ChinaTown: Counting Memories Not Calories
Keziah Leena Peters recounts her experience of celebrating an anniversary dinner at ChinaTown. Their House Special Soup, Fried Calamari, and Kung Pao Chicken certainly won her over, and the ambiance and private seating were perfect for an intimate dinner.
In a Nutshell:
- Authentic Asian ambiance
- Perfect for intimate dinners
- Good food, perfect fresh-lime
- Book a private booth
- Best calamari in Lahore
- Family friendly
I walked into ChinaTown unsure of how the night would turn out. I had been planning this anniversary dinner for a month in the hopes of recreating the magic that Sean and I had experienced many years ago. As were being escorted to our reserved dining room, I wondered if it would turn out to be just another overrated place to eat with no real aura of enchantment. But all of that was about to change.
As soon as the hostess slid the doors open, I was enthralled by the beauty of the golden chandelier hanging from the ceiling. So much so that I hardly noticed the sunken kotatsu seating. We sat in front of a rust rubik embossed wall and rang the bell on our table when we were ready to order.
The menu had a vast variety of food items. There were around 8 different kinds of soups from which we ordered their House Special Soup which retailed for PKR 850. The appetizer section was mostly seafood based. It was hard to choose between Fried Calamari, Dynamite Shrimps, Dumplings, and Hunan Fried Wontons. We chose the Calamari. It retailed for PKR 890. There were what seemed to be endless options on the menu to pick the main course from. After ten minutes of going through the menu, we ordered Kung Pao Chicken, one of Chinatown’s specialties, which retails for PKR 790. We paired it with Jasmine Rice that was for PKR 400.
Even though I am not a huge fan of soups, I really enjoyed the Special Soup. Shrimp, chicken, and beef with an assortment of vegetables like mushrooms helped produce a bowl of sheer happiness. The fried calamari, which is fried squid, was served with a signature dip. According to my experience, it is a little difficult to find a restaurant in Lahore that serves good seafood, much less calamari. But these were light, crisp and perfectly golden brown.
Diced, marinated, stir-fried chicken with unsalted peanuts in a ‘special sauce’ and accompanied by jasmine rice, the Kung Pao Chicken was delicious and fulfilling. The light crunch from the peanuts coupled with the starchy red syrup sauce elevated the overall texture of the dish. It was sweet, a little sour and a bit spicy, but not too overwhelming for the taste buds. The rice was light and had a delicate fresh floral scent. It always blows my mind how just water and a little salt with rice can produce such a refreshing aroma. I was told that it is the cooking procedure that helps produce the pleasant smell. The fresh lime I was sipping on complimented the spice and heat of the main course really well. It was fizzy with just the right amount of lime juice. It is really surprising how even many high-end restaurants can’t perfect a fresh lime.
From the authentic Asian ambiance and delicious food to the efficient service, everything was impeccable. The menu prices are well worth the experience and comparable to many similar establishments in the city; the experience itself, however, is much superior. Chinatown is an ideal place for special occasions as well as for family dinners and committee party lunches. Towards the end of the night, it was clear that no other place could have made our dinner more memorable than ChinaTown. I left as a very full, very happy customer.
China Town, Gulberg, +9242 3575005