If it isn't too much of a detour, the best way to reach Bowl O' China at Begumpet (the Patigadda X Roads) is via Necklace Road. Any other way might result in you hitting a traffic bottleneck.
Bowl O' China is about as much value for money as respectable Chinese food can get in Hyderabad. You get to seat in air-conditioned comfort and on decent upholstery, and the service is better than at Nanking
or Alex's Kitchen
. The place, done up in red and black, does its bit to look Oriental, but it's too small to do much about its looks, really.
The crowd - and there is
a crowd usually - consists mostly of executives from around the area, though there's the teeny-bopper factor as well given the VFM (a couple meal here costs Rs. 200-250 on average, but you can get out in Rs. 80 too if you have just eloped and are currently looking to merely survive). The place belongs to the Hyderabad House
group, and everything is reminiscent of that, especially the matter-of-fact service.
The USP. Bowl O' China has an extensive menu, and impresses by having a whole 2 pages labelled Chef Special. Not bad for something that grew up on the coattails of Hyderabad House.
Things can get a little spicey at Bowl O' China if you aren't careful, but there isn't much you can do to be careful anyway, so you might as well let go. Apart from the standard Manchow and Hot 'n' Sour soups and spring rolls and corn, the place digs deeper into Oriental cuisine to unearth stuff like Dimsum Baskets, Spinach Corn Toast, Shredded Chicken With Chilly Scallions and plenty of seafood starters.
Apart from a whole section dedicated to seafood, the main course consists of all standard rice and noodle items in an elaborate 25-strong spread that also includes stuff like Basket Noodles and Corn Mushroom Fried Rice. Plus, an array of some 20 side dishes from Veg Manchurian to Bhutan Chicken and Double Mushroom In Hot Garlic Sauce.
You can't really complain about the food, especially if you are a Chinese food buff - like we said, they have enough self-worth to file 20 items under Chef Special, and then, the portion sizes in rice and noodles are quite benevolent. Perhaps the meager roster of desserts could have included at least Honey Noodles. But then, Banana Split at Rs. 50 ain't bad.
The Hyderabad House connection means that the place specializes in takeaway (there are branches elsewhere too - call 66661234/5678), and it might not be a bad idea either, given that there's no place to seat a waiting crowd here. Just remember that fried and crispy stuff doesn't taste nearly as good coming out of an aluminium foil.
Bowl O' China is a cross between the bandi
around your house and Chinese Pavilion
. In other words, just what Chinese-addicted Hyderabad needed, to have its dignity and eat up too.