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For authentic Chinese fayre, the new Manchurian is the only candidate

For authentic Chinese fayre, the new Manchurian is the only candidate

If the family behind Tayside's first ever dim sum restaurant were worried about its grand opening, they needn't have been.

For while it's true that there is no existing market for the niche Chinese fayre it serves, Tayside has clearly been wanting.

From 12noon until 10pm on the opening day of May 5 every table was full and the people kept coming. If they couldn't get a table, takeaway would have to do. The word on the street was that this mouth watering, expertly prepared dim sum had to be tasted to be believed. The exotic new aromas wafting up Gellatly Street only added to the hype.

And so, Manchurian restaurant rolled into town with the subtlety of a whirling Chinese dragon. The city has been hooked ever since. Two weeks in and the glowing Tripadvisor reviews are already stacking up.

Manchurian is the only east coast dim sum restaurant between Aberdeen and Kirkcaldy and is the latest venture by the Li family, who already own thriving sister restaurants in Aberdeen and Glasgow.

It's located in the adjoining building of the Matthew's Food oriental supermarket in the city centre.

  (STV)
via STV via STV

Coming from far and wide

Stella Li, 30, who manages the restaurant says her family were delighted with the response.

"The first day was very chaotic," she said.

"I think a lot of people had been waiting for us to open so they all came on the first day and we were absolutely full from start to finish. Things have settled a bit more now and the staff are into a good routine.

"We've been open for two weeks but we've already got a few regulars who come in every day for the dim sum. We've had people coming from Fife, Perth and Arbroath, all over really, because we're the only dim sum restaurant in Tayside.

"We even had some of our regulars from the Aberdeen restaurant come down to check it out and show their support so it's been a great start and the family are very happy."

Tradition is key

As well as a wide variety of dim sum, which Stella describes as "little Chinese delicacies which come in steamed bamboo baskets", Manchurian also specialises in yum cha.

This delicate Chinese tea is an integral part of any dim sum feast, says Stella.

"It's a Chinese tradition whenever families get together for dim sum that the Chinese tea is a must as well," she said.

"We do a more traditional, home cooking style Chinese menu. This is the kind of thing that Chinese people have when they go out. We do a modern Chinese menu too, with the Western style Chinese dishes such as sweet and sour, curries and black bean sauces."

The food

Manchurian is a real family affair and Stella works alongside her two sisters in the new outlet. Her father owns the restaurants and the masterchef who ensures that his high standards and authentic cooking methods are adhered to is her grandfather.

Additional to the able family team, they have flown in some specialist help for the new restaurant.

Stella said: "We flew in three chefs who have experience in Far East cuisine. One is a dim sum expert and one is a traditional Chinese cuisine expert."

Exotic dishes on offer include marinated cuttlefish, chilli oil pig ears, jellyfish and pig hock, vinaigrette chicken feet, baked lobster in Chinese broth, grilled turnip mousse dumpling and fisherman choi sum.

Mango pudding is the most popular dessert so far although the char siu puff pastry is also popular.

As well as sourcing the best when it comes to the kitchen, the Li family have spared no expense in the restaurant. Everything has been imported from the Far East, including the table ornaments, pictures and even the furniture, which was custom-made. Stella confirmed that the whole process of creating the restaurant has taken a year.

Sing to your heart's content

For those who want the full Chinese experience there is also a surprise waiting in one of the two function rooms available for hire.

Stella added: "Karaoke is a very popular hobby for Chinese people so we have a high quality sound system with karaoke machine and people can book out the room for a night for a private party."

If you want to follow the progress of Dundee's first ever dim sum restaurant then check out Manchurian's Facebook page.

It's open from noon every day except Wednesdays, when it's shut all day. The dim sum menu is only available until 4.30pm.

If you've already visited Manchurian and discovered a hidden gem on the menu then tweet us your recommendation and we'll share it on the stream. Get in touch @STVDundee or at our Facebook page.

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