Located in Banani, the high-end restaurant, Chows, is dedicated to serving the very best of Cantonese cuisine Dhaka has to offer. Owned by Mishal Karim and friends, the restaurant is themed in a fusion of traditional and contemporary Chinese designs that extends to two floors. It includes multi-purpose private dining rooms and lounges, as well as a second floor balcony that overlooks Gulshan Lake.
As soon as you enter, you will find yourself in the main dining area, a space that can accommodate up to fifty people and has double height ceilings allowing natural light to shine through. Once you sit down, you can scroll through their exquisite menu of authentic Cantonese dishes. Your food will be prepared by veteran head chef, Chowman who has over thirty years of experience cooking traditional Cantonese cuisine. For breakfast, chef Xu, who hails from the Guangdong region – the birth place of dim sum – will make you one of his dozens of classic breakfast variations. The noodles are made by the chefs every day to ensure that the customers get that authentic kick to all their food.
For lunch, you will find a good collection of dim sum that you can choose from. You can order the classic chicken dumpling, the BBQ chicken bao and many more. If you want to go vegan, the spicy mixed vegetable dumpling might just be right for you. The lunch menu also offers side dishes including the crunchy Chows’ spring rolls as well as the prawn toast.
You can also sit at the bar, kick back and enjoy their mocktail menu where they feature the Ming Mary which is Chows’ take on the Virgin Mary, using only Chinese ingredients. The menu also offers the Beijing Black, which is a blend of raspberries, orange, cinnamon and lime. Snacks that go along with these mocktails include the spring rolls and the prawn and cheese ball.
For dinner, definitely try out their Har Gow, a traditional Cantonese dumpling served in dim sum. The dumpling is often referred to as a shrimp bonnet and is transparent and smooth. The chefs at Chows have done a good job to make sure that shrimp is cooked well but not overcooked. You can take the wonton as your appetiser. These are cheesy sausage based filling in cups made from baked wonton wrappers. Generally this takes almost two days to prepare and needs to be stored in the refrigerator and assembled shortly before serving.
The beef with ho fun can be your dish of the night. The origin of this dish was at a restaurant in Guangzhou in 1938. At that time, the city was under curfew but a man with a notorious reputation demanded to be served. The chef, desperate, improvised this dish with ingredients he had in the kitchen and voila! Beef with ho fun became an instant hit and is now considered an essential part of the Cantonese cuisine.
If beef is not to your liking, you can go one step further and try the special roast Cantonese duck. This is traditional Peking Duck air-puffed, cured for two days, roasted in Chows’ specialty duck oven and seasoned in Chinese aromatic spices with a golden crispy skin served in its own juices. This is available on and off the bone with your choice of pancakes or bao along with plum sauce, cucumbers and spring onions. Also do not forget to try out the ‘Chinese Five Spice Chicken,’ which is a slow-roasted, whole chicken sliced on a bone in a Chinese five spice marinade.
The restaurant is currently open for lunch and dinner but is set to introduce Chai at Chows. You can enjoy a full afternoon tea experience with your choice of pastries and dim sums accompanied by an exotic range of Chinese teas and special blend coffees from North End. The private dining terrace is the ideal place for Cha at Chows and you will be able to enjoy the quietness that the special balcony offers as you take in the cool breeze.
Chows was custom built to accommodate events and private parties and offers food lovers a more refined taste of the authentic Cantonese cuisine. The restaurant struck the perfect balance in décor with the whole place looking really modern and polished yet feels as comfortable as a lounge.
The restaurant sources the freshest local ingredients and also directly imports special ingredients from China to bring you the ultimate subtle and flavourful dining experience. So if you are looking to spoil yourself this week with some new tastes, definitely visit Chows. You can try out a number of dishes that you will definitely like if you are looking for that authentic taste but it will be the dim sums that will definitely steal the show and make you go back for more!
By Naveed Naushad
Photo courtesy: Chows