A couple of years ago, in Los Angeles, I met a chap who was crazy about Indian – Chinese food.
When he found out I lived in New Jersey, he exclaimed ” New Jersey ! You have one of the best Indian Chinese restaurants I’ve ever been to. ”
” Really,” I said ” what’s it’s name ?”
” Ming. Have you heard of it ?’
As a matter of fact, I had. Ming is located only a mile from where I live and I had eaten there a couple of times. I had not been impressed. As I have said in earlier posts, I’m not a big fan of Indian-Chinese food which usually is an unhappy marriage of the two cuisines and expensive to boot. Ming I felt served only average food at above average prices. Of course I didn’t tell my friend that.
Recently we were going out for lunch with another couple and decided to give Ming another try. Our experience did not cause me to change my opinion.
The first thing we noted was the menu offered not only Indian -Chinese but also Thai and Malaysian dishes with an Indian twist. As the Indian diaspora has become more sophisticated, it’s tastes have expanded to include other Asian cuisines as well. And indeed, Ming advertises itself as serving Pan Asian food.
We started out with two orders of coriander soup, one with chicken, one without. The menu says it is from Mainland Malaysia with golden mushrooms and coriander leaves in a lemon flavored broth. Whatever. It was too sour and had no body. For appetizers, we had the Sauteed Lotus Stem and the Drums of Heaven. The Lotus Stem (actually the root ) had been sliced and sauteed with onions and spices and tossed with honey. Not bad but I preferred the crispy version that I’ve had elsewhere. Drums of Heaven consists of chicken wings in which the meat has been pushed to one end before being coated with red chili and other spices and deep fried. It’s hot and spicy and a favorite of Indian diners. The Ming version was pretty good.
For main courses, we had Chicken Hakka style, Shredded Lamb in Szechwan Sauce, Eggplant in Szechwan Sauce and two orders of Yang Zhou Fried Rice. The chicken and the lamb were nothing special. Since most Hindus don’t eat beef and Muslims are proscribed from eating pork, Indian Chinese retaurants don’t serve these meats, only chicken or lamb. We often cook chicken at home so I order a lamb dish at such establishments. A mistake which I won’t make again since the lamb dishes are invariably not as good as those with chicken. The eggplant dish was good and the Fried Rice was excellent, better than I’ve had in quite awhile. At $13. 95 though, the portion sizefor the fried rice was skimpy. As at Moksha, another Mehtani Group retaurant, the plain rice was exorbitantly priced and I got the feeling that I was being gouged.
For desserts, we shared Date Pancakes with Ice Cream ( it’s the very good and the best appetizer on the menu ) and the Royal Thai Pudding ( Tapioca Pudding in milk topped with sliced almonds).
The check for the four of us came to almost $ 150 ( including gratuities). Ming is nicely appointed with widely spaced tables but I find the dimly lit interior rather dull. You can check it out and read the menu by going to
A word about the service. It was courteous and efficient, if not particularly enthuisastic. Waiters should remember that diners are there not just for the food. A little friendliness and a smile would make it a more pleasurable experience for diners and result in better tips for the wait staff.
Ming Far Eastern Cuisine ; 1665-185 Oaktree Road. Edison, NJ 08820. Phone ( 732) 549-5051.