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Chai Chai means ‘mixed vegetables’ in Chinese and Japchae is a Korean dish of stir fried noodles. At Chap Chay it can be either. The greatest draw of this Chinese-tilting Pan-Asian restaurant is a make-your-own stir fry counter. Prepped meat and vegetables are neatly laid out for you to stack into bowls. Fill out a flavour-card or leave it to the Chef. Chap Chay sports a smartly appointed Oriental air that is just about loose enough for the DIY action. You could also stay put and order Chinese or Thai plates. A plate of Sticky Belgian Pork Ribs seemed more greasy than sticky in a Hoisin and Chocolate dressing, both flavours indistinguishable. My Cha Siu Bao had plenty of Bao and very little Cha Siu. Delicately pleated Har Gaos revealed a chalky taste as I popped them in. Marinating Shrimps in Baking Soda helps retain moisture, but I suspect Chap Chay’s kitchen forgot to rinse them later. Cheong Fun arrived without the listed Tobiko on the pretext that many guests do not like raw fish eggs. Also omitted are Sichuan peppercorns in Mapo Tofu and training for the front-of-house staff.
When in doubt what to have for dinner, always opt for Chinese food. The comforting nature of the cuisine has put Chinese cuisine as one of the most sought-after cuisine in India. Every city boasts of fabulous Pan Asian fine dining and Chennai is no different. The added advantage for the city is the amazing coastal line which draws in an abundance of freshest seafood, which is later used in these Pan Asian dishes as key element. Usually when one talks of Pan Asian food in Chennai, they end up raving about ‘Chap Chay’, which is said to be a must visit for Asian food lovers. Gourmets are often seen dining here, gorging on dim sums and stir fries or getting their noodle fix in the company of family and friends. To get your Asian thrill head over to The Raintree Hotel in Alwarpet, where the restaurant is located.
No Pan Asian menu is complete without Chinese cuisine and Chap Chay leans heavily in its direction. Also included in the menu is exotic Malaysian and Thai cuisines, which with its clean natural flavours packs quite a punch. The restaurant is an utter favourite of the office goers who often drop in to grab their bowl of stir fries or to enjoy a lunch combo before heading back to work. With a drink from their bar menu wade into the appetizers like, scallop & prawn roll, raw mango salad, crispy soft-shell crab, sugar snap peas salt & pepper, Belgian pork finger ribs and tempura. Follow that with, Sichuan haricot beans, Singapore chilli crab, massamam curry, ma po tofu, crispy roasted duck, willow wok chicken and braised seer fish.
Pair your mains with a bowl of steamed jasmine rice or some Cantonese pan fried noodles. When you think you can’t have another bite, there comes the scrumptious desserts. Pile on few delicious calories with, duo of roasted white chocolate & dark chocolate mousse, lemongrass & kaffir lime kulfi, banana royal, signature fried ice cream, duo of jellied water chestnuts, Chap Chay banana split and black sticky rice. Interiors of Chap Chay are done in a very striking elegant way. Hint of modern elements blends nicely with traditional Asian décor, putting across straightaway that this is an Asian establishment. Some might find Chap Chay to be a bit expensive venture but rightfully so.