Monday, August 16, 2010

Tales from Shanghai trip - East meets India?

Happy Independence day to all my fellow Indians... I am proud of being an Indian - American. I feel loyal to both my homes... India and America. May both my homes prosper in peace!

While there are a lot of things about India that make one proud, sometimes the smallest and strangest things evoke the emotion of pride as you will see in this post.

So where did I leave you at the end of my last post... oh yes! the breakfast buffet of the ParkYard Hotel in Shanghai....  Let me take you inside today.

The buffet was described as "The Chinese and Western breakfast buffet (pay close attention here)" in the hotel literature...

PERFECT! I looked forward to some yummy Chinese dishes... and I could always fall back on the western dishes if they turned out to be too exotic for my taste.

The buffet was beautiful and a lot like I expected...

There were the regular Western foods... There were breads, cheeses, muffins, yogurt, fruits, cereal, juices, sausages... you know the usual suspects found in a western breakfast buffet. There was also an omelet station where you could get eggs cooked your way, but the amount of oil that was being used just scared me away...
I decided to focus on Chinese food! When in Rome do what Romans do... when in China, at least try to do what Chinese do!

There were lots of Chinese dishes... I knew some of then already... some I didn't. Fried rice, noodles, Chinese greens.... The dim sum dishes were really good! I just loved the pumpkin dim sum! I ate it everyday in my stay there.
Sweet pumpkin dim sumDim sum boxesSavory dim sum buns

And then there were things I was new to. I was introduced to Congee (it's like Indian Dalia, but diff toppings), tea eggs, pidan etc... Pidan is surely an acquired taste, but luckily I acquired it pretty fast!

CongeeTea EggsPidan (Century eggs) Google them!

And as for honorable mentions, I loved the way the oatmeal was prepared. I am used to eating hot oatmeal with nuts, but this was cold, like kheer and had fruits like grapes and shredded apple... and it tasted so good... I also ate a lot of Lychees, since I don't get them often in US. And of course, the fragrant green tea!

LycheesGreen teaCold fruity oatmeal

But when I was exploring this Chinese food scape, the most unexpected thing happened. Right between spring rolls and chicken nuggets, I caught a glimpse of something!


What! Is it what I think it is?...

...May be, may be not... I had to take a closer look to be sure...


Anxiously, I stepped closer... it certainly looked lit it... I quickly grabbed one and ate to be very sure... YES, it was what I thought!

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck...
If it's filled with potatoes, has three corners and is deep fried goodness... it must be a SAMOSA!

What was samosa doing in an "Western and Chinese buffet"? I didn't know and didn't care.... to me it was just an example of how Indian cuisine led by samosa, naan, lassi and curry was taking over the world and I couldn't be more proud.

On this Independence day, and like each Independence day, many people lament the westernization of Indian culture and the fact that India is being taken over by globalization, but I like to think positively and talk about Indianization of the world.

England may have ruled over India for 2 centuries, but with curry as the national food of England, Indian food is going to rule England for centuries to come... and that's just the first step... soon we are going to redefine "Continental" breakfast!

Move over Danish, muffins, eggs and bread.... SAMOSA, LASSI and PURI-BHAJI are coming!

Signing off,
Shilpa Vir

PS: This time, please comment and share your favorite foods


  1. That's surprising to hear that u found a samosa at such a place. Wherever it may go, it's only the indians who have the true imagination to experiment with their samosas. Would u believe it if i told u that in our hospital canteen they serve their samosas with 'sambhar' instead of the usual north indian chutney (or say, tomato ketchup) !

  2. Samosa with Sambhar... that's interesting! I will have to try it at home to see how it tastes! Welcome to my blog MACK! Come again!

  3. Let me commend you for doing a wonderful job with this blog. I would like to offer my congratulations as I have finished reviewing "Reya and Rithik" and I'm happy to inform you that your blog has been added to Blogging Women.

    I wish you continued success with this blog and all you do.

  4. Yay! Thank you Fay!
    Wow! That totally rhymes!

  5. Hold on to that thought! I've felt the same way all my life and couldn't agree more with all you've said. yes, yes, yes! :)

  6. Thanks GB! Welcome to Reya and Rithik blog. Come back soon!