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Chinese for vegans

The Chinese vegetarian spread at Buddha's Delight promises to be good for your health and purse


TO MANY, the words vegetarian and Chinese would seem an unlikely twosome. But head to Buddha's Delight, a newly-opened restaurant at Comfort Inn Grand, and treat yourself to dishes that are made just for vegans.

At Buddha's Delight, billed as the first of its kind in India, one can savour the choicest dishes while keeping the bulge at bay.

Interiors

The interior of the restaurant has been tastefully done in keeping with the theme. The walls have been decorated with Chinese calligraphy on `good health' and good health. A waiter attired in a Chinese robe welcomes you. Tablemats with easy-to-comprehend diagrams to guide the uninitiated on the use of chopsticks might encourage diners to eat Chinese food the way the Chinese eat it.

An important ingredient in most of the dishes is `tofu,' which is cottage cheese made from the milk of soyabean. Most of the ingredients used in the restaurant's kitchen are imported from Singapore, claim the staff.


There is an elaborate spread on offer at Buddha's. If you are not quite sure of what to make of names like `Moon Faan' or `C.C.B.C,' there are always waiters to help you choose from the spread. The menu card, made of silk, carries a two-line description of each recipe. If you walk in famished and hungry, you would not have to wait for long as the restaurant promises delivery within "one-and-a-half minutes" of placing the order. Starting with soups such as `Jade soup' and `Glass Noodles Soup,' one can try out crisp and deep-fried starters such as `Tofu fritters' (tofu fingers fried and tossed in oyster chilly sauce) or `Dragon's Eyes' (lichees dipped in batter, deep-fried and served with green Thai sauce (priced at Rs.76 a plate of six pieces) before settling for the main course with rice or noodles.

The soup is served in a tureen that has provision to hold a burning candle. For those who wish to avoid deep-fried starters, healthier options such as `dumplings' are also available. Also known as `sui mai' or `momo,' these dumplings are various fillings wrapped in thin pancakes and steamed. The `vegetable sui mai' costs Rs. 50 for a plate of six pieces.

Main course varieties such as `Tofu on fire' with `three flavoured rice' are becoming popular with the customers, say the staff at the restaurant.

`Tofu on fire' is a delectable affair made of tofu cakes tossed with Schezwan sauce and served on a sizzling platter. It goes well with a rice or noodle dish. `Tofu on fire' costs Rs.125 while `three flavoured rice' is priced at Rs.90.

Dessert

Those with a sweet tooth can choose from traditional Chinese desserts such as `Darsaan' or a `Date pancake.' `Darsaan' is made of crisp, deep fried refined flour strips that is tossed in honey and garnished with nuts. A popular dessert is fried ice cream called `Sweetie cuttie.' Says the chef, Abeyson Mathew, who has been trained in Singapore: "Our fried ice creams are made by deep-frying thinly coated batter over bread sandwiched with ice cream."

The best way to round off a meal is to take sips of Chinese green tea. The green tea is supposed to improve digestion and helps to break down the oil easily. Also on offer are beverages such as fruit juice and non-alcoholic beer.

Buddha's Delight plans to introduce new varieties of ice cream for diabetics and lunch `thalis' at affordable rates. The restaurant arranges birthday parties and celebrations and is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

REMA SUNDAR

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