Street food beckons

DELECTABLE DIGRESSION Skewered prawns, the Nanjinglu way

DELECTABLE DIGRESSION Skewered prawns, the Nanjinglu way  

Crabs and mushrooms call out to the experimental in you

When you eat at a restaurant that specialises in Chinese cuisine, you expect the menu to display familiar names — fried rice, noodles, spring rolls, chopsuey, etc. So, when there is a digression — even if it is in the form of a food festival — diehard fans cannot stomach it.

But wait. Try out things like Crabmeat with Tofu, Fried Fresh Water Prawns, Rose Petal Shrimps, or Stir Fried Bamboo Shoots being offered for the main course at Mainland China as part of its ongoing `Shanghai Street Food Festival', and you will welcome, wholeheartedly, this delectable digression and begin to agree that good food is what matters ultimately.

A 15-day trip to China enabled the three chefs (Chefs Rajesh Dubey, Ram and Rahul Kapur who take care of the chain of restaurants across the country) to decide on the simple yet authentic menu. Okay, almost authentic. There has to be some compromise when a cuisine from across the border has to attract patrons here. In this case lamb and chicken replace pork- and beef-based items "for religious purposes and to make it acceptable to Indians," according to Chef Kapur. Experimenting with your food preferences once in a while is quite harmless. And, when you have as many as 16 options in the menu — eight each for meat-eaters and their counterparts — that serve as "fillers that fit into the main meal," just dig.

Since street food is the focus, don't expect fattening and filling stuff. Chicken/ Vegetable Bao, and Chicken Wings or Baked Potato skewered the Nanjinglu way (Nanjinglu is a famous street in Shanghai known for its skewered stuff) would do well for starters. The highlight of the main course here too is crabmeat, as is the case in Shanghai streets. So, try it with Tofu — a deliciously deadly combination.

The counterparts can savour Crispy Shitake Mushroom with Carrot and Capsicum or Saut�ed Mushroom and Broccoli with Almond Cream and Fried Soya Bean Crumbs — rich but not fattening. The natural flavour of the meats and the vegetables are retained to our utmost satisfaction. A proof that the food is not Indianised completely.Despite a gratifying gastronomic experience, there is something missing: the dessert. Another unpardonable omission. Do feel free to ask for the regular menu that offers a suitably wide choice. And end your meal on a sweet note.


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