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Southeast Asian cuisine in a never-emptying bowl
By Maybhushan Nagvenkar
Panaji, Dec 23: A small part of the world fits into a bowl at a pan-Asian eatery in this Goa capital which offers a unique make-it-yourself meal experience.
The Pan Asian Bowl offers foodies an opportunity to savour a wide range of Southeast Asian and East cuisine like Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Chinese and the like in an unlimited all-you-can-mix style.
It works this way.
For Rs. 475 (taxes extra), you’ll get an empty bowl at the first-deck restaurant located a stone’s throw from Panaji’s Miramar beach.
The fun begins when you walk to the meat and veggies bar, which has 8 to 10 types of assorted meats and exotic veggies to pick and choose from.
"All you have to do is choose any or a combination of meats. There’s cooked chicken, sausages, roast lamb, prawns, egg, beef, pork and more. For vegetarians there’s mushroom, bok choy, baby corn to choose from, among others," the restaurant’s senior general manager, Rajan Kamat, told Bollywood Country.
After choosing the meat and veggie combos, there’s still more mixing to come the diner’s way in the form of a range of 16 sauces like ginger wine, mustard chilli, chili basil and rad prik sourced from various Southeast Asian countries, which you need to make a mental note of before handing over the contents of your bowl to the chef, who waits with his wok in the transparent kitchen.
"You can suggest one sauce or a mix of sauces which you think blend best with the ingredients you’ve chosen. The chefs also guide you into making the right choice or combinations," Kamat explained.
Like most Southeast Asian meals, it doesn’t take long for the wok to dance in the chef’s hands and for the ingredients you’ve picked to be converted into a meal, mixed with the sauces you picked.
"But here’s the best part. If you are done with your bowl and need a different combination of ingredients and sauces, just pick your bowl and fill it up again. The basic philosophy of the place is ‘Eat as much as you can’," Kamat said.
The bowl meal comes with a complimentary non-alcoholic (unfortunate, considering it’s Goa) drink and dessert. A bowl meal for children (below six years) is priced at Rs. 375 (taxes extra).
The restaurant also has an expansive a la carte menu, but if it’s novelty you seek, make an appointment with the unlimited bowl.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at [email protected])