“If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, God will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge. The inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and (even) the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars” – The Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him)
This message was so empowering and inspiring that I just had to share this. The picture is from a recent holiday to the hills in Himachal, with my family. Everytime you come back from a trip, there is this heady feeling of having learnt something new not just about the world but about yourself too, not to mention the other associate feelings of wellbeing, happiness and the thirst to plan the next vacation.
Also, this Ramadan has been a month where for the first time I have actually sat down to understand myself better. The grounding that would (could) comes from this, Inshallah – to then allow informed and self-aware decisions. This encompasses religion, roots, circumstances, your family and peers and the decisions that you have been making up until now.
The teachings of the Prophet Mohammed *Peace be upon him – called “Sunnah” and these form the guidelines for life and living and code of conduct for all Muslims alongside of the Quran. There are simple yet profound lessons that cover our day to day actions which have been documented on authority of his wives and his Companions called the Sahabas.
The teachings of all religion are quite simple and grounded in basics of humanity. Its the lack of perspective, general egos and numbing hatred that is giving all beliefs such a bad rap. Finding some grounding and spirituality in understanding where we come from, a part of which is the religion we all are individually born into is the step in the right direction. You don’t have to be a “religious” person to be doing this. For me, I feel it just means being a bit more open to the world around me. This may sound as two conflicting ideas, but honestly understanding the things that one feels one doesn’t believe in, and then making an informed decision is always a smarter way of doing things.
The Ling’s Pavilion was on the our radar for a couple of months, before we actually did finally make it there and we wanted to go mainly for China’s pride, Crispy Duck more popularly known as Peking Duck. This review is a result of us arriving ravenous on an early Sunday evening.
The over 20 year old Ling’s Pavilion is located just off the bustling Colaba Causeway, the Cafe Mondegar lane, to be precise. Run by second generation naturalised Chinese it maintains its authenticity under the watchful gaze of the patriarch “Baba Ling” as he is affectionately called. The restaurant is replete with Chinese style indoor landscaping, typically tacky decor that sometimes tells you the food is going to be good – with a pond with Koi fish and bridges and sculptings and even a cherry blossom style tree.
We took our seats, and after the ususal debate about what “not” to order, we decided to first just order what we were here for “Crispy Duck.” With our luck, Baba Ling was in that evening and it would be silly not to ask him for a recommendation. Baba Ling comes up to our table and says, “do you’ll eat everything?” and “how hungry are you?” We said, “No Pork!” and “Very hungry!”
The arrival of the Crispy Duck to our table was met with squeals of glee us because by the time it made its way to the table we were ravenous.
All the condiments and parts to the lovely dish were layed out; a Bain-marie that had the pancakes, a glazed soya sauce spiced with chinese red peppers, a rich and reduced thick plum sauce, slivers of finely sliced cucumbers and scallions and gorgeous sauted roasted garlic which you could literally pop into your mouth like savory toffees.
To enjoy the crispy duck, you layer all your beautiful relish on the pancake, starting with the duck that has a basic five spice seasoning with lots of ginger which just enhances and duck’s natural flavour. Next top the pancake with some cumcumber, the spring onion slivers slivers, the lovely roasted garlic, and a controlled addition of the delicious plum sauce as per your taste. All you do then is roll it up, like you would a regular wrap and bite in! So, to be honest, the duck wasn’t crispy, but disappointingly moist – like it had been steamed and the pancakes just didn’t feel light and fresh. We suspect these were made in an earlier batch, and had lost the flaky lightness. The plum sauce, and those fantastic roasted garlic cloves really saved the dish from complete disappointment and it was all-in-all a pleasant activity putting the wraps together.
Baba Ling, then sent across this delicate baby fenugreek soup clear soup with the freshest Bombay Duck nestled right in the centre of the bowl. It looked so pretty in and tasted light and fresh. The flavour extremely simple and subtle yet had a very distinct aroma and taste which suited the texture of the fish. Bombay Duck, that is locally called bombil, native to the Arabian Sea and a classic fixture in Maharashtrian / Malvani cuisine has a very distinct texture and especially when it is dried a distinct strong smell. The flesh of this is so moist and delicate that it practically slides of the bone. This acted like a cleanse to the palate and a nice preparation for the main course; the heat from the baby fenugreek, makes this a lovely winter soup. This is not on the menu, but I think we had won Baba Ling over with our determination to experiment and so we were privy to a little something from the Chinese delegation table that had arrived a little after us. He said, “if you were bigger group, I could send more, but for you two, soup will do.”
TIP: When you step into Ling’s make sure you do a quick scan for a Chinese table, because they always know what to order, and if they are a big enough group the meal will be customized by Baba Ling and you could get a choice item or two off their table.
The finale to this meal, was Steamed Ginger Fish with a small portion of steam rice. Delightful. We had this with pomfret as the dish is ideally made with a white fish like , sea bass or halibut and it traditionally comes served whole on the dish. Now the fish, was truly a sensory delight. You can easily break off soft parts of the fish with your chopsticks and then scoop up the seasoning with a spoon onto your rice. I imagine this dish to be a true to roots, Cantonsese style meal, simple, delicious and wholesome and a classic staple. it uses basic ingredients, and a simple steaming style. This flavours come with lots of ginger, rice wine, five spice powder and soya sauce and also fried onions and a little peanut for that added smoky nuttiness. This really was wonderful, with the ginger and scallion flavour really being the perfect bridge between the fish and rice. An extrmely simple yet elegant Chinese authenticity.
To note for freshness of the fish and how well it is cooked, look for moist flakiness of the flesh; the smell mostly just tells weather the fish or seafood is cultured or caught.
Where the Crispy Duck lost out in a few places, the soup and the ginger fish really held its own. The beauty of this meal was in the simple serving and the process involved in, while eating and layering your meal – this quite literally makes it a delicious sum of all its parts.
Sometimes more than giving a verdict to a restaurant for excellent food or otherwise, its nice enough to enjoy the strong points and the overall experience. We’ll give a verdict when we go again and try some more from its extensive menu. But overall there is authenticity in the way the food is served, the items on the menu and the fact that you can get customized dishes for your table. We would strongly recommend a visit, next time you are looking to go for Chinese, if you are in the Colaba or the South Bombay (SOBO) area.
I just read a post on Scoop whoop about 29 problems of people who wear glasses and decided I had some of my own thoughts on that, which I could summarise in 20. I’m sure I’m missing a few so all you bespectacles please drop me a line and tell me what problems you seem to face with your glasses and when you are without :) 1. Deafness – When I am not wearing my glasses, it literally induces deafness. My hearing, as against my vision is pretty good. But when I’m not wearing my glasses on the off chance that its not going with my outfit… it’s better not to talk to me .. smile and hug but no talking. 2. Passport Pictures – OMG Passport pictures .. without the glasses, and since I can’t tilt my head in cute angles I look like a squint psychopath. 3. TIP: When you do take off your glasses, for a pic try and not look straight at the camera in a full frontal, angle your head, give a side glance, it will take the edge off the suddenness and let your eyes adjust for the picture. I always come off looking squint or like I have brain fever because of the strange glazed look 4. Poltergeist – Glasses have a devious poltergeists after them and you will contanstly feel like you are misplacing them 5. 3DMovies – I don’t know if I have really been able to fully begin to love 3D movies with the bells and whistles of having to wear those damned 3D glasses on top of my thick rims. I’m officially 6 eyes and not just 4 eyes like before I stepped into the cinema. And then then of course the lower glasses will frost up. 6. Fogging – Pilots have not seen this kind of severe fogging before landing or take off, like a bespectacled beast has at fairly mundane occasions cooking, stepping out of air-conditioning, or when its ridiculously hot. 7. Spectacle Seat – They mysteriously always find themselves sitting smack in the middle of wherever I’m about to sit and I sit and then ruin the alignment 8. Contact Lens – Not always an option. Not getting used to contact lenses… or wearing your glasses after you’ve worn your contacting lenses and wondering for a good 37 minutes what’s going on. People with the mysterious lazy – eye will understand that all optometrists are terribly unethusiastic about prescribing contact lens to us. 9. Accessorise – Have to work all my accessories around my glasses, which is the fun part. And sometimes dressing for a real shi shi evening or a wedding when you have to be two shades short of a Christmas tree … wearing glasses isn’t really an option. There are clever things you can do to work with them when you need to dress up. Maybe a post on that at some point. 10. Eyeliner – Having to make my eyeliner wings really far out so that they aren’t completely hidden by my hipster rimmed glasses 11. Exercise – Going for a run with your glasses… on the treadmill or in the great outdoors… not an option… the dripping sweat and the consequent fogging up. Done for! Completely uncool / terrifically annoying 12. Glasses – All the eyewear you buy have to be powered unless you wear contact lens… what to do when you’re swimming … so you need to power-up your speedo googles too. 13. Crying – Glasses totally ruin a good crying session. First you cry then you glaze and fog up and then you realise you’re wearing the damned glasses and look even more ridiculous (even if you’re alone) and then the salty tears don’t let you clean the glasses and then you cry some more. 14. Amnesia – Forgetting your glasses on top of your head and asking everyone around where they are 15. Dirt – Glasses get dirty and you need to wash them how you wash your jewellery. Dirt gets into all sorts of cracks and grooves. 16. Expensive – You spend an arm and a leg on good frames.. you just can’t buy them off the street. And forget wearing your Cavalli or Ray Ban sunnies unless they are powered. 17. Tan lines – oh dear god those tan lines. It’s a curse. 18. Moment – Having an intense moment sitting close to someone special and the glasses fog over 19. Another Moment – Having an intense moment sitting close to someone with your glasses off and being gripped by fear if you’re looking squint 20. Debate – People saying “oh my god you have beautiful eyes, I never noticed” when on an off chance you take off your glasses … or then people fighting over whether I look better with my glasses on or off … with me having no say, whatsoever in the matter
This mirror absolutely deserves a mention because I am now trying to figure how to get my hands on it.. don’t you quite think it can fit in beautifully not just in a store, but even at home, a chic restaurant or for that matter an eclectic office space as well. The teal and the circular scallops make this a mirror that you just want to look at and take selfies in :)
We see it in Khan Market, New Delhi at a store called Cottons ..where the clothes are to love too.
What is terrible, is that I had to rely on my phone and the app to be able to get my act together and get back to blogging. But you kmow what, it’s actually not that terrible, because I love technology and the Internet and the fact that I’m actually doing this.
It’s been a year and have to carefully go and have a looksie at the post just prior to this … I wrote about overcoming bloggers block… because after that as you will / can see.. there has been zero activity.
Oh well. Let’s keep this baby on the road and Hello!