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Watch what you eat!

PLACING AN order in a dimly lit Chinese restaurant is the easiest part. But the most difficult part is waiting endlessly for the order to arrive and being completely in the dark on the type of ingredients, spices and sauces being used by the chef.

With open kitchens becoming increasingly the trend, one can now pick and choose from the grocery tray and watch the ever-energetic chefs exhibiting their culinary skills. That's the scene at Chins restaurant at New Delhi's Jaypee Siddharth hotel, which greets you with an elegant décor and an aroma of sumptuous Chinese food. You can choose from a wide array of Szechwan, Peking and Cantonese.

Sparkling imported gadgets deck up a superb kitchen. Working under the supervision of Sous Chef G.D. Joshi - who intermittently gives instructions - the chefs are told to keep the level of chillies to the minimum while preparing Hong Kong style tiger prawns. They stylishly slice the prawns, marinate them and put them on a large griddle.

The chefs take care to ensure that the taste of the jumbo-sized prawns is retained. Even while mixing egg white, gin, cauliflower and ginger sauce with the prawns they show patience by explaining every process of preparation.

A majority of food lovers go in for the hot and spicy Szechwan cuisine. A few go in for Cantonese and Peking type. Chef Joshi says that predominantly customers prefer Chinese just the way "chefs in Beijing's restaurants prepare." To get authentic Chinese aroma and flavour he uses imported sauces from South East Asia.

Though food writers discourage customers from trying seafood during monsoons, one is prepared for a bit of adventure. The prawns are refreshingly fresh and succulent. The gravy isn't tempting enough but the prawns certainly are, thanks to the excellent quality and painstaking process of marination.

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