Friday, July 10, 2009

Delectible Chinese Fare

Charsiew Bao at Taipan New DelhiI was on a three-city tour that took me to Mumbai, Bangalore, and New Delhi within the span of four days. This whirlwind tour was particularly draining as I moved from hotel to car to airport every few hours, but at the end of it all there was a sense of achievement. However, since this is not blog where I talk about my Clark Kent persona, let me quickly morph into SuperFoodie and tell you about some fantastic culinary discoveries in these cities.

Taipan, the rooftop restaurant at The Oberoi in New Delhi serves up some of the best dim-sums in this country; they even have dim sum lunches on weekends. I discovered this on the day I was flying back home.

Dim Sum at Taipan Oberoi New Delhi
Dim Sum at Taipan Oberoi New DelhiIt seems dim sums first began appearing in the many tea houses that lined the Silk Route in southern China and Hong Kong. While initially it was taboo to serve food in tea houses, that began to change. Soon, there were places that specialized in dim sums lining the streets of Canton and the small cities frequented by weary travellers. At this time, dim sums places open as early as 5 AM in the morning to dish out the most sumptuous steamed dumplings to locals. Many places continue through the day when tourists pour in to sample these delicacies that touch the heart (dim sum literally means ' little bit of heart').

Starters at Taipan Oberoi New Delhi
Hot and Sour Soup at Taipan Oberoi New DelhiThe dim sum lunch at the Taipan included a choice of soup, a small selection of starters, lots of dim sums, noodles and a choice of dessert. I began with the Szechwan hot and sour soup with chicken. Starters included a shrimp wanton, prawn on roll and chicken spring roll. But what really got the taste buds going were the items to follow.

The Peking Duck pancakes were excellent. I didn't want to stuff myself so I could do justice to the dishes that were to come, but I couldn't resist polishing off both the pancakes they served.

Peking Duck Pancakes at Taipan Oberoi New DelhiThen came a series of bamboo dim sum containers with shrimp har gau, scallop and prawn dumplings, shrimp and asparagus dumplings, chicken and shrimp siewmai, chicken and lotus root dumpling, chicken and bell pepper, chicken and red pumpkin... you get the idea? Mouth-watering dim sums, one after the other, bursting with taste, flavour and occasionally singeing my mouth as I greedily dug into them.

Dim sums in Taipan Oberoi New Delhi
Dim sums in Taipan Oberoi New DelhiI particularly remember the Chicken nor mai gai - lotus wrapped sticky rice and chicken - and the Charsiew bao - barbecue pork filled buns. I wondered who could order noodles after that feast. But I had to try a dessert. My waitress recommended the chilled mango pudding, the lightest among the selection of desserts which turned out just right for me.

Mango Pudding at Taipan New Delhi
Taipan Oberoi New Delhi
Taipan Oberoi New DelhiTaipan is a truely elegant restaurant set against a panoramic view of the city and perfect for the dim sum lover. This is a great place for a business lunch or for an intimate dinner.

A few days earlier, I dined at the opulent China House within the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. A restaurant like no other, China House exudes a sense of magnificence that is difficult to match. Featuring multiple interactive Chinese kitchens, private spaces and a high-energy lounge, this place creates a new paradigm for Chinese dining, where the cuisine is contemporary and presented with flair and creativity in captivating surroundings.

China House Grand Hyatt MumbaiLocated on the lobby level, China House has four distinct areas: the garden, the restaurant, the I Deck private lounge and the high-energy lounge. The restaurant itself flaunts five eye-catching open kitchens and private dining rooms (called Ginger, Chilli, Cinnamon and Nutmeg).

The most interesting feature here are the interactive open kitchens that consist of five stations – an appetiser section, a noodle and dumpling station, the Peking Duck station, the wok section and the dessert station. The Pick Your Fish corner, where guests can select their favourite seafood and the wood-fired Peking Duck oven are also a foodie's delight.

Seafood Fried Rice with Claypot Chicken in China House MumbaiThe Claypot Chicken with Smoked Bamboo Shoots in Chili sauce was quite delightful, with delicate flavors that brought out the best of the fresh ingredients. We paired this dish with the Seafood Fried Rice which had a liberal amount of seafood.

Green Tea Mousse at China House MumbaiThe dessert of a Green Tea flavored mousse with home-made passion-fruit (?) ice-cream was incredibly good. This is a restaurant now on my must-return list. The only dampener was they do not like cameras within the premises - Bollywood stars frequent this place often and that's probably the reason why.

13 comments:

Sig said...

It's so cool that we get everything in India now! I hadn't even heard of dim sum before I came here... I love the pics!

kyh said...

good job in naming all those dim sums correctly. it's nice to see chinese restaurants sprouting up in india.

do you guys have xiao long baos there? they are delicious, or so i heard, since i havent tried them before, lol!

Shantanu said...

@Sig: You are absolutely right. I didn't taste my first dim sum until I began travelling abroad. But now, most decent Chinese restaurants do have a few on their menu. However, the Taipan is by far the most authentic but upscale and expensive. Incidently, momos - a local version from the Himalayan north have been in India for a while, but only as street food in Delhi, UP and other North Indian cities.

@Kyh: Thank you! Yes, xiao long baos are available in a few restarants. Actually, the charsiew bao is rarely available.

Vijayendra Darode said...

True, that momos are like distinct cousins of the more famous dim-sums, however, momos are available in Pune too.

Have your share of momos at Monsoon Momos in Model Colony (Near DSK Toyota showroom). Monsoon Momos serve by far the best momos in town, and yes don't forget to try their Thukpa (Sikkimese clear noodle soup). Truly divine.

Onion Insights said...

Hi Shantanu,

Nice post. We at Onion Insights (onioninsights.blogspot.com) are always happy to come across bloggers like you. We are also glad to inform you that your writing skills can now be put to good use and you can make some extra money too. Sign up as a freelance Mystery Shopper - go to www.sassieshop.com/2eyp and select New Shopper Signup with Onion Insights - A Boutique Mystery Customer Experience Management firm and get paid for telling us your shopping or dining experience. You read correctly - you get paid for shopping!
For more details log on to www. onioninsights.blogspot.com, read our blog and give us a call on +919769781001 or shoot us an email at support @onioninsights.com. An OI Team Member will get in touch with you as soon as possible! There are many Mystery Shopping assignments and five star property reviews available in Pune. Hoping to hear from you soon.

Warm Regards,
OI Team.

Zhu said...

Ah, the food looks very familiar this time! Dum Sun, Xiumai are my favorite. And the sweet and sour soup is yummy too!

RennyBA said...

Sounds like a perfect India round trip and what wonderful fare - great pics to document as always - thanks for taking us with!

Shantanu said...

@Vijayendra: Hey thanks for pointing me to the momo place in Pune. Have to try that, especially now during the rains!

@Onion: Thank you for the invite; but I blog for fun and not for money.

@Zhu: I bet this looks familiar to you!

@Renny: Thanks for visiting.

Ashish said...

Dim sums :) very very nice.

Returning to your blog after a while and enjoyed each and every post. The chilled mango pudding looks fab !

indicaspecies said...

That Green Tea flavord mousse..yummy!
Are dim-sums same as Momos that we get in the north- north-eastern states of India?

Shantanu said...

@Ashish: Good to see you back here.

@indicaspecies: Dim-sums have a lot of variety in both the filling as well as the wrapping. Momos are an Indian/Nepalese version with a thicker wrap.

indicaspecies said...

Thank you for the info.

Mixed Drink Recipes said...

Terrific post! Thanks for sharing.