The origins of Chinese food in India can be taken back to at least sixty years when a few migrants from the Orient; Burma, China and also from our own Eastern states came to different parts of India, more so in West Bengal and especially in Kolkata and set up small eateries that could barely pass as Chinese Food restaurants in that part of the town which was called as Chinatown because of the profusion of the chinky-eyed populace.
They were smart entrepreneurs who gauged the local tastes and made the requisite changes to the seasoning and condiments. Their use of the local ingredients also gave this Chinese Food in India a local taste that was so essential for acceptance by the local Kolkata inhabitants. And slowly from the small, eateries these smart business men moved out to give the people of India, Chinese Food Restaurants. These Chinese Food Restaurants were all decorated in the same way; the colors used were predominantly red and gold. There had to be Chinese lanterns that lighted the restaurant and there could not be any Chinese Food Restaurants without the Chinese Dragon that either adorned the walls or the tapestry. Another important feature of the Chinese Food Restaurants was the girl dressed in a so-called Chinese dress which was a satin brocade long dress or skirt and top that had Chinese motifs on them. The girl had to be chinky-eyed and have black straight hair.
Chinese Food in India had nothing to do with the wide variety of food that is eaten in China. Geographically, since China is a very large country, there is no uniformity of food, language or customs in the country. Although the Chinese food in India does not match any of the food types that is eaten anywhere in China, there are umpteen number of food types that are eaten in different parts of the Chinese subcontinent.
The really amusing observation is that there are different types of Chinese food in India i.e. the Chinese food of the local Mumbai street food vendor will taste quite different from the one in Delhi or in Amritsar or Kolkata. The street food hawker has to see whether there is a predominance of Punjabi people in the locality and make the perfect dish to satisfy their taste.
Apart from the few Chinese food restaurants in India that have a Michelin Star or are part of an international Hotel chain, most Chinese food restaurants have to vary their fare as per the local taste to become popular. Thus Chinese food in Indiais more Indian than Chinese.