Friday, June 4, 2010

Ming Restaurants

1655-195 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ,

Driving down New Jersey Turnpike, one comes across a billboard—“Twitter with Verizon 3G”. A little over a decade ago, this message would have been incomprehensible to the viewer, yet today, decades of technology development has been merged together cheaply so that the end user, without a thought, can twitter on 3G at cents to the minute. In the same way, a decade and a half ago, the phrase Indo-Chinese cuisine, would have been incomprehensible here, but today most Indians in the metropolitan US have--within range of a quarter of a gas tank--access to a good Indo-Chinese restaurant. And this brings me, after a lengthy introduction, to Ming, a sparkle of a restaurant, in the heart of an Indian business district--on Oaktree Lane in Edison, New Jersey. There are two concentrations of Indian shops in the tri-state area—the first in Jackson Heights, Queens (see review of Kabab King), is populated by Bengali immigrants from Bangladesh; the second, in Edison, NJ is populated byWestern or North Indian immigrants.

As you enter Ming, there are photographs of the (presumably) proprietor of Ming with Bill Clinton and Anil Kapoor—proud symbols that an immigrant has arrived. And what better character to choose than Bill Clinton, whom Indians are in love with, and have rightly or wrongly, identified as a glutton for Indian cuisine.

Ming has a variety of Indo-Chinese staples. This is not what you would eat at a Chinese restaurant in India run by ethnic Chinese, rather it is the kind of food that an Indian would cook inspired by Chinese cuisine. The three most popular Chinese dishes in India used to be chicken sweet corn soup, chilli-chicken, and Hakka chow-mien. While the word Hakka delivers a certain heft and ring of authenticity, the food I understand has little bearing to food from the original Hakka speaking people who migrated to South Asia. The chilli-chicken at Ming’s tasted somewhat like an indianized version of General Tso’s chicken were the General allowed to run wild with Indian spices. The one, absolutely brilliant dish at Ming is the Coriander soup—one of the most delicious that we have tasted—built up with a vegetable soup stock, garnished with ginger, thickened with flour, and containing what appeared to be finely chopped slices of cucumber. The chow mien and the fried rice were fresh, and not excessively oily. The noodles were soft, with scrambled eggs mixed in, the way my mother used to make noodles. The table had the little bowl with pieces of chopped green chillies floating in vinegar, bringing in the instant recall to dimly lit Calcutta Chinese restaurants where you softly padded in from the din on the streets to the chill of their air-conditioners . This is the second time that we have visited Ming. It is not the best Indo Chinese food that I have had, but it is good food, definitely worth a visit. The place lacks a liquor license but they allow bringing in your own alcohol.


  1. Good Information. Thank you for sharing and I want to share information about Tandoori Chef which is An authentic North Indian, fine dining restaurant, Tandoori Chef offers Hackensack and the surrounding area a wonderful taste of Indian cuisine.

  2. Oak Tree road restaurant is famous for going for the shopping with friends. Almost 90% of stores are located in Oak Road, which covers the two cities, Iselin and Edison.