Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the tag “chinese new year”

Review: Chinese New Year Celebrations at ChaoBella

The Chinese New Year Menu!

The Chinese New Year Menu!

When we think of Chinese food, what is the first thing that comes to mind? I don’t know about you but my mind lights up with the thought of steamed dumplings in bamboo steamers. That’s what most of us immediately associate Chinese food with I presume. So, to celebrate the Year of the Rooster, ChaoBella at Crowne Plaza Today Okhla have decided to let patrons get a taste of authentic food, beyond the usual fare. Their Chinese New Year celebrations are on till February 13, 2017 and starts from Rs 450 onwards.

As I walk into the hotel’s Italian and Chinese restaurant ChaoBella, my stomach growls in anticipation. Chinese is an all-time favourite and actually works as comfort food. I think at least once I week I do indulge in Chinese food, homemade if not store bought. I’ve probably imbibed this from my father. He needs to try Chinese at least once wherever he travels to, even if in a place which has no Chinese connections!

Anyway I digress. So as I was seated by the window, I was presented with the menu. It looked tempting so with a glass of Limoncello Colin (so so good) I was set for an afternoon of indulgence.

Glassnoodles soup

Glassnoodles soup

First arrived a hot bowl of Glass Noodles soup. A light well balanced broth and crunchy vegetables and chicken was the perfect way to start a meal. As we are celebrating Chinese New Year, Hargow represents good luck and wealth. So, the chef specially sent over spinach and prawn dumplings to the table, which was consumed with much gusto.

Prawn Har Gaw

Prawn Har Gow

Prawns and cocktails!

Prawns and cocktails!

The starter that arrived was named Emperor Salt Baked Tiger Prawn. I must say I was extremely impressed as its aftertaste left me craving more.

Sweet and Sour Tenderoin

Sweet and Sour Tenderloin

The mains that arrived on the table were Sweet and Sour Tenderloin, Steamed Salmon in black bean sauce and Cantonese Chicken, accompanied by fried rice with olives and vegetable noodles. The outright star was the fish preparation. It was the first time I had the combination of Salmon and black bean sauce which left me feeling blissful. The fish was cooked perfectly. The tenderloin was a bit too sweet for me personally as I lack a sweet tooth but tasted well otherwise. The chicken had a very nice balance and combined well with the fried rice.

Salmon with black bean sauce

Salmon with black bean sauce

Cantonese Chicken

Cantonese Chicken

Fried rice and noodles

Fried rice and noodles

A full full plate!

A full full plate!

Stuffed to the brim, out came a trio of deserts – date pancake, black sesame ice cream and dumplings with a peanut coating and chocolate. The ice cream was outstanding. The texture was unique and paired excellently with the sweet pancake. The dumpling resembled the Rosogolla but when cut, out poured chocolate. The glutinous coating was very nice, something I tasted for the first time.

Sweet platter

Sweet platter

The well-thought of Chinese New Year menu is on for a short span (February 13, 2017). I would recommend not missing it because the flavours are an eclectic mix. And definitely don’t miss the Salmon. It’s been days but I’m still drooling at the thought!

A happy food blogger aka me!

A happy food blogger aka me!

Where: ChaoBella, Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi in Okhla Phase 1

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When Singapore came calling

Sunset at Sentosa

Sunset at Sentosa

I always love going back to Singapore. This time round was no different. The moment the wheels hit the Changi tarmac, a big smile plastered across my face. Why you ask? Well, only because Singapore is heaven for street food lovers!

I went back after a while this time. The immediate impressions hadn’t changed since the last time I was there – the locals love their shopping and fitness mantras. I’m not really a shopper nor do I tend to work out as much as I would like to, but the most important thing prevalent there is the love for food among the people. They seriously eat five-six meals a day. And with such a strategic location geographically, Singapore’s cuisine is a melting pot of varied cultures and influences. Indian, Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai or local Singaporean, every bite is orgasmic.

The Marina Bay Sands is really hard to miss!

The Marina Bay Sands is really hard to miss!

Yes, yes I did fall into the tourist trap the last time I was there. From visiting Sentosa to Marina Bay Sands, taking pictures at China Town to drinking at Clarquay. Don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff but this time I wanted to do newer things, eat better, see the fireworks (thank you Chinese New Year)!

It’s the year of the horse. I was lucky to be staying near China Town because the whole of New Bridge Road is decorated with gorgeous paper lanterns and horses. As dusk sets in, the street lights up giving everyone a perfect opportunity to take pictures. With ample time on my hands in the evenings (it was a work trip after all) what better way to explore the city than eat my way around town!

China Town in the morning

China Town in the morning

It's the year of the horse!

It’s the year of the horse!

Chinese New Year decorations

Chinese New Year decorations

I participated in Yu Sheng (the communal tossing of a raw fish salad) which ushers in the new year. Each element of the salad symbolises an important aspect of life and tossing it together (the higher you go the better) is supposed to bring you good luck and health. Well, fingers crossed! (For the record, head to StraitsKitchen at the Grand Hyatt for a buffet lunch. Serving local and South eastern delicacies, it will be worth every penny)

The salad was gorgeous, bursting with flavours

The salad was gorgeous, bursting with flavours

Tossing and tossing!

Tossing and tossing!

How do you spend your evenings? Well, personally, I love heading to Clarkquay or Arab Street with friends. Oh did I mention I have friends in the country? I’m so glad I got to meet some of them during this short trip because its been a while. Its always wonderful to catch up on gossip over margherita pitchers or mouthwatering shawarmas. (Do try Blu Jaz at Arab Street. The atmosphere and crowd is great, so is their mozzarella sticks and Arayes).

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

Surprise surprise!

Surprise surprise!

If you want a glimpse into Singapore’s past, head to the Fullerton Hotel. A grand building which used to house the GPO, its a city landmark. And if you’re lucky, you can catch a spectacular fireworks show (again, thank you new year celebrations). Purple, green and golden, beautiful colours lit up the the night sky as surprised, tourists and locals alike, stood amazed, gaping at the spectacle.

The iconic building

The iconic building

Cappuccino at the Fullerton

Cappuccino at the Fullerton

The one thing I do like to shop for is shoes. Not Carrie Bradshaw crazy but yes, I like to keep a pair or two. So, what do I do? Head to Bugis for a good bargain. For all you shoppers, go there for good deals on dresses, bags and shoes. Vibrant colours and lavish designs will make the shopper in you scream out. Also, the cheese pancakes and iced juices (I love the cherry apple and dragonfruit flavours) ain’t that bad!

For good deals!

For good deals!

Most tourists love to head to Marina Bay Sands to take a picture of the Singapore skyline. It’s gorgeous yes, but once the new sports hub opens, the views from there will trump everything. It’s still underconstruction but I was left very impressed. It’s going to be huge and if they deliver on their promises, I think Singapore will be the new sports hub thanks to the facilities.

View from the sports hub

View from the sports hub

Now, I promised you streetfood. One generally finds noodles or rice as the staple. That is garnished with beef, chicken or gorgeous fresh seafood. Thick coconut milk and chillies, oh my mouth waters as I think about it. The beef rendang, cockles or prawn laksa, nasi lemak, chicken rice, chilli mud crabs, char kway teow, prawn hokkien mee, satays, oyster omelette… the possibilities are endless. And if you’re feeling brave, try the pig intestine soups or stirfrys. They are simply delicious. How do you go about it? Just head to the nearest hawker centre (Adam Food Court is my personal favourite) and indulge. Singapore is literally a food paradise and you can’t go wrong. Thanks to the low prices, one can often indulge in good quality dishes without burning a hole in the pocket. I love the fact that you can walk into a food court, select your food which will then be freshly made. Add the embellishments and dig in with chopsticks, a good meal under 7 SDG.

You can't go wrong with food

You can’t go wrong with food

And more food

And more food

Bring on the prawns!

Bring on the prawns!

Oh chicken rice and satays!

Oh chicken rice and satays!

This trip was short, too short for my liking but I hope to be back soon. Very soon.

Bye bye Singapore port

Bye bye Singapore port

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