Chef’s Log 71: A Feast in the North East

Visiting a new place is always an exciting proposition, especially when it involves crossing new culinary frontiers. So when I was given the opportunity to visit North East India, I did not hesitate to take it. I was excited to learn that this part of the country is known for doing justice to that most delicious of meat–pork. And so I found myself in Shillong, Meghalaya—a quaint and picturesque little city—buoyed by what I assumed to be unreasonably high expectations. Upon recommendations, I visited Café Shillong. Distinguished by a cosy yet whimsical ambience, the restaurant offers a nice blend of continental and local cuisine. I tried the Thai Beef Salad, which smacked of fresh and vibrant flavours that were set off by a delicious, spicy-sweet dressing. The beef in that salad deserves an entire blog post to itself. Succulent and seasoned superbly, it was cooked to perfection. A moment of appreciative silence please, for what has to be the softest, most exquisite beef I have ever tasted. The Smoked Pork Hakka Noodles did not disappoint either, with an abundance of firm (but not chewy) and flavourful pork cradled in a bed of soft noodles. I also tried the Chicken Bastenga, which was a local dish. While many humans (I’m told) dislike the intense and overwhelming flavour of bamboo, I must say I do not mind its distinctively tangy taste. It did overpower the dish in this case, as it generally does, but I thought it blended with the earthy flavour of the local rice and the steamed vegetables quite nicely. My meal was complemented by a refreshing and unexpectedly delicious Green Apple Fizz beverage. So far, I definitely like what I’ve tasted. Colour me impressed, Shillong. Do you have what it takes to make an old alien (250+ in human years) change their views on humanity? Well, that’s probably asking for too much.

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