal at Rs 105
XVII. Chicken Schezwan Kepsa at Lucky
Where: Junction Of SV Road & Hill Road, Hill Road, Bandra West
While most Bandra locals use Lucky as a landmark, it’s so much more. Monumental to Mumbai’s food culture, this age-old institution was started by Sayed Ali Akbarul Huseini in 1938. Nothing screams Indo-chinese like the Kepsa, where Chicken Schezwan Rice is topped with a freshly roasted Chicken Tandoori.
Cost: Forget Biryani for a second at Rs 350 (Half plate)
XVIII. Sherpa Chicken Rice at Lakeside Chinese Corner
Where: Vashi, Navi Mumbai
This lakeside eatery’s fusion take on Chinese cuisine intermingling with Indian is a divine experiment for all foodies. The Sherpa Chicken Rice is a mouth-watering mix of chicken fried rice, a fried egg, a tandoori roti and multi-coloured sauces, so dig in and devour that culinary innovation.
Cost: Food experiments at Rs 160
XIX. Chicken Manchow Soup at Mafco Farm Fair
Where: Breach Candy, Near Indian Oil Petrol Pump
While this joint is well-known for its sheesha, one of the few hukka providers in the city, food-lovers know it for its cheap and tasty, wholesome meals. The warm, thick and delicious Chicken Manchow Soup makes for the perfect comfort food.
Cost: Warm comfort in a bowl at Rs 85
XX. Beef Red Chilli Dry at PJs
Where: SAISA Gymkhana, St. Anthony’s Institute, 33rd Road, Pali Hill, Bandra West
While you don’t need a member to enter this Gymkhanna, they do follow regular club rules, so leave the shorts and slippers at home. The appeal of this popular Bandra spot is the affordable prices, so satisfy your meat cravings with the well-done and spicy Beef Red Chilli Dry, and wash it down with a chilled drink.
Cost: Shell out Rs 195 for that melt-in-your-mouth meat
XXI. Veg Manchurian and Schezwan Fried Rice at Raju Chinese
Where: Inside HR college, Churchgate
New caterers may have just taken over HR College’s Raju Chinese counter, but the food is just as delicious as ever. The Veg Manchurian and Schezwan Fried Rice recipe has remained untouched for years, mostly because it’s absolutely perfect. And if you need confirmation on that, just ask any of the students flocking to Raju’s stall for platefuls of his offerings.
Cost: College nostalgia at Rs 200
XXII. Chicken Hakka Noodles with Egg on Top at Ravi Cuisine
Where: Moves from MMK College to Pali Hill after 7pm
This popular suburb stall is called by many names, from Ravi Cuisine to Ravi Rice and Ravi Anna, but the delicious food is all the same. Many a college student with a grumbling stomach and light wallet has stumbled to this cheap Chinese joint for a quick and filling meal, but be warned--this roadside grub isn’t for the weak-stomached. The must-try fresh and hot Chinese Hakka Noodles are tossed with chopped vegetables, served with an egg on top, and best mixed with their special spicy red sauce.
Cost: Roadside meals at Rs 170
XXIII. Lollipop Gravy at Sagar Chinese
Where: 10th Road, J.V.P.D.
For Mumbai’s night crawlers hunting for a late-night bite, welcome to Sagar Chinese. What looks like a shabby roadside eatery will surprise you with wildly flavoursome, steaming hot lollipops and tikkas. Located near Amitabh Bachchan’s famous bungalow in Juhu, this street-eat spot is always crowded with drive-in patrons looking for a quick bite to eat, so join the culinary fan-club.
Cost: Delicious food and a possible celebrity sighting at Rs 160
XXIV. Sahibaan Special Chicken or Chinese Thali at Sahibaan
Where: Turner Road, Opp Axis Bank, Bandra
Made with honey, chilli and garlic paste, the chef at this Bandra outlet adds his secret ingredient to make the Sahibaan chicken just a little more special. And if you’ve never seen a Chinese Thali before, don’t worry, it’s all part of this restaurant’s wondrous culinary innovation.
Cost: Special, special food at Rs 265
XXV. Chicken Manchurian Roll at Sigdi
Where: Off Waterfield Road, Bandra West
While this much-loved Bandra place’s shutters come down at 1 am, their takeaway and deliveries run till 6 am for all late-night munchies requirement. This spot might be popular for its kebabs and tandoori meals, but the lesser known gem is their Indian take on Chinese Manchurian, packaged in a perfect, light roll.
Cost: Available all night long at Rs 180
XXVI. Wantons Chicken Fried at Stomach
If there has ever been a shining star in the history of cheap Indian Chinese food, it’s Bandra’s age-old restaurant Stomach. Known for their long waiting lines and economical prices, this food haven’s must-try is the delicious Wantons Chicken Fried, served piping hot and golden with a selection of sauces.
Cost: Don’t count calories at Rs 150
XXVII. Crabmeat Fried Rice at The Peking Tom
Enjoy The Peking Tom’s unbelievably soft and juicy crab meat cooked in traditional Chinese style with fried rice, and watch the latest IPL match on their giant outdoor screen. Their Happy Hours last longer on Saturdays, so mark your calendars for this weekend.
Cost: For fresh crab meat, it’s a steal at Rs 225
XXVIII. Chicken Chopper Rice and Dragon Rolls at The Tatus Nook
Known for quick deliveries and quiet dining, The Tatus Nook is perfect for hunger pangs with their large portions and delicious flavours. The fried dragon rolls are golden with perfection, served hot alongside the chicken copper rice.
Cost: Order up at Rs 160 and Rs 125 respectively
XXIX. Chicken Lollipop at Third House
For all after hours ordering, Third House should be on your speed dial. They remember never to ring your doorbell for post-midnight deliveries, keeping sleeping parents or pets in mind. An extensive menu greets you, complete with experimental dishes and generous servings. For this one, stick to the basics and get the Chicken Lollipops--you will not be sorry.
Cost: Rs 200 for a plate
XXX. Roast Chicken Chilli at Tiffin
Honest pricing complements the limited seating at the famous Tiffin in Bandra, where most of the orders are to-go. Each dish is accompanied by a heavenly aroma and delicious Chinese-style sauces, and you can’t go wrong with the Roast Chicken Chilli.
Cost: Loosen those purse strings at Rs 250
XXI. Kung Pao Potato at Wongs
A first look at Wongs spooky exteriors might give you second thoughts, but venture inside the eatery and you will be rewarded with Indian Chinese delicacies like no other. The melt-in-your-mouth Kung Pao Potato is light and fluffy, cooked to perfection, and will easily out-do freezer tater tots on any given day.
Cost: Little bites of potato Heaven at Rs 250
XXII. Chicken Fried Rice with Butter Chicken Gravy at Yummies
Where: Rizvi Complex, Rajan Road, Off Carter Road, Carter Road, Bandra West
Tucked away in a bylane just off Carter road, this roadside joint is on the lips of every student in the vicinity. Cheap prices and a delicious aroma greet you, along with a selection of seriously innovative Chinese dishes with an Indian twist. Regular ol’ chicken fried rice is a thing of the past unless you top it off with butter chicken gravy, and wash it down with a glass of their homemade lemonade.
Cost: You won’t stop at just one plate at Rs 180
Compiled By Homegrown Staff