food review Food

Delhi’s Pa Pa Ya offers 68 kinds of dumplings

On the topmost floor of Select City Walk mall, with sunlight streaming onto my plate from the wooden-slatted dome, I meet Zoravar Kalra, the perfect host, as always. Kalra, who has been in the restaurant business for 15 years, has 19 restaurants under his Massive Restaurants umbrella that he set up in 2012. We’re at Pa Pa Ya, and as I look up to admire the 50-foot-high dome, he tells me that Masa Fumi Sanada, a Japanese architect, designed the contemporary space that has just the right amount of the Orient, it being a “modern Asian bistro”.

Kalra talks of how a team of chefs led by Durgesh Tyagi, did six months of research, scouring both little nooks and trendy bars in Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo, before arriving at the 68-item dimsum menu for Pa Pa Ya.

But before you pop one into your mouth, Tyagi has a bit of a history lesson: Dimsums entered India in the form of momos, a Tibetan street food. “They were usually stuffed with chicken or cabbage. However, dimsums that the Chinese expatriates brought to Kolkata more than a century ago were more elaborate, with a thinner skin. They came in varied fillings like pork, beef, duck, prawn and crab,” says the chef.

Truffle Cream Cheese- Crystal dumpling.

Truffle Cream Cheese- Crystal dumpling.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Dimsums are refreshingly light and healthy, and much like the bamboo baskets they arrive in, are handcrafted. Flavourful with minimum spices, they’re suitable for people of all ages. But if you like is spicy, there are the sauces — crispy chilly, celery, and chilly bean.

Every bit that I gingerly took (they are works of art) was juicy and tender. Patience is the key to enjoying them, the wait for each basket giving me sufficient time to mull over and digest the previous. And just as I was lulled into the soft world of steaming and poaching, one bite of a crispy number, with its flavours bursting in the mouth, took the experience to the next level. The secret ingredient? Duck fat. Used to enhance flavour. Its vegetarian equivalent? Taro root. The 68 dimsums come in 12 varieties: crystal, shao mai, baos, open baos, wontons, jiaozi, poached, xia long bao, cheung fun, glutinous rice, puffs and lo ma gai. I tasted a range, from the

Chilli Hoisin Lamb Bao’s Hong flour bun was shaped like a porcupine. The Truffle Cream Cheese Crystal dumpling that was shaped like a carrot, with potato starch wrappers, it was stuffed with mushroom and pak choy.

Kalra’s favourite: Spinach wrapped dimsum with prawn filling that’ll soon be on the menu.

The unlimited dimsum brunch is at Select Citywalk, Saket; ₹990+taxes per head; Monday to Friday, 12 noon to 6 p.m.

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Printable version | Oct 30, 2020 4:09:29 PM |

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