By Sharell Cook: India is constantly giving me new and unexpected experiences, and I recently had one which was really novel — chefs from Hong Kong who came and cooked authentic Chinese food in my kitchen!
Chopsticks Food Catering has been operating for around six months and has developed a loyal following amongst the expat community in Mumbai. I must say I was really excited when a friend of mine told me about it. I’d promised a couple of my neighbours months ago that I’d invite them over, but I hadn’t been able to face preparing for a dinner party in the heat and humidity.
Yet, what if I had my own personal chefs for the night? That sure made the idea more appealing! Not only would they cook awesome food, it would be fascinating to watch. One of my guests, who’s a respected photographer in India, thought so too and was keen to take some photos of it (which he’s kindly allowed me to use. Thanks, Swapan! You can see more of his stunning work on his website).
The whole concept is simple but effective. Here’s what happens:
- You select the items you want from the Chopsticks menu at least three days in advance of your event.
- The Chopsticks chefs come and take over your kitchen a couple of hours before you want the food to be ready, and start cooking.
- They serve the food — and even better, completely clean your kitchen before leaving!
I didn’t quite know what to expect, and was worried about what I’d need to provide. However, Chopsticks head Cindy Chan assured me that they’d bring everything, cooking utensils included. All I needed to have ready for them was a gas stove and serving plates. Too easy!
The team turned up with three large coolers full of food and equipment, and got to work (while we got to work drinking some wine). Soon, we were presented with one delicious dish after another, accompanied by the lovely touch of a personalised printed menu.
But what about the cost? I was actually surprised how reasonable it was. The price of dishes ranges from 280 rupees for a vegetable dish up to 750 rupees for crab. The average is around 400 rupees per dish, and there’s a minimum 3,000 rupee spend.
You might be wondering if it’s all worth it. Why not get home delivery from a restaurant? Well, I honestly can’t remember having decent Chinese food from a restaurant in Mumbai. However, I do remember the last time I paid 200 rupees for a dish that I didn’t even finish eating. Like many of the Chinese offerings in Mumbai, it was smothered in a thick generic sauce and contained average quality meat.
Each dish that Chopsticks cooked for us was so light and tasty, and most importantly had its own unique flavour. We all agreed that the fried fish in black bean sauce was the highlight though. And, my kitchen was left spotless!
Chopsticks has a really cool website where you can meet the team and also check out their menu. Yum!