Asian subcontinent is known for its diversity of languages, culture, ethos and yes, flavours! ‘Asian Food Week’ at Wyte Fort Hotel in Maradu brings under a single roof, a culinary exploration of a huge chunk of Oriental countries like India, China, Thailand, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and others.
The festival can rightly be termed as a ‘fusion fete’, as the native cuisine of different countries perfectly blend with each other. “Oriental food festival is a unique concept that has not been attempted before in Kochi. Oriental countries have heterogeneous tastes, and picking out the most exquisite dishes of each place, that can get along with the mood of the festival, was a task worth trying,” says Siji C K, executive chef.
One can start off the delectable journey in a simple way with a hearty Japanese ‘Chicken okaya soup’, the soup of the day, made of assorted chicken and puffed rice. For those who like suave soups, ‘Oriental burnt garlic soup’, a Chinese variety is there.
And passing on the main menu which changes every day, a Taiwanese dish namely ‘Sea food rice in oyster sauce’, a egg fried rice that is marinated with prawns, topped with oyster sauce is worth trying. This dish goes well with ‘Grilled peanut chicken’, a crunchy chicken fry made with peanut butter, lemon grass, basil leaves and ginger.
“Since Asian food are basically curry based, we have opted dishes that have thick gravies,” says Siji. ‘Afghani gosht’ is a lip-smacking curry made with mutton, sauted in onion gravy. “This dish has a North Indian flavour, which makes it popular in India,” says the chef. And there is the famous Persian keema, the spicy delicacy made of beef, onion and garlic, that goes well with naan.
As the flavours of countries like Malaysia and Singapore are not much known here, for those who like to experiment in tastes, there is ‘Mee goreng’, a sweet and spicy Malaysian dish made of yellow noodles stir-fried in soy sauce with chillies, eggs, tomatoes, bean curd, vegetables and shrimp. Singapore style ‘Okra in black beans sauce’ is another must-try dish, made with lady’s fingers and thick sauce.
Japanese ‘Sushi’ made with salmon fish and rice and ‘Momos’, a Chinese dumpling made with flour and chicken, the two popular dishes that have transcended the barriers and reached the city, are also there in a buffet.
From the Arabian kitchen, there is a classic dish, ‘Arabic Mujaddara’, made of lentils and rice, seasoned with cumin and topped with fried onions.
Other dishes in the exhaustive menu are Taiwanese ‘Chilli fish parcel’ made with fillets and garlic, Sri Lankan ‘Sweet potato curry’, Malaysian ‘Squid in soya sauce’, Thai grilled chicken named, ‘Ayam bakar’.
For the die-hard Indian foodies, the menu offers ‘Curd rice’, ‘Subji biryani’, ‘vegetable kurma’ and ‘Paneer butter masala’ and many others. As variety of sprouted beans, garlic and shallot pickles, vegetarian and non-vegetarian salads are also there. The sweet-toothed ones can nibble desserts like ‘Suji Halwa’,
‘Sira pisang’ (banana in thick sugar soup), ‘Golden mango rice’, ‘Getuk lindri’ (made of sweet potato), ‘Shankaya’ (brown rice with coconut milk) and many others.The festival will be on till this Sunday.