Nepali Times
Dragon Chinese Restaurant



While strolling down Pokhara's Lakeside avenue, I chanced upon a little joint serving authentic Chinese cuisine. There are abundant dining options along this lane, but most of them offer the usual, a little bit of everything with an emphasis on 'continental' cuisine. Even so, we were attracted by the bright red lamps and the de rigueur reddish décor at Dragon because its flamboyance and luridness stood out from the rest.

The place is very new and opened its doors less than two months ago. The good thing is that the staff was welcoming and eager to please. But the novelty wore off soon and it became apparent that staff here was still rusty in coordinating between the kitchen and dinner table. Although in retrospect, the misunderstanding must have come about due to communication breakdown between the Chinese chef and Nepali servers.

So why this full-blown Chinese restaurant in the middle of Lakeside? Like other restaurant owners, Ram Sharan Karki also assumed that Chinese food amounted to chow mein and Manchurain curries. However, after travelling to China and getting a taste of authentic Chinese flavours, he came to know his assumptions were ill-founded.

The unique flavours, the quality of cooking, and the variety of dishes coupled with the steady increase of Chinese tourists in Nepal convinced Karki and his business partner Pushkar Pathak to strike Chinese while the iron was hot. They took a local chef back home and thus Dragon Chinese Restaurant was born.

As a result of this conversation, carried out while waiting for the arrival our first delicacy, our expectations were very high. The Kung Pao Pork (Rs 380), a spicy dish of stir-fried pork with chili and peanuts, is sharp and piquant, and was a tasty start to our meal. We decided to forego other starters and jumped straight into the Mao Cai – the Sichuan style hot pot (whose price is decided by the amount of extras you want to include).

The larger tables at Dragon have a big round hole at the centre in order to set the big Mao Cai bowl with two compartments on the stove below. One part of our bowl had a red broth bubbling away, while the other side contained a light cream filled with vegetables. Platters of meat, tofu, mushrooms, fish and vegetables were then placed around the bowl. Dunking these tidbits into the flavoured broth, waiting for them to be cooked, and then pouring out ladlefuls of steaming soup on warm rice made for a most enjoyable meal, best had leisurely in large company.

We didn't know how fulfilling Mao Cai would be, and had also ordered the deep fried cat fish (Rs 480) just in case. Crispy on the outside and dipped in a tangy sauce, the fish was delectable and worth returning to Pokhara for second helpings. Later, they served us complimentary jasmine tea like at a true Chinese diner.

So if you happen to be in Pokhara, do enter the Dragon.

1. burn and cauldron bubble
the bittergourd with pork is awesome...
probably one of the best kept secrets of where to find good authentic chinese [ non indian/calcutta]food , now stands exposed.
i hope the plastic flowers and kitsch red decor keeps the crowds away

2. Aga Nyima
East or West, Dhal bhaat is best! Be local eat local, which is healthy and hygienic. Chinese food might taste good, it is because of the MSD, they use in every cooking, MSD = mono sodium glutamate, an artificial taste which is very harmful to our intestines, which could cause colon cancer and dementia too. Medical research proved that by making thorough research on the mono sodium glutamate. Beware of Chinese food, better eat local and support local, why Chinese??? Nepali haru, Act smart now!

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)