Chinese food as most of us Indians know it is very different from the original cuisine. Barring the high end restaurants at five star hotels, most places that offer Chinese food, serve the Indian Chinese variety. It was only when I lived in Sydney, had Chinese from takeaway joints run by migrants who only spoke Mandarin and basic English that I discovered how different the original actually is. If there was any doubt one only had to go to Wigram Street – it is a stretch full of Indian grocery stores and restaurants. One proudly announced on its board: ‘We serve Indian Chinese’. So for those wanting their Gobi Manchurian or American Chopsuey with a ghastly orange sauce, it was the go to place. However, I gradually acquired a taste for the original Chinese cuisine.
So, when I moved to Hyderabad, reconciled to Indian Chinese again – as there was just this one 50-year-old restaurant all the locals here raved about, besides the ones in five star hotels of course. The local restaurant that served Indian Chinese was a disappointment to me – overpriced and migraine inducing food thanks to the ajinomoto used. So, I stayed away from it and rarely ate there.
Then, thanks to the work I do, visiting the Chinese restaurant – Golden Dragon at the Taj Krishna Hotel – to cover various food festivals gave me an opportunity to indulge in Chinese food from the Cantonese and Sichuan regions of China. Now, this restaurant serves mostly original Chinese food. But, Executive Chef Nitin Mathur informs me that there are patrons who want the food spiced up even if the dish is meant to be eaten bland; requests for Manchurian [a concoction that really doesn’t exist in Chinese food] are made and in deference to local tastes, Chef has included dishes which could be construed as Indian Chinese.
The August Moon Festival then at the Golden Dragon is an annual affair. The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar. The menu offers an array of authentic Chinese delicacies like Sliced fish chilli lemon glaze, Crisp chicken sesame chilli wild pepper; Cheesy Chausi celery, Seafood coriander garlic soup; Chachoy greens and silver sprout noodle soup, Sauteed sea squids with shitake and spicy yellow beans; Chicken mapo tofu with Sichuan peppers, Crunchy water chestnuts, mushrooms and winter melon in devil sauce, Zucchini with Chinese greens in spicy sweet bean sauce, Fukien fried rice with sea food, rice noodles Hakka style. and of course traditional moon cake in both baked and ice skin variation.
The desserts as always are the piece de resistance and the traditional moon cakes made during this festival in the baked and ice skin variation were delicious. Rich and nutty, they were not too sweet so were a fine ending to a great meal.
The festival is on till the 14th of this month at the Golden Dragon, Taj Krishna.