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Bengaluru chefs give Asian noodles a gourmet spin



BENGALURU: Little did former US president Barrack Obama know that his Bali holiday indulgence of meatball bakso with yellow noodles & rice vermicelli last year would inspire a chef in Bengaluru.

Chef Prashanth Puttaswamy introduced a ramen meal bowl at The Fatty Bao this monsoon. “People like variations in noodles now. Different shapes, textures, colours and thickness of noodles from parts of the Orient get Bengalureans excited,” says Puttaswamy.

Interestingly, he and his culinary crew also make all their noodles inhouse. They dish out black noodles using edible charcoal made from eggplant, soba noodles from buckwheat from Japan AND Taipei oyster noodles.

Gone are the days of egg noodles, mass-produced for home and commercial usage. Like pasta comes in variations like penne, spaghetti and ravioli, noodles are now taking different moulds too. Chefs in premium Asian eateries in Bengaluru are giving noodles a gourmet spin.

“As the steady base of Asian cuisine, noodles are versatile and have the potential to grow into a strong segment. We source glass noodles of Singapore to make spring rolls, vermicelli for coating Togarashi potatoes and Japanese udon noodles in laksa bowl meal,” says chef Vikas Seth of Sriracha at UB City.

According to chef Chirag Makwana of Toast & Tonic, gourmet noodles sell better in Bengaluru than their Mumbai chapter. “If Bengaluru sells 20 portions of udon-based dishes per day, Mumbai sells only 8-10. Bengalureans love novelty,” he says.



Makwana makes udon noodles inhouse too. “The fact that these noodles are handmade and hand-cut has health-conscious Bengalureans hooked.”

Shizusan Shophouse & Bar in Whitefield serves traditional handpulled noodles in many dishes. Chef Mako Ravindran from 1Q1 is delighted to be part of this new food movement.

“Millennials have new and exposed palates. We cannot pass anything in the name of noodles anymore. Idea is to keep food authentic and serve noodles in the native style,” says Ravindran, who serves Japanese soba and udon noodles freshly sourced from a vendor almost daily.

According to Euromonitor India, Asian fast food in India has grown from Rs 1.05 lakh crore in 2015 to Rs 1.17 lakh crore in 2016. It has grown at the rate of 11.6% during 2012-2017. The instant noodle fad continues to attract the youth but premium Asian eateries want to be different.

Food expert Aslam Gafoor notes, “Premium Asian eateries are demonstrating finesse in the noodle segment to differentiate themselves from the mass-brand Chinese restaurants. Noodles are comfort food and the city’s growing discerning audience wants new in this segment.”

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