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. Various sources credit him with the invention of the popular Indian/Chinese dish "Chicken Manchurian".
Wang was born in Kolkata. He is the son of a Chinese immigrant. 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.
Wang came to Mumbai in 1974, with just ₹27 in his pocket. His first job there was in a small eatery in Colaba. He also worked a variety of other odd jobs, including as a limbo dancer, at which he claims to have been very skilled. 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. 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.
Wang branched out from his job at the CCI in 1983 to start his own restaurant, the China Garden. His restaurant gained popularity among Mumbai's elite, and won various awards proclaiming it "India's best restaurant". He and his son Eddie would go on to open several restaurants in various parts of India, including Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, and Goa. 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". However, China Garden reopened at the Crossroads Mall in August 2000. It has now[when?] moved back to the original location at Kemps Corner.
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