Chinese restaurant syndrome

I made the mistake of going Chinese at a regular restaurant last night, and I have had this “Chinese restaurant syndrome” for over a day now!

I love Chinese (better term is Indo-Chinese) dishes. Going by the popularity of Chinese restaurants around here, I am sure many do. Chungwah on Residency road and Rice Bowl on Lavelle Road are old favorites.

However, if you try Chinese at non-specialty or regular restaurants, I mean these ‘Sagar’ types (Sukh, Shanti etc), tell me if you notice a difference. The food, besides being a bit greasier, makes you feel a lot more drowsy and sleepy. The secret to that taste we love is MSG. And I suspect that these non-specialty restaurants take short cuts by going overboard with MSG. That may be why you feel so uneasy and drowsy after consuming their dishes.

However, despite the controversy around MSG in 1960s and 70s, the world seems to have come to the conclusion that there is no direct link between this glutamate and “Chinese restaurant syndrome”. Or MSG and cancer for that matter. Read “Is MSG a Serious Public Health Problem?”. Americans are still paranoid about it though, I learnt that firsthand after seeing “we don’t use MSG” signboards at so many restaurants there.

So if its not MSG, then wonder what it is about the Indo-Chinese food that makes many of us get that sick feeling. Or am I the only one?

4 Comments so far

  1. Nparry (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 1:18 am

    It could be the meat or the over-fried/refried oil used to cook so many things. That’s what happened to me once when I had food poisoning after eating here in Atlanta and the doctor said that was due to toxic cooking oil. Oil degrades after being used over and over at high temps. and eventually affects the food. That’s why I STAY AWAY from run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurants that pop every other day here in the States….Plus, the quality of some of the ingredients too might affect you. Those roadside bonda/pakoda friers in Gandhi Bazaar elsewhere somehow were able to make the smell so tantalizing even though very few would venture to eat’em. Must be the mixture of spices, BTS fumes, Auto soot and other assorted ingredients off the streets.


  2. Nparry (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 1:20 am

    Talking about fusion food, a fellow in Atlanta has come up with a fusion Indo-Chinese and the restaurant is called HotWok! It’s pretty good with Chinese ingredients in Indian recipes and vice versa….Maybe some one should come up with different fusion foods in B’lore….


  3. silkboard (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 7:24 pm

    I dont recall exactly where, but I have eaten “chinese dosa”. It was basically a masala dosa like thing with “veg manchurian balls” instead of potato-onion palya” inside. Nothing great. These kind of dosa experiments (special fillings inside) haven’t appealed to me so far.


  4. BNB (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 8:46 pm

    MSG, Thanks a lot. I have been trying to figure out for a long time (without googling) why I feel so beat up the morning after a chinese meal. Down with Indo-chinese food.



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