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A taste of the Far East



Chung's Kitchen specializes in Vietnamese and Thai food too.

MANY TINY shops, bakeries, and restaurants jostle each other on the busy BEL Road. If you don't actually look out for this tiny joint, you're bound to miss it. Walk right in and the bright interiors, topped with interesting Chinese paintings and traditional Chinese lamps make up the cosy ambience of Chung's Kitchen.

Started in 1994 by Govind Dhengra in partnership with a friend, Chung's Kitchen is a unit of the Chung Wah chain of restaurants. This joint also has another branch in Sadashivanagar, which "was the first Chinese take away joint in the city," claims Mr. Dhengra. The reason why he started Chung's Kitchen was because he wanted to cater to the people living in the neighbouring Dollar's Colony and students of Ramaiah College.

"The food is authentic, even though the reputed Chinese joints will have altered the taste of a few items to suit the Indian palate," explains Mr. Dhengra.

The restaurant offers starters, soups, noodles, and rice items in the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian section. The best thing about eating here is that the taste is guaranteed and the food does not leave your tummy regretting later. In fact, it is oil-free and even weight-watchers can feast on most of the delicacies without worrying about adding on calories.

Most of the raw material is supplied by Chung Wah, which has also trained the chefs that work at Chung's Kitchen. The chief chef here is Tshiring Lama, who is responsible for all the delicious food served here.

Apart from the usual chowmein, Hakka, and Szechwan varieties, the restaurant offers some unusual dishes. Mr. Lama recommends the Mixed Vegetable Mushroom Bamboo Shoot, Rs. 57, and says that it is the most challenging dish that a chef can attempt to cook. "That is because the vegetables are cooked in a white sauce and it is a bland dish. The technique lies in making this bland dish tasty so that the customer can enjoy it," explains Mr. Lama. He also recommends the Taipei Chicken, with bland kheema, onion, cucumber, garlic, and pepper powder, cooked in brown sauce.

The other dish that tops the list in Mr. Lama's opinion is Kung Pao Chicken, cooked in cashew nut paste and rice wine. The dish, explains the chef, has an interesting story too. It is believed that King Kung Pao asked his cook to prepare something exotic. And when the cook presented this particular dish, the king was so pleased with it that he wanted to know its name, and the chef, who wanted to please the king, immediately replied: `Sire, it is named after you'. That is how the dish gets this name, smiles Mr. Lama. Tsing Hai Chicken is another popular dish. For this the chicken has to be cooked in red spicy sauce and comes dry or with gravy.

The restaurant has recently introduced a Vietnamese dish. It has vermicelli cooked with prawns, and seasoned in oyster sauce. The other surprise at this tiny joint is the Thai food. "As most of the ingredients used and the taste is similar, it was easy for us to add it to our menu," explains Mr. Dhengra.

As the restaurant caters to students, it offers a special menu for them. The dishes in this section are priced at Rs. 55 each, where students can have rice or noodles with shredded chicken, pork, fish, egg, or vegetables, served dry or with gravy. "Pork and fish are popular with the student crowd," observes Mr. Dhengra.

Though most dishes are bland, one can opt for more spices while ordering. But it is always wise to let the chef take the decision, as he is the best judge. The restaurant can seat 34 people at a go and also offers door delivery. Chung's Kitchen is open from noon to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., and it can be contacted on 3413814.

SHILPA SEBASTIAN R.

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