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Introducing new Indian-style Chinese cuisine

In a move he is sure will draw rave reviews from the large Indian population in Richmond Hill, Surender Singh is adding a little flavor to his Villages of India restaurant.

In the next month or so, a selection of Indian-style Chinese dishes will top the menu at the 118-08 Atlantic Ave. restaurant and banquet hall.

“They will go crazy for it,” he said, citing the popularity of the fusion of Indian and Chinese food in India and its elusiveness here in New York.

Singh, who ran an Indian take-out restaurant in India before immigrating to the United States in 1990, has hired a Chinese cook who was born and raised in Calcutta to create offerings that will include chicken and vegetable Manchurian (named after the Manchu, who governed China from the 17th century to 20th century), chili shrimp and garlic chicken.

Indian-style Chinese food is neither Indian nor Chinese, he said. It stems from the migration of the Hakka Chinese to Calcutta, where they borrowed spices and incorporated Indian concepts into their own cooking.

Singh is positive the food will be a hit among the area’s Sikh and Indo-Caribbean immigrants, the latter of whom also grew up eating Chinese-style food. The Chinese were brought to Guyana and Trinidad in the mid-1800s as indentured servants following the abolition of slavery in the former British colonies and the rest of the empire.

Singh came to the United States from the village of Jamshedpur east of Calcutta with the help of Sant Singh Chatwal and Daman Chatwal, who own Bombay Palace in Great Neck and other restaurants.

“I always wanted to own a restaurant here,” he said. After working as a limousine driver and in a grocery store and with some business advice from the successful Chatwals, he opened Villages in 1996.

When asked about the restaurant’s name, Singh said simply, “I grew up in a village in India.”

Singh will continue to offer the more traditional Indian dishes that have been the backbone of his business since it opened in 1996. A $4.99 buffet with choices of 10 vegetarian and non-vegetarian options will still be available.

And, he said the restaurant will remain a place where the community can come together. Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, police officers twice met with Richmond Hill’s Indian leaders at the eatery to discuss issues affecting the community. When the Sikh Cultural Society burned down March 8, Singh opened his doors at 4 a.m. to feed those whose home was destroyed.

Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

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