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If there were ever a competition on which is the world’s greatest comfort food, then noodles would be the winner hands down. There is still a debate on noodles and pasta regarding which one was invented first. However, there have been records of noodles being made in China in the third century AD, making it one of the oldest forms of food that eventually became a staple almost all across the globe. Noodles can be had in many ways, from simple stir fried to hot, cold, instant, in a soupy form, pan fried with various sauces – this list could be endless. Thus, Zen at The Park Hotel, Kolkata, recently started an Asian Noodles Festival that promises to showcase some of the exotic varieties to tantalise the taste buds. And what better time to have this festival than in the monsoons?
The menu is a combination of cold noodles, soupy noodles, curry noodles, wok-fried and noodles in dessert. Speciality preparations have been taken from China, Japan, Thailand, Korea and Vietnam and the result is an explosion of flavours in various forms. In cold noodles, they have hiyashi somen, which is Japanese-styled cold noodles served over rocky ice cubes with a side of condiments such as wasabi, spring onions and grated ginger and a bowl of sweet and tangy soy dip.
For soupy noodles, one can opt for Peking-style noodle soup with vegetables or pho bac, which is a Vietnamese Hanoi rice noodle soup with a hot broth of beef, shiitake mushrooms and pok choy. For a spicier option, there is the Japanese Nagasaki champon with seafood. There are curry-based noodles from Korea and Japan, with the curry powders sourced from these countries.
After a lot of healthy and soupy versions, one can jump on to a wok-fried chapchea, which can be simplified as Korean-style stir-fried glass noodles with sesame and a choice of vegetables, chicken or fish. And finally, to finish off, dessert cannot be more exotic than crispy vanilla darsan with black sesame ice cream and cold glass noodles with coconut syrup.
This festival is on till the 7th of August 2016, for both lunch and dinner menu, at Zen.
For someone who's run two restaurants, being a baker and cook par excellence comes easily to Madhushree . When she's not eating out, she's organizing her own pop ups or experimenting with regional recipes. Her experiments with food and her recipes are part of Pikturenama , where she's a co founder.