Delightful delicacies from the Far East

Pan Asian Food Fest at The Grill in Le Meridien.

Pan Asian Food Fest at The Grill in Le Meridien.  

THE HOSTESS carefully points at the decorations and artefacts around the room. "See the twin Mandarin ducks on the door, they indicate a happy man-woman relationship as does the symbol down there, the Yin and Yang, the feminine and masculine aspects of life."

You see the white tiger denoting good fortune and just in case you are interested, invited to rub the rounded tummy of the Laughing Buddha at the entrance. While you feel his contours, whatever you wish for is granted!

All these from the hostesses who appear in what comes close to a Cheongsam, at the Pan Asian Food Fest now on at The Grill in Le Meridien.

The food of the Far East prepared by Chefs who know the authentic cuisine of the region and the compact but varied and very different-from-usual menu is what makes this food fest stand out above the rest.

The appetisers live up to the name. You can choose the Penang Spring Roll, stuffed with shrimp, chicken and lamb, served with sweet and sour sauce or the Lamb Dim Sum, mince with Chinese spices, stuffed in steamed dough and served with Kikoman sauce. The veggies can go for the Yum Gong, a tangy salad with lemon grass, mint, tomatoes and cucumber.

The soup selection is interesting and contains some unusual items such as the Malayan Crab Meat and Egg Drop Soup, a favourite of Malaysians. Rather on the spicy side is the Tom Yam Kung from Thailand, which has lemon grass, lime leaves, and prawns.

The main course gives a selection of seafood, poultry, lamb, tenderloin, and pork and you can match them with rice or noodles of your choice. Worth trying out is the Gun-Saen-Gsum, grilled sardines, Korean Style.

The Yellow Thai Curry Crab is mildly spiced and comes with coconut cream.

The Beijing lamb, Hunan Spare Ribs, and Ma Po Dao Fu (an ancient Chinese delicacy of tofu and pork mince) are for the more adventurous.

The vegetarians are given a wide choice too and some of the veggie items are delectable. Seen perhaps for the first time here is the Oseng-Oseng Jamur, a delicate combination of different kinds of mushrooms. From Vietnam comes Dau Hu Rau Voisat Ca Chua, put simply, a tasty tofu dish. For those whose palates relish mild dishes, there is the Rebung Marakler: bamboo shoots in coconut gravy.

The rice and noodles come from different Asian countries. You have the Nasi Goregn, an Indonesian rice preparation with chicken, prawns, and pork and Kakpab, fried rice with almonds, walnuts, honey and soya sauce as examples.

The chefs have tried their best to give some unusual desserts. Try the Khanom kulk, a coconut pancake roll with ice cream or Sarikauga, coconut custard with ice cream. If you still have room after your dinner.

By Satyamurty K.

Photo: K.Bhagya Prakash

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