On the other side of the world, at Daecheon Beach area, in South Korea, to be exact, Mud is taken from the Boryeong mud flats and used as ‘mud experience’ People splash mud on each other and roll into mud till they are soaked from head to toe. The mud is considered rich in minerals and used to manufacture cosmetics. The first Mud Festival was staged in 1996 and by 2007, the festival has attracted 2.2 million visitors in Boryeyong.
Of course, such festivities cannot be replicated in Mumbai, because neither do we have such kind of mud at our beaches nor that enthusiasms. But Oriental Wok at The Club decided to celebrate this festival by offering the traditional Korean food at their restaurant and I was invited to be the part of their celebrations.
Oriental Wok, being located inside a private club, may not be accessible to many non-members, but the food that I was served was exceptionally good. Each dish was meticulously prepared and was such a delight.
I went with two of my friends and we were seated in the warm corner surrounded by bamboo dividers, supple strips of cane and polished wood. The beautiful ambience transports you to oriental world miles away. The table was laden with sauces and kimchi. I normally judge a restaurant with the soup, the sauces and kimchi they serve. If their stock is good, then their food will not disappoint.
There is a special Korean menu prepared during this festival at the restaurant. Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the off side dishes (Banchan) that accompany steam cooked short-grain rice.
Gui are grilled dishes, which most commonly have meat or fish as their primary ingredients, but may in some cases also compose grilled vegetables or other vegetable ingredients. At traditional restaurants, meats are cooked at the centre of the table over burner, surrounded by various side dishes. The cooked meat is then cut into small pieces and served with thinly sliced garlic, lettuce leaves and rice.
But there is no such central burners at the dining table at this restaurant, all food is prepared in their kitchen and served at the tables.
Both my friends are vegetarians, they enjoyed the vegetarian meals, whereas Me, wanted to taste their non-vegetarian cuisine, although every vegetarian dish that arrived, my friends insisted that I taste (so happy were they with the food)
The chicken was roasted to perfection, so were the tofu, paneer and egg plants. They were served with fish chips and baked bread.
For the main course, we were served
Yanggogo Bulgogi (stir fried lamb with garlic, chilies, leeks and soya sauce) for me and Yen gen potato jorim (Stir fried lotus root and potatoes in Korean sweet and sour sauce) for my vegetarian friends. The meat was very tender infused with spices, such a delight. The sweet and sour sauce was too sweet for our palate so the chef insisted that we try his other dish in green sauce, cooked specially for us. The chef personally came to our table to offer his speciality. Very impressive!
In Korean cuisine, commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, fermented bean paste, soya sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, fermented red chili paste and lettuce.
This was served with rice. When he bought the rice to the table in a beautiful bowl with stir fried vegetables arranged artistically over stewed rice, I was zapped. At our tables, he mixed the veggies with the rice and served into our plates.
How much can one eat?? We were over stuffed but no meal is complete without dessert.
Tapioca pudding (Sago pearls, coconut milk palm sugar toasted sesame) was instant hit. Loved the sweetish coconut flavor over sago pudding and the crunchiness of sago seeds.
This was a wonderful meal and brownie point for very helpful staff who wanted to please. They were proud to serve us their traditional Korean meals and made sure that we go back with happy memories.
Boryeong festival at The Club Mumbai is being celebrated from 17th July to 31th July. Believe me when I say that you will not be disappointed. There is a great celebrations during the weekends that includes traditional Music too.