Mumbai’s oldest Chinese restaurant forced to serve ‘misal pao’
Ling’s Pavilion, one of Mumbai’s oldest Chinese restaurants, has reportedly been asked to serve Maharashtrian dishes in a bid to promote the ‘local cuisine’.
Located at Colaba, Ling’s Pavilion was started way back in 1945 and is presently run by 67-year-old Baba Ling – a third generation owner of the restaurant.
The decision to serve Maharashtrian food comes in the wake of a suggestion made by the recently appointed Union minister of state for social justice and RPI chief Ramdas Athawale.
According to an official of the Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHAR), Athawale has reportedly asked hotels to promote Maharashtrian cuisine by offering dishes at affordable rates.
He further added, “We have asked restaurants to promote the local cuisine. But there is no compulsion. If a restaurant does not wish to promote it, they are free to do so.”
However, Baba Ling denies the ‘optional’ bit and maintains that they had to change their menu because they were asked to do so. While speaking to Mumbai Mirror, Ling said, “There was a meeting of restaurant owners through our association (AHAR) and they asked all restaurants to promote Maharashtrian food. Hence, we put these items on the menu. We are doing it because the association asked us to do so.”
When asked if patrons actually order Maharashtrian food from their menu, Ling exclaimed, “Why will anyone order a misal pau at an authentic Chinese restaurant?”
Ling also added that while he is complying with AHAR’s directive and serving Maharashtrian cuisine, his chef’s aren’t accustomed to the dishes.
When other restaurants from the area were contacted, the owners of two restaurants refused to comment on the directive and one confirmed that they have heard of it, but not implemented it till now.
The decision to ‘force’ restaurants to serve Maharashtrian food has also received criticism from netizens, who’ve referred to the move as a form of ‘food bullying’.