The Dragon Boat Festival, is a traditional holiday celebrated by the Chinese on the 5th day of the 5th Month of the Lunar Calendar. It is also known as the Tuen Ng or Duanwu Festival. This colorful festival is steeped in myth and legend and stems from tragedy. 2000 years ago Qu Yuan, a nationalist poet had thrown himself into the river due to some political spat and unable to take matters into his own hands to fix this. The folks from the village had rushed their boats and began throwing rice into the river, beating drums and splashing their oars in the water to scare away the fish or any evil spirits that may prey on his body. This tragedy today has been turned into a wonderful and joyous festival, celebrated annually, with traditional dancing and rhythmic music and elaborately decorated boats, carved and brightly painted from snout to tail to resemble fearsome dragons. This year the festivities will be celebrated from June 9 – 11, 2016.
Bangalore is lucky to have an experience of its kind throughout the month of June via Yauatcha (a Michelin starred restaurant from London, known for and built its reputation as a Dim Sum Tea house). The celebrations will include a limited edition menu created by Head Chef Wang Yixuan featuring zongzi, pyramid-shaped sticky rice dumplings, wrapped in bamboo with various fillings, such as dates, sweetened bean paste, or fresh meat alongside a dessert and an exclusive cocktail.
Menu – The authentic yet contemporary delicacy Zongzi were created with a a twist to suit the Indian palate. I got lucky and to savour each from the menu. A first for me was sticky rice fillings of edamame and vegetarian duck (mock meat which is nothing by Soya chunks). The pork belly with shiitake mushroom, had a more curry like flavor to it and reminded me of having coorgi pork. The one that stood out for me and has to be my favorite is the lamb with pine nuts.
You can chose to accompany the Zongzi with dishes from their regular menu was well. I tried it with Stir-fry chicken breast with Szechuan pepper corn in clay pot and Spicy wild prawn curry with onion and water chestnut (an all time favorite).
“Being a Chinese dim sum tea house, celebrating Chinese traditions at Yauatcha is very important to us. We have created new sticky rice dim sum and wine based cocktail and dessert to stay true to our authentic tradition in China. The menu has been prepared to accentuate all senses – from visual to taste to fragrance.” says, Chef Wang Yixuan, Head Chef of India, Yauatcha.
Cocktail – Citrus Spritz – vodka, dry vermouth, lime, Chandon brut – This is very refreshing drink and the sparkling wine just made it a perfect blend to go with the food. I liked this way too much to be honest and had a second round served.
Dessert – To complete the festive meal, the special Wine-soaked water chestnut with mango cake is served alongside a Sauvignon sorbet, was the highlight, it was such a breath of fresh air. I am not a fan of sweets or desserts, however the Sauvignon sorbet, was a blessing to the palate.
Ambiance – Yauatcha got its name from its creator – Alan “Yau” (who also owns one of the most expensive restaurant called Hakkasan) and “Cha” which is tea in Chinese. It is located in 1MG Mall on the 5th floor. A little surprising you would think for a Michelin restaurant to be housed in a mall? However, make no mistake, the blue tinted glass just gives the passer by a hint of what is taking place indoors. Once you enter one is greeted by the modern yet contemporary lighting and furniture and the bar on the left that boasts an array of liquor to choose from, I heard it’s the longest bar in the city! My favorite part is the open kitchen and sound food being prepared in Wok’s, gives a very distinct resonance of being in the street’s yet dine in style.
The set menu has been carefully curated to save some time on choices to order and it is well proportioned. The Dragon Boat Festival menu is available to order from an a la carte menu from 1st June until 30th June, 2016. Available for both lunch and dinner >> for prices and reservation, visit their website.
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**Disclaimer: Even thou the invite was complimentary, all views expressed are my own.