A meal to remember at Memories of China (Vivanta by Taj)

There was a good run of Chinese New Year food festivals to bring in the Year of the Rooster in Bangalore this year, and I managed to catch three or four over the course of the 15-day long celebrations. Memories of China, Vivanta by Taj, M.G Road’s signature Chinese restaurant, helmed by Chef William Tong, was the grand finale to my CNY celebrations. Chef had curated a menu of special dishes, including a few from his main menu, and for that I am very thankful, since I can get my favorites even after the festival’s done! Memories of China has been in existence for a really long time, and it is heartening to see a place not just maintain its standards or rest on its laurels, but continue to deliver fantastic (and dare I say it, “authentic”) food and a wonderful dining experience. Now, without further ado: here are the dishes we tried at the CNY festival.

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Fried Prawn coated with Wasabi and Mayo and topped with Caviar! Now that’s how you kick off a celebratory meal!

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Haricots Vert with crushed Yellow Bean (Douchi): I could have kept eating this all night – crispy, tangy, and delicious!

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Shiitake Mushrooms with Bok Choy – the latter was cooked beautifully and retained its crunch, and the mushrooms were the perfect companion – not overpowering the delicate flavor of the bok choy.

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Singing Chicken – a sizzling chicken dish with dried red chillies, mushrooms, squash and more.

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Traditional Lamb Belly served in a clay pot – strong flavors and tender meat.

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Our Dish of the Night: Stir Fried Sliced Fish with Egg white. This really was something else, flavor wise! Egg white with Grouper fish and then finished with chillies – a new combination and a deadly one!

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A perennial favorite: Burnt Garlic Fried Rice. The portion was large enough for feed five of us!

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Ginseng (Hotel Royal Orchid)

Gong hei fat choy! Happy Chinese New Year! The Chinese Zodiac works on a Lunar calendar, and each year is represented by an animal, repeated every twelve years. Tomorrow, January 28th heralds the start of the Year of the Rooster. And some of the fine dine Chinese restaurants in Bangalore are creating special menus to celebrate, and the first one I got to experience is the festival menu at Ginseng, the Pan Asian restaurant at The Hotel Royal Orchid Hotel, which runs for just the week, ending Saturday, January 28th.

The menu is a compilation of Chef Neeraj’s favorite dishes and was quite expansive, considering the duration of the festival! There was plenty to choose from for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. While everyone who knows me knows that I am a dedicated carnivore, this is one of those occasions when the seconds I went back for all ended up being the veg dishes. The Crispy Waterchestnut Honey Mustard was unusual and it’s not often that one gets waterchestnuts on the menu here, so that was a total winner, as was the Stir Fried Chinese Greens with Burnt Garlic. A special shout-out to the man behind the bar – the cocktails we ordered (from the regular menu) were all really good, well-balanced, and with nice flavors. The fortune cookies we ended the meal on was a nice touch, and again, something that’s rare to find locally. And now, here are the photos from the lovely meal we enjoyed a couple of nights ago.