Here are excerpts of an exclusive chit-chat with us.
India’s rendezvous with international food began with Chinese cuisine. Where does it stand its chance now, after India’s exposure to global food?
Chinese food has been in India for years, and was one of the first foreign cuisines to be tried by the otherwise conservative Indian palate. When it comes to awareness about Chinese cuisine, not too many people know about its diversity. For most people, Chinese food is ‘Szechaun noodles’ or ‘ Chicken fried rice’, but Chinese food has a rich, vast cultural background and recipes are thousands of years old. Even now Chinese cuisine is sometimes mistaken with pan Asian cuisine. Authentic Chinese food is still an unexplored territory here as it is about hundreds of cooking styles and techniques.
Have you ever tasted Indo-Chinese? What is your take on it?
Yes I have tasted it. It’s a good after drink food, to fill the stomach. Though there are no particular flavours that stand out, it’s the spiciness and heat in the dish that makes it tasty. I have noticed that no attention is given to the finesse of the dish. It is made to satiate the spicy taste bud of Indians.What distinguishes Pan Asian cuisine from others ?
Yauatcha is known for it’s modern Cantonese cuisine, which comes under Chinese category which further comes under the pan- Asian umbrella. The basic ingredients, spices and the style of cooking sets the cuisines apart. Pan Asian cuisine involves dishes from Malaysia, China, Burma, Indonesian etc. Cuisines have evolved basis the availability of three elements. In these countries you will find a lot of rice fields, hot spices, citrus fruits and hence the pan Asian cuisine will have a heavy influence of these ingredients, and they will overlap with each other. Similarly other cuisines like Mexican and Japanese, use ingredients that are easily available to them.
What are the few ingredients that Chinese cuisine cannot do without?
Soy sauce, Sichuan peppercorn, mushrooms, rice or noodles, bean curd, vinegar and for some dishes Chinese wine.
Many people have started avoiding Chinese because it is believed to be high on MSG. What is your take on the fact?
At our restaurant, we do not add MSG to our food. We take our Food Safety Policy very seriously, and hence follow guidelines. I am sure all responsible restaurants do so.
Which is your favourite cuisine and why?
Since I come from Guandong, which is the heart of Canton region, I personally like Cantonese food, especially dim sum. I learnt cooking from my family, and have grown up eating dim sums, and I have some very fond memories of those days.
Name a Chinese/Pan Asian dish that is a weight watcher’s delight?
All steamed dim sums are light to eat and are packed with meat and vegetables that are fresh. For example the Vegetable chive dumpling or the Crystal dumpling or even the Har gau at Yauatcha are super healthy.Salad cakes are hugely becoming popular. Are they really healthy?
Salad cakes are a fad that started in Japan, and just like any other fad, it will generate some curiosity and then fizzle out. I don’t see it picking up in India.