Amit Haralkar
If You Can’t Do Penang
The ‘pure veg’ brigade can wolf down Penang Laksa Noodles without poking about suspiciously.
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Asian Street Kitchen
Dev Prakash Building, Chowpatty, Mumbai
Tel: 33487761
Meal for two: Rs 1,300

Tempting woks lining Jakarta streets, the incomparable noodle ven­dors in Penang, the tiny stalls that sell cane boxes of steamed dumplings in Beijing. These are what travel memories are made.

Which is why Mumbai’s Asian Street Kitchen is interesting, for it promises authentic street food from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China and Japan. More­over, it serves only vegetarian fare. So the ‘pure veg’ brigade can wolf down Penang Laksa Noodles without poking about suspiciously.

We decided to start our meal with a tall glass of Ind­onesian Bandung (Rs 150)—a sweet, light drink made of strawberry crush, condensed milk and soda. This cooled us down, as did the soothing white and green colours, potted bamboos and palms.

We started our meal with a Malaysian Tofu Toss (Rs 235), ­a salad made with fried tofu, sprouts, mixed greens and wonton crisps—though the wil­ted lettuce took the crunch away. While the Classic Spring Rolls (Rs 240) were a tad stodgy and samosa-fied. The geographically disper­sed menu offers everything, from Mongolian Noodles to Vietnamese broth. But after mulling over it for a bit, we finally settled on Nasi Gor­eng (Rs 330)—that distinctive Indonesian fried rice with its slivers of vegetables, roasted red chilli, sweet soya sauce and crisp rice crackers. The dish, topped with two skewers of grilled mushroom, was perfectly spiced. The Soba Stir Fry (Rs 340)—Japanese buckwheat noodles tossed with Korean chilli paste, tofu, seaweed and sesame—was a bit salty but had a marvellous texture and flavours. At meal’s end, we weren’t sure if the restaurant replicates the dishes of street-side Penang and Bangkok. At any rate, Asian Street Kitchen offers an interesting concept at a reasonable price.

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