Hunan has grown from strength to strength. This Chinese restaurant started off with humble roots as an outlet in Bowring Institute over 10 years ago and moved to its own standalone space in Koramangala and then BEL Road. With the addition of Chef Pema as its Head Chef the menu underwent a dramatic transformation which resulted the restaurant winning not one but four ‘Times Food Awards’ for ‘Best Chinese Restaurant’. Hunan has been a mainstay dining option for me in Koramangala for its excellent Chinese food and the innovations that they always bring to the table. The Soup and Dim Sum Festival is an excellent showcase of what the restaurant has whipped up for the monsoons – perfect comfort food!
Definitely start off with a Chicken Drumstick with Noodles Soup. The name corresponds to exactly what will arrive on your table – a large steamed Chicken Drumstick with Bok Choy, Carrot shavings and Noodles in a flavorful broth. The elegance of this dish will definitely be appreciated by someone who has tried authentic Chinese food but to the rest of the populace that loves it’s Manchow Soup – it should be a good eye-opener on how simple ingredients can result in a sublime experience.
We also tried the Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup which is an Asian rendition with coconut milk and curry paste. This soup is creamy, rich and heavy. Not my cup of tea soup, but if you’re into a robust start to the meal – this is your best bet.
The Sweet and Sour Tofu Soup with Crabmeat is a supreme broth with tofu, bamboo shoots, peas and baby corn, peppered with crab meat. The soup was lovely and light but the addition of some drops of mandarin juice (like my super talented dining companion Suresh suggested) just opened up the flavours. This might be my new trick in the book to serve a 5 star quality soup at home!
If there is one Dumpling that you need to order off the menu – let it be this one. The Truffle scented Edamame Dumpling is pure bliss. Edamame (fresh soy bean) paste is delicately flavoured with truffle oil and wrapped in a wheat starch skin. A pretty little edamame bean garnishes each dumpling. These dumplings are served with a soy-sesame sauce that definitely gives it some punch – but I would rather savour the dumpling by itself lest the gentle truffle smell be overpowered by everything else. And the good news – it’s 100% vegetarian!
Potstickers are extremely popular in North America, though the original is a North Chinese street food staple of pan-fried Jiaozi (tin, flat dumplings). Hunan offers a Sesame Chicken version with minced chicken and shallots in seashell style dumpling seared in a pan with sesame sprinklings. I thought the potstickers were a tad dry and needed some steam to keep them ‘sticky’. This tended towards being baked and I missed the chewiness that a well-made potsticker offers.
The Pork Flower Dumpling is a stunner. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it! The Dumpling wrapper is fashioned into a swirling rose and the pork filling lies in its folds. It sits on a bed of special soy dipping sauce which further adds to the beauty of it all. Simple verdict – you must order it!
If you want to intersperse your dumpling gluttony with something crunchy – you have two options. The Cocktail rolls with Chicken and Prawns are your standard Spring Rolls but the sauce that accompanies it makes it totally worth the fried indulgence. Another fun crunchy interlude is the gorgeous Crunchy Wonton Ribbon Prawns. Juicy prawns in a special marinade are wrapped in wonton noodles and deep fried to perfection. They come on a bed of an exciting Mango-Chilli Sauce that just begs to be licked clean!
You can choose to go on with more dumplings or move to more substantial offerings like the BBQ Chicken Bao which has near perfect barbequed Chicken, Chinese style. The meat reminded me of the street food style of cooking on open grills – just fabulous. Or go back into full scale Soup-mode with the extensive spread of the Khao Suey, where you can choose between a Chicken or Vegetable offering. The coconut milk broth is brought alive by the garnishes that accompany it – red chill flakes, roasted peanuts, fried onion slivers, julienne coriander leaves, lemon wedges and garlic flakes!
Hunan offers an excellent way to chase away the monsoon blues with a bowl of soup and a plate of dumplings. The Festival is on till the 31st of August and prices start at a very modest INR 165.
All pictures in this post – Courtesy: Hunan
123, 1st Floor, 1st Main,
JNC Road, 5th Block, KHB Colony,
Koramangala, Bangalore 560034.
+91 80 25520154
Cost : INR 1600++ for a meal for two.
Valet Parking available.