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Noodles and chopsticks

For the real taste, check out the festival at Shikaar



Photo: K. Gajendran

CHEF KALEY MA'S 25 years of experience brings him close to cooking authentic Chinese dishes. A Chinese settled in Chennai, the chef was specially invited to the Shikaar & Mexican Restaurants for the ongoing `Noodles festival'. The chef carefully chose a range of noodles-based items in the menu, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, that includes Chinese, Malay, Thai and Indonesian dishes.

For the vegans, Vegetable Noodle Rolls or Fried Noodle Wontons are the best bet as starters to go with Manchow Noodle Soup (which may taste bland at the first sip but the tanginess can be felt all through your throat to your stomach) or Talumein Soup (a sour, spicy and thick Shandong specialty). Non-vegetarians can try out Sesame Noodle Patties ("provided you don't mind sesame oil - it's not liked by all as it gives a burnt smell to the dish," says the chef) or go in for Fried Seafood Noodle Wontons with Chicken Hot Pot Soup (topped with crisp noodles) or Wonton Noodle Soup.

If you enjoy spicy stuff, Mandarin Noodles (vegetarian served with shredded veggies and non-vegetarian with meat or seafood of your choice, both with a touch of chilly), can be your pick for the main course. Or, perhaps, while vegetarians can opt for Wonton Yang Mein, non-vegetarians can go for Mee-Goreng (where oyster sauce is used to give it its unique flavour). But for those who want something more authentic and don't mind experimenting, there is Velvet Noodles (served with button mushrooms, Chinese cabbage and sesame oil - with or without chicken/ seafood), which is yummy and real velvety, or Kway Teo (a Malaysian dish). While flour noodles are common in most dishes, rice noodles are used as a base in a few specialty dishes for variety. Round off your meal with Honey Crisp Noodle with Ice Cream (chef's recommendation) or the Chinese way with Date Pancake with Ice Cream.

About the food festival, M. Chandra Mohan, Operations Manager, Shikaar & Mexican Restaurants (Road No. 2, Near TDP Trust Office, Banjara Hills, Tel: 23542835/ 56508454), says: "Chinese food festival is held everywhere. So, to give our customers something unique, we concentrated on a specific dish. And, we also wanted to tell them that we serve Chinese cuisine in addition to Indian and Mexican cuisines. We are planning to include the items which are a hit during the festival in our regular menu." So, if you like something, remember to tell them.

After the meal, you may perhaps think the noodles are not truly authentic but "since Chinese dishes are bland, however authentic the dish might be, we need to spice it up to adapt it to the Indian palate," says Chandra Mohan. While more festivals are on anvil, for now dig into tasty noodle varieties, the Chinese way with chopsticks before the festival ends on November 16.

S.N.

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