Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Street Foods, Indian Chinese Cuisine


Given Mumbai's notorious weather, drink stalls are up and about the streets like little oasis, offering cool and sweet respite from the heat.

Falooda is one of the most popular drinks amongst them. It is a sweet concoction of rose syrup, milk, tapioca seeds (the little frog eggs-like bittie bites), sometimes fruits, and vermicelli. Yes, they put noodles in everything here, especially in desserts, that's why I just love this crazy place! Do they just do things the other way around, or are we simply unawares of the full exploits of our everyday food? See why we all need to travel once in a while? :)

I do not take to sweet beverages well, but had to give it a go, the color was tempting and the weather begging. The first sip or so went down well, and brought comfort from the intense heat. Thereafter, I couldn't manage anymore, it was simply too shockingly sweet. But for those amongst you who have a sweet tooth, this is just the thing for you, my friend.

Mystery Snack

The best I can describe the above is a sweet and spicy version of the Behlpuri. It drives me absolutely ballistic when I forget a name of a good dish, I really should strap a notepad to my camera on my future food hunts.

Back to the "mystery" dish, Baby G tells me it's not local to the Mumbai plate, hence his joy upon seeing this at a cafe. Chickpeas make the main, accompanied by a jaw droppingly sweet red sauce and an alarmingly hot HOT green one. I love the extremes. Just wish I could tell you what it was.

Hot & Sour Soup

In India, strong, intense flavors is the way to go, which is why you hardly find subtle tasting cuisine such as Japanese food around. The same goes for Chinese food, but since the Chinese have been here longer they have figured out ways to tweaking their cooking styles to suit local tastes. The result is the ever popular Indian Chinese food.

I kid you not, this is AN ACTUAL CUISINE! Which explains the ever popular Manchurian Chicken/Fish and so on. Think Chop Suey in the US of A, you get my meaning. Native Chinese would never have heard of these dishes otherwise. But I digress.

Baby G ordered for the both of us. Yes, over here, he knows his Chinese. He's the expert. :P

Chow Mien

The experience is quite an experience in itself, if you get my meaning. The restaurant was resembled an Imperial palace preparing for Chinese New Year, with bright red pillars and even brighter Chinese lanterns hanging about. I couldn't help but find this hilarious, it was so stereotypical I felt like I was entering a Chinese Disneyland. I was tickled pink. No! Red! Oh great fun.

Everything here tastes stronger than they do back home. The S&S Soup was thicker and sweeter, the chow mien had a thick S&S sauce dressing it, and I liked what I was tasting! Really!

Chop Suey

As a Chinese, I would be ashamed if I didn't try the Chop Suey. I mean, what is Chop Suey? It is a mixed vegetable dish, with a thick sauce poured over it. Again, great fun. You are not a true Chinese until you have tried this. :P

I liked what I had. If you come here expecting Chinese Chinese you will be disappointed, if not offended. But if you are wiser, you would come here expecting a Different kind of Chinese food, something adapted to India and have come to its own. Like how food from a country can vary so widely between regions, Indian Chinese food is indeed unique and rightfully deserve its own distinction, and its own Wikipedia page.

No comments: