Gobee Menjoorian

Traditionally, Chinese cuisine comes in 5 varieties.

Cantonese – The usual bland fare that consists of vegetables and rice served with more or less anything that can walk, swim, move, crawl, creep or slither. Consumed in unholy quantities by impoverished (read kanjapisnaari – miserly) desi students in the US for $3.99 in all-you-can-eat buffets at places usually named “King’s Bowl” or “Liu’s Restaurant”.

Szechuan – The brown, slightly spicy variety where ingredients float in a thick, viscous, gelatinous goo.

Hunan – Stomach wall invading mongolian hordes masquerading as food. Unlike the original Mongols, this will definitely breach the Great Wall of your stomach. Insanely hot.

Shanghai – They cook really nice food and then strangely add soy sauce and sugar to all dishes.

Indian – Standard desi fare with misspelled Chinese sounding names (Sweat and Sour soup, Choupusi and Lung Fung ) loaded with masala, cooked by Nepali or North-East types, and served out of broken down vans. A slight variation of this cuisine can also be found in God’s own country where remote outlying areas of China are simbly doused in monosodium glutamate and served with cauliflowers.

But today, I can confidently say that I went to a truly authentic Chinese restaurant. The Cascade, in Anna Nagar (There’s one in Nungambakkam as well). While the presence of painted green bamboos suggested an unmistakeably oriental ambience, the instrumental Abba music put me off a little bit. I was looking forward to strangely eerie pentatonic sounds emanating from a koto (like the one those incredibly cool blind assassins use in Kung-fu hustle). Anyway, the food was incredible. We ordered soup and it arrived in an oil tanker. Huge portions. If you plan to visit, here is the equation – for 4 people, order 1 dish. The herbivorous brigade need not worry as the menu offers plenty of foliage.

For the geographically challenged,

cascademap.jpg

Overall,

Food: 13/13

Ambience: 5/7 (2 marks cut for instrumental Abba)

12 Comments

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  1. I had lunch at the cascade back in december …and for us desi grad students…the quantity was dream come true….and we had the full course….starting with soup…appetizer…main course and desert…all individual dishes….no sharing.

    😀

  2. Chinese is also to be eaten in China..oops, forgot that CNN reported today that they caught chefs soaking cardboard in industrial solvents, mincing the resultant and stuffing ’em up in dimsums. So considerate of them, reducing clas for us folks who are circumferentially endowed….
    All said, will remember this if I need to visit your city.

  3. There is one in Besant Nagar that plays authentic chinese sounding (??) music AND serves great food in HUGE quatities [:)]

  4. contrary to popular belief (meaning in my opinion), authentic chinese is actually pretty yummy.. their spring rolls (again, authentic, not the spoofs they give in desi restos) are to die for.. the noodles melt in your mouth.. and the fried icecream? I’d sell my soul to the devil for that! 🙂

    p.s: they serve this translucent reddish-pink sauce with their noodles that tastes absolutely like heaven – not like the red murder that is ketchup. alas, I miss that. 😦

  5. quoting Misha, the one in besant nagar is pretty decent ..the soup was served in an outrageously huge bowl…. :-)…not meant for a single person

  6. I for one found/find authentic chinese cuisine atleast in US to be one to stay away from. Probably because I am a vegetarian, and south Indian and hence extra oomph which 95% of the cuisine fails to deliver. Besides the more authentic, the more wild it gets it terms of opposite end of spectrum to vegetarian. But for people with other tastes, it is quite popular.

    For my pallette and diet, compared to regular chinese food (which excludes Indo-chinese), Thai is better. I remember telling a Chinese colleague “Why do I want to go Chinese, when I can find Thai”. Needless to say we dont work together anymore 😉

    Some Thai restaurants here can literally take your tongue out within a few bites particularly if you decided to compensate your wiry-thin Indian frames against massive american frames and play macho and say “extra extra spicy, and I mean it” to the amazement of your colleagues. Later, you grab water as often as you can when your American friends are distracted. Watery eyes? Cleverly wiped with napkin when wiping your mouth.

    But next time in Chennai, I will check this Cascades out.

  7. @Karthik
    Fatso!

    @Ashok
    I know the guy who runs Burrp. What’s your user id there? Maybe I can get some money for getting you hooked to the site.

  8. Are you chwyneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese?
    (Sorry had to say that)

    PS: Koto is japaneeeeeeeeeeeeeese. would be just as incongruous in a chinese restaurant as instrumental abba.

  9. @Bikerdude,
    The Koto is Chinese in origin, and was introduced to Japan sometime in the 7th century. So it wouldn’t actually be out of place. But perhaps the correct Chinese term for the Koto is Guzheng. And I didn’t know that till I actually carefully read the wikipedia article I linked to today 🙂

    Indha wikipedia vandadhukku apparam, avan avan romba rouse vudraangappa 😉

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Chinese_musical_instruments

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koto_%28musical_instrument%29

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