The Golden Dragon – a taste of authentic China in Mumbai

Celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme once said, ” You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food” 

My gastro-travelling friend proved it right when she reached the height of food indulgence by pampering me with a delectable and mouth watering four course meal at the Golden Dragon – one of the jewels in the crown of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel,  Mumbai (India).
As we entered the hotel and made our way to the Golden Dragon, our eyes fell on the quaint historic treasures as well as contemporary ones being showcased behind the glass panels. Recollection of the splendour makes me feel so naive to describe more about the Taj Mahal hotel. All I can say that the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is the perfect amalgation of nostalgic classiness, rich history and modern facilities.
Our host of the evening was a cheerful and chubby gentleman. He made us comfortable with seats near the window overlooking the majestic Gateway of India. I looked out over the lively street with people enjoying the gentle sea breeze. The moon seemed to be playing hide-and-seek with the clouds in the sky. Everything around me perfectly set the tone for the luxurious evening.

Rejoicing moments of indulgence. Pic courtesy: Dhriti Das

For the starters, our host lead us to order chicken sui mai & flying fish roe and pepper and salt crispy prawns. While we waited for the starters to come admiring the decor that spoke of the oriental trend, he served us with cocktails, names of which slipped out of my mind. 😛
For the uninitiated, roe is basically a mass of fish eggs. I love it specially when my mother deep fries it in mustard oil with sliced onions and green chillies with a dash of turmeric powder. However, I was quite skeptical about flying fish roe steamed cooked. My doubts were cleared when the succulent steamed dumplings came in a small and pretty bamboo steamer. The roe and chicken together wrapped in wonton skin had a mild smoky flavour and crunchy texture. I didn’t become quite a fan of it, still relished it.

Sui-mai(Dumpling) and Prawns served on our plates. Pic courtesy: Dhriti Das

Being a prawn lover, pepper and salt prawns became my instant favourite. They were beautifully served in edible baskets with hot and spicy dip.
The Golden Dragon became our absolute sea-food haven when we tasted our main course – Chinese sticky rice and jumbo crab meat.Subtle tastes and fresh ingredients cooked in relatively mild sauces were highlights of these delicacies.

Showcasing Sichuan and Cantonese food- Jumbo crab meat and Chinese sticky rice. Pic courtesy : Dhriti Das

A fitting finale to the meal was mango fruit flambé with vanilla ice cream topping. Interestingly, this dessert has only three major ingredients – mango, sugar and dark rum. It was quite a spectacular display when our host ignited the rum and sugar mixture in the glass and poured, still flaming blue, over warm mangoes.

Toothsome mango flambé. Pic courtesy : Dhriti Das

I got the ultimate foodgasm when I tucked a spoonful of that dessert in my mouth. My friend could see my eyes gleam with delight as I was living one of the moments of intense gratification.

” There is no sincerer love than the love of food. “ – George Bernard Shaw’s felicitous quote defined my moment.
Our evening ended with a hot cup of Taj signature tea. We bid aideu to our host and the golden dragon placed over a soothing water feature – a perfect vignette to end my culinary journey with.

My friend and I posing with the Golden Dragon


Quick facts:
1. The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is a “Heritage Grand” class five-star hotel located in the Colaba region of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, next to the Gateway of India. It first opened its doors to guests on 16 December 1903. And the Golden Dragon – whose live kitchen plating of authentic delicacies like Peking Duck and Beggar’s Chicken is crowd-pleasing – was opened in 1973. Cost for two ( with alcohol) ₹7000- ₹10,000
2. Flying fish roe / Tobiko( in Japanese) are very nutritious due to high vitamin and protein content and large ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids
3. Flambé is the cooking method where alcohol is added to a hot pan and then ignited to create a wonderful display of blue-hot flames. The term comes from the French verb flamber, meaning to burn or flame. Flambéing burns off the alcohol, leaving the dish with the flavour of the spirit, but eliminating any harsh bite.
Chemistry behind it:
Alcohol boils at 172 degrees F. While water boils at 212 degrees F. And sugar caramelises at 338 degrees F. When flambéing, you combine all three of these reactions at the same time, since the surface burning the alcohol can reach 500 degrees F.

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