The August Moon Festival at Sampan offered delectable moments in moonlight

The August Moon Festival or Mid Autumn celebration is one of the most notable Chinese holidays. Chinese families rejoice the end of the harvest season with a big feast. Unlike American Thanksgiving dinner, Chinese have moon cakes instead of grandma’s apple pie.

Chinese legends say that the moon is at its brightest and roundest on this day. Under this bright autumn moon, friendships are made and renewed. And for such a perfect rendezvous I visited the August Moon Food Festival at The Suryaa New Delhi’s pan Asian restaurant Sampan. Ambience of Sampan is lavish and beautiful. Seeing the full moon from its huge glass walls and enjoying the dinner was a delight.

Menu was extensive and innovative. Designed by the Executive Sous Chef Rakesh Prasad, it consisted of some common and authentic homemade delicacies enjoyed during the Moon festival.

I started with the light and healthy Wong – Bok, clear soup with chicken and vegetables. It was presented beautifully with the chicken stuffed inside the egg broth and dipped into the clear stalk of vegetables. Appetisers were made in different styles. Sautéed spicy prawns made in Chongquing style were tasty and completely different from the schezwan style of cooking.

Spicy sauce

It was full of dried chilli flakes having a coating on the prawns. Crispy fried basa made in dried chilli and Sichuan pepper was tasty but it lacked crispiness and became a bit soggy because to the sauces.

Eating the traditional August Moon dragon rolls with minced juicy chicken as stuffing was a delight. It truly was finger licking. Rolls were crispy to perfection. Dim sums served in a platter were fresh and enjoyed best with the spicy sauce. I liked the one being stuffed with chicken.

Main course had many options. I went for the home style shredded chicken with pan fried noodles. Shredded chicken was delicious having a perfect balance of spices and it was very well seasoned. It had a light colour and was good to look at, thankfully, not loaded with soya sauce. August Moon special rice with gansu lamb with greens in oyster sauce tasted well too but for me the best were the desserts.

Enjoyed hot, traditional Ice Moon Cake was a tasty small circular cake having a crispy outer layer. My favourite was the crispy fried Seven Treasure ice cream spring rolls. I can still recall its ice cream bursting in my mouth.