It is called 'Hao Chi' A soulful bowl. Hao Chi loosely translated means delicious food in Chinese. A brief and short Chinese food festival in Waterside Cafe in Hyatt Regency Kolkata is presently on.
Chef Sun Wenlin
Chef Sun Wenlin travels from Stix, Hyatt Regency Chennai for this festival in Kolkata. A very simple menu, where part of the menu is also available for the buffet lunch, this is aimed at taking the diners through a focused experience. Chef Sun Wenlin comes from the Shandong region and has created the menu with Sichuan and Cantonese dishes.
The entire festival is divided into Dimsums (how can there be a Chinese festival without a dimsum), Soulful bowls, Chef's specialities along with rice and noodles.
There are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dimsums. There is Steamed Chinese Buns with mushroom, pokchoy and bamboo shoot. The more interesting vegetarian dumpling is of Edamame Beans with a distinct aroma from the truffle oil. That whiff of the truffle oil literally numbs your senses and instantly enhances the experience. Steamed Chicken Taro Dumpling and Steamed Crystal Prawn Dumplings with a salty burst in your mouth fish roe, both are equally good and picking one amongst them will be tough.
A large bowl with rice or noodles along with a dry side sitting on a bed of sauce. It is a perfect one-bowl meal that a person can have.
Shredded Lamb with Noodles
They have a variety of proteins from seafood to chicken, lamb pork and beef. There are a couple of vegetarian options too. One is of potato, onion, black bean chili broth and the second option of lotus root, bokchoy, mushroom, black bean chili broth.
Chicken Dry Hotpot
Instead of a hotpot which is a traditional Chinese way of cooking, we have a dry hotpot here. One has to select from seafood, chicken, lamb, pork and beef. Like the pork which has been imported, Chef Sun has carried with himself the traditional Mala Sauce for this festival.
Yang Zhou Fried Rice
Each comes with a serving of plain rice. One can also select from the specials - 5 spiced rice or Yang Zhou Fried Rice with chicken/ shrimp/pork or ham. The presence of Mala Sauce makes the dishes spicy in addition to the use of Soy sauce, chilli bean sauce, black chilli bean sauce depending upon the dish. Generous portions of the flavourful bowls is truly a soul-satisfying experience
Kung Pao Chicken
The Gong Bao or Kung Po Chicken, which is popularly known as Kung Pao Chicken is one of the highlights of the menu. Cashew nut and leek on the top and schezwan peppercorn, Mala Sauce and soya sauce in the making of this popular dish do justice to its reputation. The balance of the flavours is so incredible. The spice level is just right and one wonders, what a lot of other restaurants sell in the name of Kung Pao Chicken.
Prawns in XO Sauce
Stir-fried Prawns with Bell Pepper Sauce is a must-try dish. The prawns are cooked spot on in a soy-based sauce studded with dried red chillies. There is a hint of sweetness too and it is a perfect accompaniment with Yang Zhou Fried Rice. You could also go with the sliced lamb dish with this fried rice or even the five spiced fried rice.
Mapo Tofu, Fried Eggplant with Sweet Chili Sauce and Sichuan Chili Vegetables are the options in the main course from the vegetarian section. The Stir-fried Noodles are like none we have in our regular Chinese restaurants in the city. In fact, Chef Sun strongly shakes his head with disagreement about the Chinese food in India and says, 'it's not Chinese'. Well, that is the truth and unlike popular belief, the authentic Chinese food is not just bland. There are many regions in China and each region has a distinct flavour profile in their cooking. There are some regions, where the food is extremely spicy, some have bold strong flavours and some mild. For reasons like these and more, it becomes essential to try out these authentic flavours without actually having to travel to China and understand the intricacies of the cuisine.
This festival is there in Waterside Cafe, Hyatt Regency Kolkata until the 21st of June for both lunch and dinner. Cost for 2 would be approximately INR 1500. So, make your reservations for this exquisite Chinese festival at the earliest.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.