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Oriental flavours

It is a mixed fare at the ongoing Oriental festival at Chin Chin, The Residency, T.Nagar. The fete is on till July 14.

THE NAME suggested a freewheeling khichadi in which leftover vegetables and whatever the cook took a fancy to went in. But more often than not, this signature dish, made at home usually when a single dish meal is called for, is thoroughly enjoyable.

The ongoing Oriental festival at Chin Chin, The Residency, T.Nagar, was not different. The flexible name covers a vast area from China to Japan and every thing in between and below. So what we have on the table is a medley of little bit of soy sauce, tofu, lemon grass, coconut, galangal, and bean sauce, all eclectic and engaging.

Day one of the fest had the tables laden with about 25 items. All this at Rs.225 per person.

The highpoints of the spread were honey glazed chicken, paper wrapped fish and eggplant stuffed with sesame chicken. With crunchy dark, golden skin and pink, succulent meat inside, the chicken was certainly something you would go for a second time. I hope this winner will be repeated other nights as well.

The fish was a minimalist dish. Delicate flavouring allowed the fish to work its own magic. It is not often one finds a dish without gravy that hasn't dried up with constant heating on a buffet table. The paper wrap kept the fish from this pitfall.

But the barbequed beef and the bean curd pepper salt in the veg section weren't so lucky. The beef did test one's jaw power. Aubergine and chicken came together so smoothly that they were, to quote the very trite, threadbare ad line `made for each other'.

An interesting Rendang of Indonesian origin drew attention. Unfortunately, the vegetarian section didn't have anything to match the non-veg spread. Baby corn and broccoli in hot bean sauce and adopo or sweet and sour vegetable in coconut sauce were the saving grace on that side of the table. The two varieties of noodles and rice completed the main course array.

The ethnic choices among the desserts lacked lustre. Bubur kachang or green gram in coconut milk and pineapple pancake didn't ring any bell.

Among the other usual gateaux-soufflé-fruit salad-ice cream selection, brulli tart was nice. In fact, it was the right note to end the evening.

The fest is on till July 14.

MARIEN MATHEW

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