Nelson Wang

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Nelson Wang
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 黃玉堂[1]
Simplified Chinese 黄玉堂
Hindi name
Hindi नेल्सन वांग

Nelson Wang (born 1950) is an Indian restaurateur of Chinese descent and the founder of the famous China Garden restaurant in Mumbai's Kemps Corner neighbourhood.[2][3] Various sources credit him with the invention of the popular Indian/Chinese dish "Chicken Manchurian".[4]

Personal life[edit]

Wang was born in Kolkata.[5] He is the son of a Chinese immigrant.[3] However, within a few days of his birth, his father died, and he was sent to live with a foster family by his mother. His foster father was a chef, to which Wang attributes his own love of cooking.[2]

Early career[edit]

Wang came to Mumbai in 1974, with just 27 in his pocket.[6] His first job there was in a small eatery in Colaba.[5] He also worked a variety of other odd jobs, including as a limbo dancer, at which he claims to have been very skilled.[3] According to Wang himself, he was a cook at the Cricket Club of India when, in 1975, a customer asked him to create a new dish, different from what was available on the menu.[3] He started by taking the basic ingredients of an Indian dish, namely chopped garlic, ginger, and green chilis, but next, instead of adding garam masala, he put in soy sauce instead, followed by cornstarch and the chicken itself; the result was the now-famous Chicken Manchurian.[7]

China Garden[edit]

Wang branched out from his job at the CCI in 1983 to start his own restaurant, the China Garden.[6] His restaurant gained popularity among Mumbai's elite, and won various awards proclaiming it "India's best restaurant".[5] He and his son Eddie would go on to open several restaurants in various parts of India, including Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, and Goa.[3] The China Garden ran into trouble in 1999, when a court ordered him to shut it down for violating Coastal Regulation Zone rules about building floor area, in a case that took more than fourteen years. His building was located more than half a kilometre inland, as compared to other businesses such as the Natraj Hotel on Marine Drive which also allegedly violated regulations but were left untouched; a Rediff columnist criticised the ruling as making "no sense".[5][8] However, China Garden reopened at the Crossroads Mall in August 2000.[9] It has now[when?] moved back to the original location at Kemps Corner.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Yuan Nansheng/袁南生 (2007), 《感受印度》, China Social Sciences Publishing House, p. 8, ISBN 978-7-5004-5356-7 
  2. ^ a b Nelson Wang - The Master Chef, China Garden Restaurant, retrieved 2010-04-21 
  3. ^ a b c d e "The short history of Indian Chinese food and where to breathe fire in Mumbai", CNN Go, 2010-02-11, retrieved 2010-04-21 
  4. ^ Mukherjee, Sipra; Gooptu, Sarvani, "The Chinese community of Calcutta", in Banerjee, Himadri, Calcutta Mosaic: Essays and Interviews on the Minority Communities of Calcutta, Anthem Press, pp. 131–142, ISBN 978-81-905835-5-8 
  5. ^ a b c d Nandy, Pritish (1999-10-27), "Bulls in China Garden", Rediff, retrieved 2010-04-21 
  6. ^ a b Tahseen, Ismat (2008-02-05), "Manchurian Master: On the eve of the Chinese New Year, restaurateur Nelson Wang recounts the rise and rise of 'Manchurian' and 'Chinjabi' in India", Daily News and Analysis, retrieved 2010-04-21 
  7. ^ Bhagat, Rasheeda (2007-05-04), "Taste and disdain: A tour of the country's interesting eating habits with a roving journalist", The Hindu, retrieved 2010-04-21 
  8. ^ "Today's special at China Garden: High Drama", Indian Express, 1999-08-05, retrieved 2010-04-21 
  9. ^ "China Garden's new avtar", Rediff, 2000-09-29, archived from the original on 2000-09-29, retrieved 2010-04-21 

External links[edit]