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Back to the Orient

Lip smacking delight: Guangdong black bean fish  

I was thinking the other day about the way our palates have evolved with time. We grew up with the food that was cooked at home, tried out at our friends’ places different kinds of regional fare , and then were exposed to cuisines from different parts of the world. Now we know all about Greek and Armenian, Ethiopian and Vietnamese food, but our international journey really started with Chinese food. Long before we had eaten anything else from anywhere in the world (barring, perhaps, burgers and sandwiches), we had had our first Chinese chowmein and shredded chicken in hot garlic sauce.

That’s why I can never get tired of Chinese food. It’s not just nostalgia, but also a taste that warms the heart. Even though we now know the varying tastes of the different regions of China, I always like the old familiar flavours of soy and black bean sauce.

So, when Thaicrate — a delivery outlet — told me that they were introducing a Chinese menu, I was happy. I’d had a great experience with their Thai food several months ago. So, when some friends said they were coming over for dinner, I had ordered sweet and sour pork, cashew chicken, steamed fish and morning glory — and we had a great meal.

Then, a few days ago, I got a call from Thaicrate. I was informed that they had started an Oriental section. That cheered me up no end, for I had been itching to have some good old Chinese fried rice with something nice and hot. The owner decided on the menu for me. The food arrived promptly at 7.30 that evening. It consisted of fried rice and noodles, five-spice vegetables, Kung pao tofu, honey chilli chicken, devilled prawns and Guangdong black bean fish.

We called a friend over and had a great dinner, indeed, for the food was superb. The noodles and rice were well cooked, sautéed with vegetables and — what was particularly nice — with hardly any oil. The fish (₹520) was tossed in black bean sauce and had been cooked with onions and spring onions. I liked the heady and peppery sauce, and thought the fish went well with the mild tofu (₹420), which had been cooked with onions, roasted peanuts, chillies and red capsicum. The vegetable dish (₹340) — broccoli, baby corn, carrots and mushroom, cooked with bamboo shoots and onions — was all right (I think I would have liked it just stir-fried, without a sauce).

I loved the chicken dish (₹440) and the prawns (₹630). The chicken was crispy and had been flavoured with sesame seeds. I enjoyed its sweet and hot taste, and popped a plump cherry into my mouth now and then to complement the red chillies. The devilled prawns were simply delicious. The large and juicy prawns, been cooked with garlic and whole red chillies in oyster sauce, were placed on a bed of baby spinach. I twirled a bit of the spinach around the prawn, bit into it, and was on cloud nine. I thought the Thaicrate was Thai great. Now I see that its Chinese is just what the doctor ordered: a dose of nostalgia tossed in delectable sauces.

A-5, DDA Shopping Market Complex, Near Moolchand Flyover, Defence Colony; dial 8010081180 to order; 12 noon to 11 p.m.;

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Printable version | Oct 13, 2021 7:06:04 PM |

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