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Monday, Feb 11, 2002

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Exciting fare

Bland, spicy or sweet and sour... the choice is wide at the Chinese food festivals at Chola Sheraton and GRT Grand Days..

FROM THE provinces of Siachun, Guangdong, Huaiyang and Shangdong come "The Fiery Foursome" — Master chefs Yang, Li, Liang and Chou put together a grand feast for the Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb 12.

Shanghai Club, Chola Sheraton, (Ph: 8110101) plays host to authentic flavours from beyond the Great Wall. The festival is on till February 17.

The decor — subdued embroidery, pottery, knick-knacks in papier-mache and silken cheongsams — prepare one for the delights of the Orient. The soothing strains of Chinese music altering with lilting tunes played by the Hungarian pianist Monica Papp, add to the mood as one settles for a experience of a blend of chilli and spice of Sichuan, the tender and crisp delicacies of Guangdong, the poached meats and vegetables from Huaiyang and steam-cooked fare from Shangdong..

Not to be missed is the steamed whole snapper in delicately flavoured sauce, a must for New Year feast.

The succulent fried diced chicken with dry chilli and Sichuan pepper corn is the right appetizer while vegetarians can go in for deep fried bean curd with pepper, Jinan spring rolls or the crispy stuffed Piaogua.

For soups, don't miss the Hot and Sours with either fish, chicken, bean curd, or mushroom, with a dash of coriander.

For that perfect finish, check out the sweet potato pancake with lychees and ice cream.

Every guest gets a laughing Buddha for good luck, says the manager.

Spicy assortment

Meanwhile, Orient Pearl at the GRT Grand Days (8220500 /8236789 /8267509) is ready for a festival, which is on till February 24. The décor conforms to the mystical powers of Feng shui, with the stewards sporting black karate ghees with embroidered red dragons.

Order your cocktails/mocktails and then get on with the appetizers — dragon chilli baby corn, chicken drumstick marinated with spices and crumb bread.

There's an assortment of dishes ranging from bland to sweet and sour, and the spicy. For a novelty, try a dish with crispy vermicelli.

The Singapore rice noodles are fine and light and set off the accompanying sauces, meats and vegetables. Chatu chak is spicy mixed fried rice that will appeal to the Indian palate, and the crab claws with chillies is highly recommended.

Then tone down the fire with Szechwan date pancake, fried ice cream or savour the lingering taste of toffee lychees/banana.

As you prepare to leave, Christi Lee will give you a lucky charm for the New year... a key chain with the horse mascot.

Bon appetite and Kung Hei Fat Choi — the Chinese greeting for the New Year.


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