Seemita's Reviews > Days of My China Dragon: Stories

Days of My China Dragon by Chandrahas Choudhury
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really liked it
bookshelves: india, fiction, humor, asia, culture

Universally, very few things bind people the way food does. And endorsing this view emphatically, Jigar Pala opens a Chinese restaurant in Prabha Devi, Mumbai, taking a detour from his family’s legacy of well-established Udipi restaurant. Enter the ‘China Dragon’. He puts together a small yet skilled team, does up the ambience with all props authentic Chinese (almost), keeps the finances in place, spreads the word and instils an enthusiastic wave into his establishment to go that extra mile to delight customers. But does that turn out to be enough?

In ‘Days of My China Dragon’, Choudhury weaves a delightful story around a restaurateur's life. Through Pala’s palate, one bites into the bittersweet crust of a business that never sleeps; the glory achieved on the happy visage of one customer can be threatened immediately by the next with a rapidly-forming frown, a perfectly cooked meal can meet its nemesis in a clumsy waiter, a business milestone can be achieved at the exact moment of lowering shutters just the way an ancient gastronomic secret can emerge when least expected, a perfectly harmonious kitchen can be jeopardised by one weird maverick chef just as much as it can be by the neighbourhood competitor. From a couple who bonds over the restaurant’s food to a father’s advice that helps tide tough times, from an idiosyncratic urge to own a life-sized dragon statue to meeting a bulk order that leaves the team thin, this book simmers with abundant humor and insights, heart-warming tales (as only a nostalgic meal can elicit) and heart-breaking decisions.

I rounded up my visit to China Dragon in three days and I am happy to relay that it is doing fine. You might like to visit it. Here, take this sample the team asked me to offer to future customers:
Sent from Lisbon by his King to discover the sea route to India and help Portugal seize the spice trade from the Arabs, Vasco da Gama plotted the course of a small ship in a never-ending ocean for which he had no map, fought off pirates, survived storms, hunger, and scurvy, quelled numerous mutinies among his men, endured fifteen months on sea before he sighted the coast of Malabar, ingratiated himself with the king of Calicut, and voyaged back home to Lisbon triumphant with a booty of gold, black pepper, nutmeg and Old Monk rum.

Sent by me from the China Dragon to buy fifty grams of black pepper from Nagodoshi Wadi, the new waiter Pintu Masurkar missed the turn for the market, felt too shy to approach anybody for directions, fell into a manhole while looking around for street signs, fought off two children who wanted him to buy their bus fare to Dadar, was nearly run down by a car while trying to cross the road near Taj Birdy's cake shop, and jumping back onto the pavement, was surprised by a miaow near his ankle and came back to the Dragon with a bleeding kitten and a tube of Boroline.
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Reading Progress

May 7, 2019 – Started Reading
May 9, 2019 – Finished Reading
May 19, 2019 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)

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message 1: by Laysee (new)

Laysee Delightful review, Seemita. I’d like to visit the China Dragon. 😊


message 2: by Elyse (new)

Elyse  Walters No I love everything about this review… It’s just wonderful!!!! 🥢🥠💕


Seemita Laysee wrote: "Delightful review, Seemita. I’d like to visit the China Dragon. 😊"

Haha... Thanks, Laysee :) I am sure you shall get a colorful welcome there!


Seemita Elyse wrote: "No I love everything about this review… It’s just wonderful!!!! 🥢🥠💕"

Aww... You are ever so generous, Elyse! Thank you! :)


Seemita Marita wrote: "Thanks for your charming review, Seemita. The China Dragon sounds delightful."

Totally my pleasure, Marita! It was a memorable place indeed :)


message 6: by Henry (new)

Henry Avila Very amusing...


message 7: by Rakhi (new) - added it

Rakhi Dalal Lovely review, Seemita :) I loved the last paragraph you quoted, makes it worth to go for the book!


message 8: by Dolors (new)

Dolors What a culinary trip, Simi!
Your humorous description of this restauranteur's adventures whetted my appetite. What a wonderful combination, food and literature, right? A treat for the senses, and how lovely to read you after a while! :))


message 9: by Ilse (new)

Ilse Wonderful uplifting review, Seemita! Thank you for serving such a delicious sample from a book that seems to have given you quite a few smiles.


Seemita Henry wrote: "Very amusing..."

Yes, yes!


message 11: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Entrepreneurial, heart-warming, light-hearted, nonconforming--all things I love in a good story of achieving a dream. Thank you for including us in this 'visit' of yours, Seemita. I could see it play across a movie screen...


Seemita Rakhi wrote: "Lovely review, Seemita :) I loved the last paragraph you quoted, makes it worth to go for the book!"

Ah yes, Rakhi! That excerpt was so hilarious that I couldn't stop myself from sharing it here! :) Warm and full of good vibes is this book, just the way we expect the outing to our favorite restaurant to be. I think you shall like its little world.


message 13: by Fran (new)

Fran Excellent review, Seemita!


message 14: by Anuradha (new) - added it

Anuradha You had me at "food". But even so, I read the whole review, because it's always a pleasure to read your work, especially after a long day. How have you been, Seemita?


Seemita Dolors wrote: "What a culinary trip, Simi!
Your humorous description of this restauranteur's adventures whetted my appetite. What a wonderful combination, food and literature, right? A treat for the senses, and h..."


Thank you, D! Potent combination indeed! In the gloomy air I wake up into on many days, these kind of books come as a breath of fresh. The underlying humor of things and the soothing power of love is all the medicine I need to get going. :) I glad that you enjoyed this little piece from my rusted pen, my dear!


Seemita Ilse wrote: "Wonderful uplifting review, Seemita! Thank you for serving such a delicious sample from a book that seems to have given you quite a few smiles."

Pleasure's mine, Ilse! This book was not just a stress-buster but also a pithy peek into the world of hospitality; some of the instances hit home and I admired the author's ability to mix humor and insight without appearing contrived.


Seemita Cheryl wrote: "Entrepreneurial, heart-warming, light-hearted, nonconforming--all things I love in a good story of achieving a dream. Thank you for including us in this 'visit' of yours, Seemita. I could see it pl..."

Ah! Playing it on a movie screen would be quite lovely I think! Thanks for planting the seed in my mind, Cheryl; I am tempted to go on an imaginative trail :) The book is all that you beautifully summed in. It ends on a note that satisfies the taste buds without killing the overall appetite; much like a fulfilling meal.


Seemita Fran wrote: "Excellent review, Seemita!"

Thanks, Fran! And it is good to hear from you! Hope all's good.


Seemita Anuradha wrote: "You had me at "food". But even so, I read the whole review, because it's always a pleasure to read your work, especially after a long day. How have you been, Seemita?"

Ah! I hear you, sister! :D Glad to find you on my page, Anu. How are you doing? Seems working out of a hectic place? I am swamped by work, and then some more. But life's good, touch wood :)


message 20: by Anuradha (new) - added it

Anuradha Yeah, I haven't exactly been active these past few months! It was a hectic semester, and now I'm in DC for the summer, and for the first time in years, I only have to work 9-5. Till August at least, so I have a bit more time to prowl. I'm glad you're doing good! :D


message 21: by Florencia (new)

Florencia Food and literature; a good story, a gastronomic gem - you just spoke to my heart. :P Thank you for this delightful write-up! It's always a pleasure to read your words.


Seemita Anuradha wrote: "Yeah, I haven't exactly been active these past few months! It was a hectic semester, and now I'm in DC for the summer, and for the first time in years, I only have to work 9-5. Till August at least..."

Glad to know that. Make the most of your time! And grab some yummilicious cupcakes from the 'Georgetown Cupcake' :)


Seemita Florencia wrote: "Food and literature; a good story, a gastronomic gem - you just spoke to my heart. :P Thank you for this delightful write-up! It's always a pleasure to read your words."

That's too much fun, isn't it? Glad you enjoyed the review, Flor! :)


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