Tasting colors of Indian cuisine at Ganesh Chaturthi festival at Saigon India Restaurant
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of Hindu biggest festivals in India, almost like traditional Tet of Vietnam. I am lucky to enjoy Indian cuisine at this occasion and to listen to a legend about Ganesh god while enjoying interesting and colorful dishes here.
Going through the small staircase which is just fit enough for one person, you will enter a warm and spacious area in which there are many Indian art pictures are hung on the walls. The gold blue tone is cool enough for visitors to escape from the heat outside, but it also creates a warm feeling for visitors. This is a typical feature of Indian culture with passionate colors.
I am surprised to be served a small bowl of rice mixed with coconut and dried fruit though I have not order yet. It turns out that this is a small offer by the owner to his guests to share happiness in Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Indian rice is so original in the way that it is stirred with oil or butter before cooking. When the rice is ready, it is mixed with many ingredients such as pepper, cumin seeds, cinnamon, etc ... Because I am so curious about the festival; I asked the Indian restaurant manager some questions. He smiled in a friendly way and told me that this is an occasion to commemorate the birthday of Ganesha god – the symbol of intelligence, happiness and success. Dishes with sweet taste and fruit, especially coconut are essential in the meals on this occasion. Coconut cover symbolizes an illusion of the present world, coconut pulp represents individuality, and coconut juice is for an individual’s ego. Breaking a coconut means giving a heart to Ganesha god.
Nan cake is our first choice. This dish is best served with fresh cottage cheese. Garlic Nan and Onion Nan are also two favorite dishes here. Having Nan alone or serving it with curry is a typical way to enjoy this dish. Bread powder, milk, and yogurt are mixed together. After the mixture is kept for fermentation, it is laminated and baked on the fire. After a while, a hot and delicious Nan is ready for diners. Indian people believe that only traditional stoves can create such a good taste and crisp which are typical of Nan cake.
Palak Paneer is an Indian soya curd. This dish is so attractive with green sauce made from spinach, fresh cheese, and some other seasoning ingredients. This dish creates diners a comfortable feeling after eating. You should not forget to order a Parota or Roti Prata. Its crispy cover together with soft layers of a hot Parota is rolled and served with sauce and soya curd. When trying this dish you will have a feeling like a Bollywood melody in your mouth.
Finally, it is impossible not to enjoy a glass of typical mango lassi and a desert with a romantic name – Jamoon. Gulab Jamoon is a cake made from a kind of powder whose main ingredient is condensed milk, or fresh cheese. The powder is shaped into small pieces and fried. When the cakes are crispy enough, they are put into melt sugar or siro. This kind of cake is a very popular dish for desert in Indian meals on reunion occasions.
Someone has said that cuisine is the door leading you to culture experience. Only when having travelled to India, eating Indian food, listening to stories about its festivals, can I understand why Indian people like using their hands and why Indian dishes are colorful and seasoned with a lot of cinnamon, pepper, clove, cardamom, roots, etc ... That is the way they are close to the nature and the Gods. I also gain many other interesting discoveries.
According to the Hindu calendar, next year, you can enjoy Indian typical dishes at:
Saigon India Restaurant
1st Floor, 73 Mac Thi Buoi, Dist 1, HCMC
Tel: (08) 38245671