I am certain that at least half of my reader population by now knows I am a sucker of Oriental cuisine! And actually, since I am based out of Kolkata, it’s pretty easy for me to pamper my taste buds with these flavors because we have got a plethora of places serving a huge variety of Oriental cuisine, predominantly Chinese food! Starting from roadside thela (hand cart) to swanky 5-star properties, everywhere you will find Chinese food in this city.
Then there is Chinatown at Tangra and Chinese breakfast galore at Territy bazaar to add to this, though they have left their golden days behind as most of the Chinese families are leaving the city, they are just leaving behind their tradition and recipes for us! Anyway recently I was pleasantly surprised when I found a full-fledged Chinese food festival running housefull at the grandiose property of Hyatt Regency, Kolkata!
It’s the ‘Hăo Chī’ food festival which is running at the Waterside Café and this festival will be on till Sunday 23rd June, so basically it’s still an ongoing food festival as I am writing about my experience at this food festival. Hao Chi literally means delicious and the one that is good to eat and tasty. Here at Waterside Café, the Hao Chi festival revolves ‘round soulful bowls! Basically, this is a very popular concept these days and I personally love having my meals in a bowl, especially during lunch hours when I am in a hurry.
Such a Meal in a Bowl will basically comprise of all the necessary elements like veggies, rice or noodles, proteins, etc so that you get a complete meal straight from a bowl! And I really think Waterside Café was lacking some good oriental food in their menu, so that’s why the introduction of Hao Chi has been very accepted by all the guests.
The festival has been curated by Chef Sun Wenlin who has actually got his roots in China! Chef has added his specialties as well in this menu besides those Soulful Bowls. I loved watching his culinary skills as he was preparing a pork and noodles bowl for me! His bright smile and the authentic Chinese flavors served in a bowl truly made my day.
By the way, I was also told that Chef Sun hails from Shadong Linshu, China. He has got more than 15 years of experience under his belt and has worked at Stix, Hyatt Regency Chennai. He is always obsessed with perfection. I actually felt that’s very true since I absolutely loved every nibble of the food he had cooked for me! It was evident that he adored what he cooked, lovely connecting and interacting with him although with a translator.
Now when I was seated at the Waterside Café, I noticed the pricing of these a la carte items from the Hao Chi Festival. I was actually pleasantly surprised because the pricings were extremely pocket-friendly and will definitely bring you back for more! It can be compared to any standalone Chinese restaurant in the city. I was so amazed that I asked my friend if this is the correct Menu Card!!
The items are priced between INR 200 to INR 900 with only two items going above INR 700! Let me tell you, this is a deal you ideally should not miss! Good authentic Chinese food prepared right in front of you by Chef Wenlin, and priced so damn reasonably – it seriously felt somewhat dreamy!!
Now let me quickly run you through the menu and my picks from this food festival! Firstly the menu has got four parts (as you can see in this picture above) – you can opt for baskets of Dim sums as an appetizer followed by the Soulful Bowls. Now here in these Meals in a Bowl, you will get veggies, rice or noodles prepared as per your preference from the menu and choice of proteins like Pork, Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Seafood, etc. There are also veg options available comprising of mushrooms, lotus roots, bokchoy, etc. I tried the Steamed Chicken Taro dumplings and the Steamed Crystal Prawn dumplings with fish eggs! I quite liked them both though I felt the chicken variant had a little edge surprisingly over the prawn dumpling.
Now the other two sections in this Hao Chi Menu are ‘Chef Sun Wenlin Specialties’ and ‘Rice and Noodles’. And somehow while I was dining there the Soulful Bowls got infused with this fourth section of the menu i.e. the ‘Rice and Noodles’. This is because we opted for the Yang Zhou Pork Ham fried rice for one Bowl which also had Chicken dry hot pot. And the other Soulful Bowl that we curated had Stir-fried noodles with seasonal veggies and an amazing Pork belly side dish from the ‘Soulful Bowl’ section of the menu. As I am writing this I am still missing that crispy fried pork belly dish from that bowl, it had the perfect balance of lean meat and fat with spices sipped deep inside the meat. The touch of Sichuan pepper and chilly oil gave that flavorful edge to this pork dish which is hard to forget, these are the fond food memories that make some meals so special!
I also loved the Five Spiced Fried Rice which I had separately; it had the right proportion of flavors added to it making it subtle, aromatic and flavorful. Coming to Chef Sun Wenlin Specialties, this section has got all the side dishes which you surely can’t miss. Although if you are in a hurry you can just settle for a Soulful Bowl and that should suffice. Anyway, I always feel, one bowl meal is way too cozy and perfect for a weekday lunch when you are at work!
From this array of sides, I tried the Stir Fried Prawns with Bell peppers in XO sauce, Kung Pao Chicken with a dose of ginger, vinegar and cashew nuts, and thin sliced Lamb stir fried with onion, chili flakes and cumin. According to me, the sliced tender lamb dish was the highlight and it was absolutely bursting with flavors! It had that touch of perfection in it which can’t be ignored. But it won’t be justified if I don’t speak about the other two side dishes as they were also fabulous, to be honest.
The stir-fried prawns were quite huge and handsome drenched in XO sauce waiting on our plates ready to be savored. Also, the Kung Pao Chicken became special because of the quality of the chicken pieces used, which were tender bouncy and soaked in spices, dark soya, and dried chilies.
Overall the meal was super satisfying and I felt I should let my friends and readers know about this gem of a Chinese food galore here at Waterside Café. I would like to close this article by congratulating Chef Sun Wenlin and Hyatt Regency Kolkata team for curating and executing this Hao Chi food festival so well. Guests are already loving the food and I am sure they will demand ‘once more’ when this festival finishes!!
- What: Hao Chi food festival
- Where: Waterside Café, Hyatt Regency Kolkata
- When: 14th to 23rd June 2019, Lunch and Dinner
- Price: a la carte pricing, approx INR 2000 for two
Disclaimer: Foodiedada was invited by Hyatt Regency (Kol) management for tasting and review purpose