Mainland China, one of India's most popular Asian eateries, recently swung open the doors to a spinoff restaurant in the Burjuman. Asia Kitchen by Mainland China is a quaint yet bustling eatery dishing out quintessential Asian flavors from all over the continent. Catering to a range of preferences, diners can journey from Thailand to Japan with its diverse menu.
Table bookings can be made at 04 293 8222.
Complimentary underground parking is available. There isn't a ticket system.
Greeting and seating
We were warmly welcomed by a front house hostess who swanned us through the bustling restaurant and seated us at a sun-kissed table beside the window.
Knowledge and service of the waiter
Ideal for lightening-fast lunch breaks, the food dashes out of the kitchen before you've put your menu down. This was particularly impressive since the restaurant was packed to the brim. Our waiter was slightly disorientated at first but rapidly found his bearings.
Lunch was a spread of pan-Asian classics: corn and water chestnut dumplings, smoked ducks rolls, steamed Chinese greens and tofu in a ginger sauce, General Tso's favorite chicken, date and coconut steamed dumplings and honey noodles with roasted almonds.
We were welcomed with a couple of amuse bouches – cucumber batonnets and a chili slaw akin to kimchi. The cooling strips of chilled cucumber offered necessary relief from the fierce burn of the piquant slaw. Our tastebuds were fired up and ready for the first course: corn and water chestnut dumplings, cottage cheese and sundried tomato bao buns and steamed duck rolls.
The dumplings were a chip off the old comfort food block. Soft, warm and pleasant without being punchy – they were served with a trio of essential sauces on the side (soy, green and red chili). I'd recommend generously showering your dumplings with these and a sprinkle of salt.
The cottage cheese and sundried tomato baos contrasted the dumplings. Exploding with electric flavors - it was an orchestra of vibrant hues, dramatic flavors and surprising textures. A harmonious waltz of soft meets crunchy meets crispy – it's the crown jewel on the appetizer menu.
A cornerstone on every Chinese table, the steamed duck rolls evoked distant memories of plucking fresh rolls out of a warm takeout container on a rainy day. The duck oozed with an intoxicating combination of sweet and savory flavors, with the added crunch of Asian slaw on the side.
Our main course was a humble spread of General Tso's favorite chicken and ginger-infused Chinese greens and tofu. An essential dish in every Chinese-American takeout box, General Tso's chicken does not have roots in China. The syrupy-sweet chicken dish is a product of the evolution of Chinese fast food in the United States. Asia Kitchen's interpretation of this dish is an example of further evolution – a dish renowned for its sweetness comes laced with heavy-handed chili here. A tall glass of water on the side is highly recommended for those who dare to order this dish.
Complimenting the blazing chicken, the steamed Chinese greens were refreshingly subtle. Doused in a traditional ginger dressing, the dish fares best when ordered alongside something else.
Dessert started with a glistening plate of honeyed noodles with vanilla ice cream. Influenced by its geographical neighbor, this quirky dessert is a fusion of Indo-Chinese flavors. A beloved summer dessert, it goes down a storm in Dubai's 30-degree winter. While served separately, a true dessert connoisseur knows to crown the crispy noodle nest with ice cream for maximum indulgence.
After recovering from a mini sugar coma, we hurtled into another one with the steamed coconut and date dumplings. A plate of four steamed dim sums arrived, pierced with date-syrup filled droppers. This delicious dish is best described as an Asian twist on protein balls.
Courtesy extended during the meal
Our server and the manager popped over to ensure we were enjoying our meal.
Asia Kitchen has a palpable beating pulse. The atmosphere was identical to an Asian street food market. Furious clouds of steam wafted out of the open kitchen as diners rubbed shoulders while hunched over piping hot bowls of fresh rice and noodles. The atmosphere was alive with enthusiastic chatter and the cacophony of pots and pans.
Our lunch for two amounted to a 244 dirham bill.
Overall, would you return?
Sure, if I was in Burjuman and needed a mid-shopping power up.
Open bao, smoked duck rolls, fish in a dragon chili sauce and the hot chocolate roll.