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Click pic to view comments - Fortnightly face-off: Indian vs Chinese Fortnightly face-off: Indian vs Chinese
Posted: 22:29 Tue 04-05-2004.
Snackspot reports: Back after a brief Bank Holiday break, and something of a shocked silence greeted last time's survivalist suggestion on what foods you'd most like to live off in the event of total social collapse - though valuable testaments were provided regarding the long shelf-lives of "pre-decimalisation" little decorative silver balls for cakes and a 34 year-old bottle of Coke (which, together, could make an almost-indestructibly shiny, tooth-destroying post-apocalyptic cocktail). Moving on, this week's topic is inspired by the opening of a a Birmingham branch of upmarket Indian takeaway Tiffinbites (and the slightly less publicised closure of their shop in Soho's Wardour Street): What's your preferred rice-based takeaway option - Indian, or Chinese?

...Are you such a connoisseur that you even have your own favourites within Cantonese, Szechuan or different Indian cuisines? Do you have any explanation for the eternal symbiosis between pubs and the serving of Thai food? And have you ever had any success in creating a "fusion" of these two ever-popular British restaurant options, such as, I dunno, Sweet and Sour Vegetable Samosas?


Posted: 00:25 Wed 05-05-2004 by "charl" # permalink comment
Comment: when i was vegetarian, indian, now i am not, chinese.
Posted: 02:25 Wed 05-05-2004 by "Adrian" # permalink comment
Comment: Hmm, but what kind of Chinese food? The kind that Chinese people actually eat, or the kind you get in restaurants that mostly cater to Westerners? Cos there's a big difference. Often Chinese restaurants have two menus - the English one and the Chinese one and the dishes on each menu are completely different. So if it's just sweet and sour pork, lemon chicken, beef and black bean sauce and special fried rice on the menu, well, that's the crap stuff.

I'd much rather eat things like Cantonese roast duck, jellyfish, Ma Po Dou Fu (tofu hotpot), spareribs, snow pea leaves, lobster with ginger and noodles, and steamed fish. And if you're talking regional variation, dumplings from places like Shanghai are just amazing.

I wonder if the same happens with Indian food? Surely not everyone in India is eating Chicken Tikka, Rohan Josh and pappadams all the time.

Posted: 09:30 Wed 05-05-2004 by "CrazyGibbon"
(apparently posting from ) # permalink comment
Comment: Mmmm Chinese, Mmmmm Indian... I can't do it.. I can't choose between the two... Noooooooo... Please don't get rid of one!

I also think I've invented the ultimate take away meal (I have really cooked this. Although, I'm sure my methodology is not standard or traditional): Sweet and Sour Crispy Aromatic Duck Bhuna Masala


Posted: 09:52 Wed 05-05-2004 by "Zoe" # permalink comment
Comment: Ooo cant choose between the 2. sometimes sweet and sour chicken balls and rice is called for other times its chicken korma and rice. But i think chinese would win for me.
Posted: 10:51 Wed 05-05-2004 by "Diarmuid Mallon" # permalink comment
Comment: Adrian is on the money there, Chicken tikka being invented in the UK, and was recently exported to India - as all the tourists keep ask for it. Of course this is true for my foodstuffs... trying getting Singapore noodles in Singapore. No such thing (although Hong Kong noodles - without the gravy is fairly close). Or Danish Pastries in Denmark - where they're know as Belgium pastries)

Real chinese (not the stuff from takeaways or M&S) wins out for me: paper wrapped chicken (Union Farm, Singapore), chilli crab, chocolate spare ribs (Traders, Singapore), Dim Sum, Cuttlefish Balls and Noodles (Hong King), ... the list goes on. I was very fortunate that a girl friend's father was an architect who had designed a Chinese restaurant, and we would go there for amazing sunday lunches, and the food certainly was off-menu.

Posted: 11:45 Wed 05-05-2004 by "Daveybaby" # permalink comment
Comment: Thai is simply the best food on the planet. Fact*. AND its kinda like a cross between chinese and indian anyway... sort of... ish.

Weird how UK chinese and indian food bears almost no relation to their 'authentic' counterparts back home, yet thai food is pretty much a straight copy.

Anyhow, given a straight choice its usually chinese, as there's usually more variety available (ignoring authentic regional foods, which seems to me a bit like saying "i prefer steak tartare" in a McDonalds vs BK face off).


Posted: 11:53 Wed 05-05-2004 by "Daveybaby" # permalink comment
Comment: Oh... one thing that REALLY bugs me is the lack of fish curries available in indian restaurants over here. If fish (not prawn) curries were on the menu then indian might win out over chinese more often.

And someone dissed M&S curries somewhere up there... weirdly enough, M&S curries have more variety and are closer to 'traditional' indian food than you'll find in most indian restaurants in this country - they actually do quite a nice fish curry at the moment.

Posted: 12:09 Wed 05-05-2004 by "Diarmuid Mallon" # permalink comment
Comment: It wasn't a full on diss, and it was directed at Chinese food - just as you get very few great fish dishes in Indian takeaways here, you get very poor fish dishes in Chinese takeaways too. You also never see any vegetables (a tub of greasy bean sprouts, raw water chestnuts and a few peas doesn't count :-)
Posted: 12:19 Wed 05-05-2004 by "Avriel" # permalink comment
Comment: I was fortunate to be on the first British Warship to visit China since the second world war, and so attend a banquet held in our honour. Now I can verify with 100 % certainty that the food served that night is nothing like that which I get from my local chinese resteraunt. For example you don't find chicken feet, stuffed intestine and 3 snake wine (3 actual snakes coiled down in a bottle of green liquid) on the menu. Then again I did eat the food, which is more than can be said for the curries which I was offered in India, which after one mouthfull I was nearly vomitting. So give me English Chinese or Indian foods anyday out of which Chinese wins hands down
Posted: 14:08 Wed 05-05-2004 by Snackspot # permalink comment
Comment: best opening to a comment *ever*. (yup, even better than "as a busy mum of two...")
Posted: 14:22 Wed 05-05-2004 by "stoke newington takeaway" # permalink comment
Comment: You can get vodka with a real snake in it in Selfridges. We seem to eat Indian a lot more than Chinese at the moment, so I am yearning for the black bean and chili tofu of the New World takeaway in Deptford. The best one I've found in Stoke Newington is the Haikksun, but to be honest that's not much good.
Posted: 14:53 Wed 05-05-2004 by "AMoulder" # permalink comment
Comment: is anyone else disappointed with those "new cultural revolution" chinese restaurants they have round london? you expect all kind of spicy treats in a proper american sitcom-style carboard carton, but i always end up with a shallow bowl of boring soup
Posted: 21:12 Wed 05-05-2004 by "cokeco" # permalink comment
Comment: Being from Canada and now living in UK, I can say even N.American style Indian and Chinese is different. At least the UK versions are closer to the authentic thing. I would choose Chinese over Indian just for the Won Ton soup alone! Also why is it that men love Chinese food so much that they can eat it like twice a week?
Posted: 06:52 Thu 06-05-2004 by "Adrian" # permalink comment
Comment: In the "fusion" snack category, I know someone who created a roti toasted sandwich - she got leftover curry, cut the roti bread into squares and stuck them all in a toasted sandwich maker - it was very tasty.
Posted: 21:43 Thu 06-05-2004 by "Appletizzy" # permalink comment
Comment: There's a takeaway in Rishton, Lancs that does the ultimate takeaway for the undecided. Half a portion chips and half a portion of special fried rice with curry on top.
Posted: 00:46 Fri 07-05-2004 by "JD" # permalink comment
Comment: When it fist opened that TiffinBites place in Soho was fantastic - it went downhill though. sad to see it closed.
Posted: 17:53 Sat 08-05-2004 by "elmsyrup" # permalink comment
Comment: The King Balti here in Cardiff used to be- despite the name- a fantastic proposition, with indian and chinese and thai and japanese dishes all on the same menu, and ALL included in the Thursday buffet. Now it's become something else. But anyway, I think Indian is yummier here in the UK, better cooked. Chinese takeaways generally cannot cook vegetables, offering a nastily-flavoured, greasy chow mein as an example. And nor do they cook meat as well as they should. But I do a gorgeous stir fry at home.
Posted: 18:46 Sat 08-05-2004 by "John H" # permalink comment
Comment: Try the cauliflower pakoras (OK, "ghobi" just to prove I know the vernacular) at Leamington Spa's marvelous Five Rivers Indian restaurant, and you'll never ask silly questions like "is Chinese better than Indian" ever again.

Mind you, the Singapore Fried Rice at the Jumbo up the road is pretty damn good too.

Posted: 08:42 Fri 28-05-2004 by "K-Ga" # permalink comment
Comment: IS Chinese better than Indian? Thats one of the most stupidest questions ever. Chinese food is always greasy, full of sleazy oil floating around. Often half the dish is just oil. On the other hand Indian is actually daym TASTY and no where near as greasy as chinese. There is obviously NO COMPETITION
Posted: 13:32 Mon 31-05-2004 by "ianrdexter" # permalink comment
Comment: Having always previously been a Chinese takeaway man, I'd been inclined to put vegetable fried rice above samosas. However, having recently given in to a dhal craving and visited the Indian restaurant/takeaway around the corner, my attitude is on the verge of changing. Definitely agree with "Diarmuid Mallon" above about veggies in Chinese dishes (other than the rice) and their innate dodginess. Somewhere like the "New Gulshan" in Cambridge might have less obvious veggie choice, but things like the special vegetable curry are much higher quality for a similar price to Chinese takeaway fare.
Posted: 17:00 Thu 05-Aug-2004 by "Chinese" # permalink comment
Comment: Indian. Clearly.
Posted: 22:22 Thu 26-Aug-2004 by "tonguetasty" # permalink comment
Comment: 'Indian' cuisine that you lot experience is in fact Bangladeshi. Of course when you go India its not going to taste the same. 'Indian' dishes vary from country to country in asia. Anyway, I've seen the kitchen of an indian restaurant as well as a chinese one and can tell you that a chinese kitchen is far cleaner than an indian kitchen. Chinese dishes are also more varied. U get the western version and u get the authentic version. With Indian dishes u get a curry, all the dishes are made with the same curry base. In the restaurant they have this massive Vat of curry sauce and other things are added to each dish prepared. Anyway...Ive tasted authentic chinese and bangladeshi cuisine and TBH its a matter of what ur taste buds are longing for that day. HOME MADE far outweighs restaurant food ( although you can never deny urself a quarter of crispy aromatic duck ;) )
Posted: 18:31 Fri 27-Aug-2004 by "j" # permalink comment
Comment: obviously it completely depends what restaurant you go to - if you go to a cheap, shit restaurant, obviously the food will be greasy and rubbish. i'd say chinese for the huge variety, but top-end of either can be amazing.
Posted: 18:57 Thu 14-Oct-2004 by "Ky"
(apparently posting from cache-loh-ab03.proxy.aol.com) # permalink comment
Comment: Indian! Indian!
Posted: 23:44 Mon 08-Nov-2004 by "Looking for the good stuff....." # permalink comment
Comment: This is prehaps my last chance, I have been searching for a supply of curry sauce concentrate (chinese restaurant style) I've tried loads of different types, and none actualy taste like the stuff down the chinese. Dose anyone know where to get this or make it?? As chinese curry tastes the same almost nationwide there must be somewhere I can get a bucket of the stuff...
Posted: 23:50 Mon 08-Nov-2004 by "Looking for the good stuff....." # permalink comment
Comment: This is prehaps my last chance, I have been searching for a supply of curry sauce concentrate (chinese restaurant style) I've tried loads of different types, and none actualy taste like the stuff down the chinese. Dose anyone know where to get this or make it?? As chinese curry tastes the same almost nationwide there must be somewhere I can get a bucket of the stuff...
Posted: 21:03 Tue 09-Nov-2004 by "bevvy" # permalink comment
Comment: try wholesalers - that will be where the restaurants get it from, or ask in ur local...

i like both, but chinese wins most of the time. i live with two chinese friends who cook the real thing - about three separate dishes per meal, all different and with rice - i practically live on chinese food. plus when takeaway chinese is done properly it is really really nice even if its not authentic. indian - hmmm, not a huge fan - supermarket curries tend to be better than takeaways in my (albeit limited) experience.

Posted: 09:49 Wed 03-Aug-2005 by "Rob" # permalink comment
Comment: I know the purists abhor takeaway Chinese food as unauthentic and so on, but I like it, not in preference to authentic, but as tasty in its own right. But I've been trying to find out how to cook egg fried rice the way the local takeaway does it, because I like it! (Got the message yet?) But I can't find out how. All the books you can buy and all the websites you visit strive for authenticity, therefore don't taste like what I seek. I don't care what's in it - msg, cockroach droppings, whatever, I just wanna know!!!! rob.newmanx (at!) ntlworld.com
Posted: 14:48 Sat 20-Aug-2005 by "jason" # permalink comment
Comment: contact these to find your nearest stockest

Chadha Oriental Foods

Tel 01707 325888

Contact Caroline William

Or these will send you 12 tubs for £28.50 inc p+p

Keejays Ltd.

Crockatt Rd.

Lady Lane Ind. Est.




Posted: 20:03 Wed 21-Dec-2005 by "prakash" # permalink comment
Comment: What is shown as Indian in american indian restaurent captures < 5% (yes five percent) of what is really ate by indians. there are 18 distinct cultures (from language to food these cultures differs sharply), most of the "so-called" indian food availalbe here (usa), I have never had it in India (I swear). you guys shd try authentic kerala/Tamil (chettinad/thirunelveli) restaurent food. you will know what I mean. Also curry is not widely used in southern India.
Posted: 15:41 Fri 30-Dec-2005 by "Ray" # permalink comment
Comment: yes Keejays as mentioned, it is for authentic Chinese Curry Paste, Chinese stall at Bovingdon Market, HERTS, sell it for under £2 a tub.
Posted: 00:10 Thu 08-Jun-2006 by "Lou Gascon" # permalink comment
Comment: Hey you guys, dunno if you're still following this thread, but I had the pleasure of seeing my daughter married in Mauritius ~ Hey ~ Wow... Mauritius is made up of Indian Asian and Chinese asian and everything in between... And so, eating out is an absolute Eastern Delight... National Dish = the finest plate of noodles you could ever imagine and all topped by ~ wait for it... Authentic Creole on nites you don't fancy Asian... You want more...? Mauritius was a French colony, thus if you really wanna eat upmarket go mauritian French - this place is Nirvana

you gotta go...

I gotta go



Posted: 05:34 Wed 15-Nov-2006 by "Indian food kicks chinese any time" # permalink comment
Comment: All you eat in a chinese meal is oil. Whereas indian food is cooked with delicately blended spices and not just any curry out of the pot. Also whats unfortunate is the lacking of south indian cuisine in indian restaraunts in the west. It has a completely different taste ... especially the south indian breakfasts..... the menu is just so varied and authentic... wadas, idli sambars, masala dosas... etc. etc. etc. *mouth waters*
Posted: 08:27 Wed 15-Nov-2006 by "Rose" # permalink comment
Comment: Always thought I was a Chinese girl, as I don't like really hot food - it spoils the flavour. However, had vegetable samosas, onion bhajis and a mild lentil and vegetable curry last night and thought they were all scrumptious. I agree, Chinese can be a bit greasy. Indian is fast overtaking it in my opinion!
Posted: 17:47 Wed 15-Nov-2006 by "Marquez" # permalink comment
Comment: Indian food is dirty and overspiced

Chinese food is greasy and stinks

Mexican food and Italian food are REAL cuisine

Posted: 09:43 Thu 16-Nov-2006 by "Grumpy" # permalink comment
Comment: you can't get better than a nice chinese. where we go it's not greasy but nice and crispy, and cheaper than the local taj mahal, you also see them cooking so you don't get any unwanted added extras if you know what I mean
Posted: 21:36 Fri 17-Nov-2006 by "Marquez" # permalink comment
Comment: Nah chinese food is awful
Posted: 10:54 Sat 18-Nov-2006 by "Annie"
(apparently posting from 80-192-49-121.stb.ubr02.glen.blueyonder.co.uk) # permalink comment
Comment: Hi, I enjoy both and enjoy trying to cook both. I couldn't care less whether they were authentic or not, as long as they taste good. ^_^
Posted: 23:17 Wed 03-Jan-2007 by "Doom Squirrel" # permalink comment
Comment: I love all forms of asian cuisine, and actively cook Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Middle Eastern dishes. I can't say I prefer one or the other, but I tend to switch between them when I get bored with one.

I don't eat meat anymore (medical condition), but I do like seafood and have learned many seafood oriented dishes and others that employ tofu and wheat gluten. I especially enjoy Sa Cha Squid, which I've had at the local May House (the proprietors were shocked when I ordered it since very few non-Chinese order squid dishes). I avoid greasy Chinese or Indian food that is cooked in gallons of oil or ghee. My own dishes are light in oil and ghee content, and I rarely ever bread and fry anything. Much of my personal fare is of the more Westernized school, but I know real Chinese and Indian food and when I feel like it I can make it. I love Indian flat breads and I make my own chappati, and I also enjoy Chinese scallion pancakes served with my special Chinese styled quiche (red chili paste, diced green onion and Chinese pepper, and enhanced with basil and chives).

Posted: 10:58 Thu 04-Jan-2007 by "be" # permalink comment
Comment: getting carried away there arent ya!.....
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