Thursday, December 11, 2014

MY FAVOURITE “CHINESE” FOOD – MIXED FRIED RICE and AMERICAN CHOP-SUEY

MY FAVOURITE “CHINESE” FOOD
MIXED FRIED RICE AND AMERICAN CHOPSUEY
Irresistible Food Combination
By
VIKRAM KARVE

CHOP-SUEY

I do not profess to be a culinary expert.

Nor do I claim to be “high falutin” connoisseur or snooty gourmand.

I am no authority on the “finer” aspects of “fine dining”.

I am simple trencherman who loves eating.

I live to eat (and not eat merely to live).

I believe in the dictum: THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE THAN THE LOVE OF EATING 

I don’t believe in “starters”.

“Starters” ruin your appetite

I don’t believe in drinking alcohol. 

Yes, I do not believe in drinking alcohol especially before a delicious meal.

Alcohol dulls the taste buds.

I believe in getting down to eating the main course of the meal straightaway.

That is why when I go to a Chinese Restaurant I don’t waste time looking at the menu card.

I just sit down and order right away: Mixed Fried Rice and American Chopsuey

If Mixed Fried Rice is not available, then I may settle for Chicken Fried Rice and American Chopsuey.

But if American Chopsuey is not on the menu, I prefer to walk out of the restaurant.


MOUTHWATERING MEMORIES OF KAMLING

My first memories of Chinese Food is in the Poona of the 1960’s when there was a famous quintessential Chinese Restaurant called KAMLING on East Street (General Thimayya Road) in Pune Camp (Those days Pune was called Poona).

Kamling shut down a few years ago.

Now there is the popular vegetarian thali restaurant called Mayur in its place.

(Someone told me that even Mayur has relocated).

Nowadays, there are many other eateries in Pune which serve Chinese Food.

But those days, as far as food was concerned, in Pune, Chinese Cuisine was synonymous with Kamling.

Whenever we were in a mood for Chinese Food we visited Kamling.

Those days there was no concept of “starters” which ruin your appetite.

We got down to eating straightaway.

The order was simple: MIXED FRIED RICE and AMERICAN CHOP-SUEY.

As far as Chinese Food was concerned, this combination was matchless, and the most popular too.

The “Mixed” Fried Rice was embellished with a variety of vegetables and meats – there were boneless pieces of stir fried Red Meats, White Meats and an assortment of Seafood – yes, there were delicious crisply fried pieces of tasty chicken, mutton, pork, fish, prawns – it had a bit of everything, and nourishing pieces of scrambled eggs too.

Now-a-days you don’t get the same high standard of Mixed Fried Rice anymore, so I make do with Chicken Fried Rice.

And to combine with the Fried Rice there is nothing to beat American Chop-Suey.  

American Chopsuey is a delicious stew comprising a variety of stir fried meats, seafood and vegetables blended into a sweet and sour tasting tangy vegetable sauce and then spread over crispy fried noodles topped with a fried egg.

It is a spectacular looking colourful dish which whets your appetite and is truly scrumptious. 

Just looking at the appealing dish and breathing in the appetizing aroma of its alluring flavours makes your mouth water in anticipation.

I love American Chopsuey.

I find irresistible its delicious Umami taste, and American Chopsuey combines perfectly with Fried Rice.

Like I said, some people say that Chop-Suey is not “authentic” Chinese Cuisine, but it is actually an improvised Chinese-American Fusion Dish.

After liberalization and with the advent of globalization, there have opened in Pune a  number of “gourmet” Chinese restaurants serving “authentic” Chinese Cuisine.

Many of these “high falutin” Eateries do not even feature American Chopsuey on the menu.

But let me tell you that way back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, in those good old “socialist” days of the “Licence Permit Quota Raj”, American Chopsuey featured prominently on the menu of every Chinese Restaurant.

American Chopsuey was the most popular dish, and, in fact, in those good old days – those nostalgic glorious unliberalized and unglobalized “Licence Permit Quota Raj” “socialist” days of the 1960’s and 1970’s  American Chopsuey was a “benchmark” or yardstick by which to evaluate a Chinese Restaurant.

Like I told you, sadly, the inimitable Kamling has shut down many years ago.

Well, if you are a fine dining connoisseur, you may say that Chop-Suey is “fake” Chinese Cuisine.

But for a hungry trencherman like me there is nothing to beat a piping hot combination of Mixed Fried Rice and American Chopsuey.

Happy Eating !!! 

VIKRAM KARVE
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All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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