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China wall on a platter

Chinese Food Festival unfolds the taste of mysterious cuisines from the East at the Central-In in Guntur. Believe us! There are no snakes or lizards, it is all about rice noodles and tangy chicken, writes Ramesh Susarla.


CHINESE NOODLES are a household name, but a mystery shrouds other Chinese cuisines that have not penetrated the prohibitive four walls of five-star hotels in a majority of Indian cities. Spicy vegetable soups to Shanghai vegetable starters; crisp pepper lamb to chilli crab; chicken Thai red curry to Shanghai fried rice are some of the cuisines from the East on offer at the Chinese Food Festival that has been a feast to the taste buds of spicy food-loving youth of Guntur at its own Red Square!

Delicacies from the Thai, Mongolian and Hong Kong kitchens are being served to order in the hotel Central In at the Naaz Centre with the right ambience created for the food lovers with the `Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai' theme. It's a Red Carpet welcome to the food lovers into the Central-In's Sourabha Restaurant, which has been converted into a mini Chinese town. Flags of both nations flutter all along the corridor to be led into a `Dragon's mouth'.

Dragons stare at you from all the walls inside the restaurant with specially designed red lamp-shades amidst festoons typically from that part of the world. "It has been our endeavour to provide variety of cuisines keeping original taste intact, be it our very own Bommidala pulusu or north Indian dishes at our multi-cuisine restaurant and the Chinese Food Festival is to make our people taste some of the spicy and exotic dishes,'' says Naidu Srinivas, managing partner of Central-In.

Thai food is dominantly coconut-based, which is showcased in the Vegetarian Thai Julienne Soup -- a soup of spinach and tomatoes served with coconut flavour. As a non-vegetarian Chicken Menchow soup could quench your curiosity.

Chicken stock cooked with minced vegetables and garnished with fried noodles provides the right kick to relish the rest of the fare.

Rajesh from Rampur Hotel in Bangalore brought in for the food festival is bubbling with enthusiasm to show his culinary skills to the people of Guntur and for a starter Shanghai Vegetables is the Chef's Pick.

Minced vegetables dipped in schezwan sauce initiates you to spicy curries and fried rice.

You could also choose vegetable balls deep-fried and tossed in Pukinan sauce. "Chinese and Thai food is usually boiled, economising on oil for the health-conscious eater in contrast to the fat-rich and spicy Indian food,'' sums up Santosh B. Atak, an expert chef at Amaravathi in Maharashtra, who along with Rajesh would dish out the fare during the week.

Chicken whole bird and Croissant fried chicken are the most attractive when served with garnishing. Presentation makes all the difference in the festivals, which has been taken care of by the chefs duo by decorating tables and dishes with specially designed vegetables, boiled eggs and coloured icing on loafs.


For the fish lovers, Tuna fish is the attraction along with marinated prawns added to capsicum, onion and tomatoes and a bit of butter tossed in.

Chilli crab and fried pomfret are the other seafood specialities on offer. Crab meat minced with green chillies, ginger and garlic and deep-fried will go down the throat like butter opines, Santosh.

Singapore Fried Rice, a class apart, is the favourite of rice lovers. Tonnes of vegetables, right mix of pineapple, honey, stone flower, dry fruits, and mushrooms would provide the right taste that lasts in the mouth hours after leaving the place.

China Wall or the Chinese Platter is the main attraction providing a scope to families to taste all Chinese dishes on offer.

An assortment of the best of the Chinese delicacies, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian can be had.

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