Stepping into Tuk Tuk Asia on a sunny afternoon is like getting a breath of fresh air. With colourfully cool walls and sunlight pouring in through the glass windows, the ambience is cosy and refreshing at the same time. The walls don paintings from the Far East, invoking the spirit of the lands with cherry blossoms, dumplings and sampans.
The menu features food from a variety of countries – China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia, to name a few. The meal is started off with a spicy, steaming Tom Yum soup – a tomato broth flavoured with lemongrass galangal and generous chunks of prawns and broccoli for that hearty flavour. Oh, and it works wonders on a cold or a sore throat.
How is an East Asian meal complete without Dimsum? Enticing chicken dumplings arrive in their bamboo basket, steaming and gloriously wholesome. Trying the cashew chicken after that just added to the bliss of having great starters. Fresh diced chicken tossed in a sweet and spicy Chinese sauce and peppered with cashew nuts, this dish is reminiscent of the Dragon chicken, which is a personal favourite (and also on the menu, by the way).
As for the Mains, the chef recommends his favourite – the Tuk Tuk Nasi – Indonesian fried rice made by tossing rice with chilli, tomatoes, chicken, prawns, and potatoes in a wok, and served with a fried egg on top, with a side of chicken satay and prawn crackers. The prawn crackers, made with prawn paste and sago, are popular in Indonesia, and for good reason. They provide a nice crunchy touch to the rice, while being infused with the meaty flavour of prawn paste. The Tuk Tuk Nasi is a very fulfilling meal, with all its delicious elements complementing each other.
For desert, we got lucky and got to try something that is just about to be introduced into the menu. The Lychee Sago, a dessert that is slightly similar to the Indian Payasam, is a concoction made with sago, chunks of lychee, jaggery syrup and coconut milk. The sweetness is perfectly balanced, which is no surprise, seeing as it contains no sugar but gets all its sweetness from the jaggery syrup. It was refreshingly cooling and possibly our favourite on the menu.
‘There are many similarities between Indian cuisine and those of Indonesia and Malaysia,’ explains Chef Dinesh. ‘For instance, they also use sago for their crackers and desserts, and so those kind of similarities make the food familiar and comfortable to the Indian palate. Whereas things like fish sauce, which is used in most authentic East Asian cuisine is disliked by many Indians, so we don’t use those elements in our cooking.’
If you’re not in the mood to experiment with food, but want to turn to solid, comfort food from the Far East, Tuk Tuk Asia is guaranteed to be a good choice
Tuk Tuk Asia is located on 1st Cross Street, TTK Road, Alwarpet.
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