On Wednesday, March 8th, I found myself with members of
AABANY and the South Asian Bar Association of New York (“SABANY”) at The
Chinese Club, a restaurant in Williamsburg professing to specialize in Indian-Chinese
food. Among those who attended were SABANY President, Mahesh Parlikad, President-Elect
Amol Sinha and Immediate Past President Rippi Gil. Among the AABANY leaders in
attendance were Chris Kwok, Issues Committee Co-Chair, Francis Chin,
Professional Development Committee Chair, and Yang Chen, Executive Director. 

We were also pleased to welcome Kim Parker,
Executive Director of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (and an AABANY

Admittedly, I was rather skeptical at first about the whole idea of
altering traditional Chinese recipes. After all, I had grown up with “real”
Chinese cuisine, which had instilled into me a certain contempt for Chinese
fusion, especially such culinary horrors as General Tso’s Chicken.

The first dish to be served was Manchow Soup, a take on Hot and Sour
Soup, with more emphasis on hot than sour. The soup, although pedestrian in
appearance, featured not only a perfect texture – being neither too watery nor
too thick – but a balanced flavor that ensured the full expression of each and
every ingredient used in the composition of the dish. Then came an odd-looking
dish called Bhel Salad, followed by more savory dishes of Salt and Pepper Mushrooms
and Lollipop Chicken. Other memorable dishes were the exquisitely presented Manchurian
Vegetables, Hakka Lo Mein, and the Chili Garlic Fried Rice.  By far the most memorable course was dessert,
which was Kulfi – a popular Indian dairy dessert – served with coconut-flavored

At the end of the meal, Salil Mehta, owner of The Chinese Club, was kind
enough to give us a brief talk about the history behind the name of his
restaurant, which was apparently taken from the original Chinese Club that had
once existed in Darjeeling, India, as a social venue for Hakka Chinese, and how
he went from being a student at Parsons to owning his first restaurant, Laut, in Union Square. (Laut is one of the first Malaysian restaurants to receive a
Michelin star in New York.) In a charismatically delivered talk that
highlighted the meaningfulness of his work, Salil spoke extensively about the
forgotten traces of Chinese influences in food cultures all around the world,
and how it was through his discovery of Chinese-influenced Indian food that
first motivated him to start The Chinese Club. Hearing such passionately spoken
words made my experience truly unforgettable.  

Many thanks to Chris Kwok for providing such
an excellent recommendation and organizing the event, to Salil Mehta and his team for such a wonderful
food experience, to Tsingtao Beer for sponsoring the beer served with our
dinner, and to all those from AABANY and SABANY who attended the event.

(Written by AABANY Legal Intern Jason Cheung. Photos courtesy of Chris
Kwok and Yang Chen.)