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November 19, 2017 | UPDATED 16:05 IST
By Aditi Khanna
London, Nov 19 (PTI) One of Londons rst-of-its-kind Indo-Chinese restaurants is marking
the UK-India Year of Culture with its own rst-year anniversary celebration.
Hakkaland was set up by Indian-Chinese chef Steven Lee to bring the distinct avour of
Chinese food from his birthplace of Kolkata alive in the UK.
“This fusion cuisine represents Indian food at its best and symbolises the UK India Year of
Culture with its successful one year in business,” said Lee.
He mastered the art of the unique Indian inuence on Chinese cuisine at Mumbais China
Garden restaurant before an invitation to work with UK-based celebrity chef Udit Sakhel
brought him to Britain many years ago.
Lee is planning to turn Hakkaland into a chain of Indo- Chinese restaurants across the UK.
“The plans are big and if we get the same support as we have now received, then I promise
Hakkaland will be at the top of the fusion restaurant list,” said Lee, who specialises in
adapting Chinese cooking techniques to Indian avours and tastes using the classic
Some of his signature dishes reect their roots in West Bengal such as Kolkata Chilli
Chicken and include a variety of typically Indian-style vegetarian Chinese dishes.
Lees vision is to bring China Town, or Tangra area, of Kolkata alive in the UK along with the
food of his ancestors from the Hakka region of China. PTI AK MRJ
KOLKATA: A Kolkata-born Chinese who took Tangra-style cuisine to
London is planning to leverage the popularity of the Indo-Chinese food
that he serves at his restaurant in Harrow to start a chain across UK.
Steven Lee, whose father had migrated to India in the 1940s from
Guangdong province in China, was born in Kolkata in 1971 and grew up in
Tangra, the Chinatown that once housed tanneries that have now been
converted to restaurants.
Like most Chinese living in Kolkata, Lee had bland Chinese food at home.
But it was the spicy Indian-Chinese served in Chinese restaurants that he
“Indo-Chinese food is a Tangra creation that is now a worldwide sensation. This fusion is unique on its own and loved by
foodies all over. It is different because this fusion is prepared by using Indian ingredients while still accepting the Chinese
cooking technique,” explained Lee, who started Indo-Chinese kitchen bar Hakkaland named after the Tangra’s Hakka
While Lee left Kolkata to work in at China Garden — a popular Chinese restaurant by Nelson Wang in Mumbai — nearly 20
years ago, he still visits his relatives in Kolkata annually during the Chinese New Year.
Around 17 years ago, celebrity chef Udit Sakhel invited him to London to work at his restaurant Dalchini. There, Lee used his
experience and knowledge of Tangra-type Chinese to introduced Indo-Chinese food. “I infused many new dishes to this fusion
and Asian taste which was widely accepted in the UK and the restaurant was a huge success in early 2000s. “Keeping the multi-cultural diversity of UK in mind, I introduced Hakka Chicken, Ginger Chicken, Fish Pepper Salt, Tai Pai Paneer, Soya Chilli
and a lot more,” Lee recounted.
After working for Dalchini at Wimbledon, Spice n Ice at Croydon and Bombay Wok at Hounslow, Lee teamed up with partners
to launch Hakkaland a year ago. During Durga Puja, Lee’s restaurant served to Bengali patrons at the Ealing Town Hall.
Encouraged by the customer response, Lee now plans to make Hakkaland UK’s first Indo-Chinese restaurant chain with joints
in Manchester, East London, Leeds, Lecister and Birmingham. Lee isn’t sure yet but if things go his way, he even has eyes on
bringing his brand home to where it all started, Tangra.