You Have To Visit This Chinese Restaurant Housed In An 1896 Dorm In Chinatown

    Dalhousie, Kolkata

    What Makes It Awesome

    Sei Vui in Kolkata’s old Chinatown (Tirretti Bazar) is located in an atmospheric red brick structure dating back to 1896 which used to be a dormitory for the people of China’s Sei Vui village who came to Calcutta looking for jobs under the British. Most of the people who came were not too well off. The compact dorm was their shelter with an attached temple in the front and their own club. In 1908, the place was bought by members of the club. There were 19 families then, most left for better prospects elsewhere. Now there are only four left. The building wasn’t in a great condition and had to be restored {the cost was paid by the families of the members headed by the secretary, Mr James and the president, Mr Chen}. The restaurant is in the rear portion, which used to be the bachelor’s quarters.

    Hidden in the bylanes of Tiretti Bazaar, this one stands showing off its uniqueness with the name of the restaurant written in Chinese on a wooden plaque which used to be a part of the old temple door. Mr Chen supervised the interiors which has handpainted walls with each brick differently done up. In case you want to have a private meal with the squad, you can book the small room on the right with a grand painting of the Great Wall.

    Their head chef here was with the legendary Big Boss restaurant and Asia House and is now rustling up Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes here. You must start with the Vietnamese salad – it’s like a flavour bomb made with Thai sweet chilli sauce, basil, coriander and kafir lime leaves. For the main course, try the Hokein noodles which is Mr James’ fave, a fusion of hakka and Cantonese noodles. The Chinese like their noodles to be thick, long and slurrpy and, this ticked all those boxes. They have the usual dishes like Lat Me Kei Chicken, and those lemon and garlic gravy-based Chinese dishes which are popular with most Kolkata people. And these are all very affordable in the INR 180 to 300 range.

    We suggest you get a bit adventurous and try the unusual stuff here. Like the excellent range of squid dishes. If you like lamb, do try the Neua Kae Gra Tiem which has strong flavours of black pepper and dark soy sauce with basil and fresh red chillies. The fragrant and filling khow suey and laksa, the meaty sui mai and the delicious crab in Singapore sauce and hakka-stuffed tofu with your choice of meat are all must-haves. They do a range of desserts including Toffee Banana With Ice Cream and  Orange Basil Daarsan with vanilla ice cream.

    What Could Be Better

    We really can't think of anything to fault in this atmospheric joint.

    Pro Tip

    Do not forget to check out the super-intricate carvings on the wooden furniture in the temple. 

      Dalhousie, Kolkata