Mumbai Memoir 60- Mumbai siblings bond in ‘Mainland China’!
The rough weather in the Arabian Sea starts mellowing down as the August winds blow over Mumbai. The fisher folk of Mumbai celebrate the end of their ‘off season’ status by symbolically offering a coconut to the sea. This event happens on the full moon day of August & is colloquially called as ‘Narli Pornima’. The same day is incidentally celebrated as ‘Raksha Bandhan’ across India. ‘Raksha’ (in Hindi) means ‘to protect’ & on this occasion a sister ties a decorative thread (Rakhi) on the wrist of her brother/s. This Indian festival aims to strengthen sibling bonding and thereby radiates a cultural message of promoting mutual commitment & support towards enriching sibling ties.
This year, since my brother had flown down from U.S just before the festival, I could physically tie the ‘Raakhi’ on his wrist. Like most girls receive gifts from their brothers, I too was showered with loads of them. But the best of all gift was a culinary experience at a restaurant named Mainland China.
Knowing that I love to explore restaurants, along with good company to converse with, my brother took me to Kandivli’s ‘Mainland China’, which is a restaurant serving delicious Chinese cuisine. We had two options to choose our lunch from. One was from the menu card & other was from a buffet system. I chose the buffet & brother chose from the card. I find picking from a buffet more adventurous than from a menu, unless I am absolutely sure of what I want to eat. I believe, in a buffet you get to try different delicacies, which at a later date can be specifically ordered from a menu card. Being a non-vegetarian cuisine freak everything on my plate, from soup to dessert, had a non-vegetarian streak. The ‘chicken coriander soup’ was followed by delicious ‘chicken wings pepper garlic dry’ as starters. As I strolled ahead at the buffet arrangement I took Hakka noodles & Chicken Hubai sauce for main course.
The ‘Mandarin Swril’, which I ordered, was a great mocktail that occasionally cooled my taste-buds as the spicy Chinese food journeyed down my digestive track! An occasion sip from my brother’s mocktail (Mint Storm) was even more refreshing as he allowed me the liberty to have his drink too.
Parented by Speciality Restaurants Ltd, Mainland China is a chain of restaurants which serves Chinese cuisine to their patrons. The brand promotes the fact that finest spices from across the provinces of China have been handpicked for their chefs to re-create lip-smacking Chinese cuisines at their 21 urban locations across India & 3 international locations at Doha (Qatar), Tanzania & Dhaka (Bangladesh). The owners aim to create perfect balance in their food preparations thus reminding the patrons of the Chinese philosophy of the Yin & the Yang elements that balances the Universe. Click here for their website: http://www.speciality.co.in/mainland_china/index.html As we relished our lunch, my brother and I spoke about our respective experiences of various foods & life in general.
For dessert I had chocolate mousse and a piece of cake. Being an artistic person, I couldn’t resist writing our respective pet names on the dessert dish with chocolate sauce. Mainland China was more than a culinary experience for me, as sweet sibling memories were ‘cooked’ over lunch. The festive occasion of ‘Raksha Bandhan’ was truly felt as we concluded our luncheon that Sunday noon.
As we walked out, I could feel the sibling bond between us growing in spirit & strength like the ‘Great Wall of China’ defending its homefront!
Photo credits: Ishita. S. Sankulkar, Shraddha C. Sankulkar