I have never heard of meals being served in a hot clay pot ever before and my experience here at the Asia Kitchen by Mainland China was delightful for it was the first time I came across clay pot meals. The restaurant, in an attempt to revive the lost art of cooking, has launched the ‘Clay pot festival’ imbibing 5000 years of Chinese and Pan Asian flavours straight off the hot pot.
As I stepped in, dim lightings and red on brown interiors greeted me. The space was cool and pleasing and was enough to make me go hungry (I guess it must have been the red interiors that triggered my hunger pangs). And thus started my stomach fest. I began by diving into Chicken clay pot rice – steamed rice with boiled chicken and egg. Every bite is mixed with smoking steam that comes off each grain of rice. The rice were long and super soft and so were the minced pieces of chicken. It was perfectly cooked, making it the right combo to mix along with other clay pot gravy.
Sanpei chicken is a semi-gravy with super soft piece of chicken that is mixed by garlic, mild chilli along with cabbage and greens. The chicken had a tangy vibe and tasted like a typical Chinese dish. Chewing it along with rice was awesome as the mix gives you an enticing kick. Similarly, King Prawns in Tau Chew sauce was fantastic. The prawns were quite large (I haven’t seen such large pieces ever before). Tau Chew sauce sogged the prawns with its saucy flavour, making it more softer to chew.
Another satisfying dish was the shredded duck with mango in a clay pot. The duck was chopped into long slender pieces. The meat was a bit hard to chew unlike the chicken and prawns which were delightfully soft. The gravy was flavoured with strong spices making it hot. However with the right amount of rice, you can manage to balance your fiery tastebuds.
The vegetarian course of the clay pot festival has interesting dishes to offer. It included the sichuan Vegetables in a clay pot which was super spicy. Likewise, sapo vegetables was too spicy. The dishes were brimmed with finely chopped chunks of cabbage, onions, greens and other fresh veggies mixed with hot gravy. The service here is spectacular and of course, you can’t miss the fresh appetizers served before the start of your main course.
(The Asia Kitchen is located at The spring, Ground floor, No 11, Kodambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Next to Hotel Palmgrove. For details, contact 93600 91311 and 2827 5067.)