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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review: Pan Asian, Chapel Street, Prahran

Pan Asian on Urbanspoon

If you feel like getting your fill of different Asian food in a buffet style setup where you can eat all the satay chicken skewers you like then head down to Pan Asian in Chapel Street, Prahran on a weekend afternoon. The food is diverse and spans across Asia from mini Indian samosas to wedges of Japanese okonomyiaki that go down quite a treat.

The entree spread includes dishes like fried chicken wings sitting on a banana leaf for authenticity, in a wicker tray. An interesting cold soba noodle "do it yourself" salad with all the components neatly on display in bento box style arrangement.

It also would not be complete without an bain marie section, which in my opinion is synonymous with Asian take-away. Here you will find octupus flavoured balls and japanese omelettes drizzled with the traditional sweet soy and mayonaisse dressing. A spongy fish ball concoction in clear broth, Thai fish cakes with dipping sauce and south Indian vadais and samosas.

Another dish that is worth a mention is the "do it yourself" laksa station, where you can choose your inclusions and have as much soup as you want or noodles. The broth is of a thinner consistency than the laksas I usually make but it had a good aroma and overall flavour.

The mains filled the whole back section and were a mixture of curries and stir fry type dishes. The curries were predominant with coconut based sauces and not to heavy on the chilli.  Two of the best ones that I had were in clay pots over a flame - A Malaysian fish curry and a spicy chicken curry.

Malaysian style Fish Curry
Indonesian style Chicken Curry 
Beef Rendang
Stir Fried Beef was another dish that was enjoyed and it was a fresh contrast to the curries although not as spicy as would have liked it.  This dish was more on the sweet side and it was the perfect prelude to dessert.  

Dessert was made up of a combination of puddings and sweet treats.  The colourful, layered jelly cubes (agar agar) looked very enticing.  If you have enough room left then the Indian sweet dumplings (gulab jamuns) will hit that sweet spot.  I also reccommend the cassava cake and the deep fried banana fritters with cinnamon sugar.

The glutinous black rice with coconut milk topping was the dessert that got the tables vote, with many bowls polished down satisfyingly.   
All in all the lunch buffet at Pan Asian was a worthwhile adventure around the various cuisines of different Asian countries.  The food was of a good quality and definitely much better than those cheap Chinese smorgasbords that always seem to serve the same sweet Cantonese dishes dripping in colourful sauces.  At around $30 a head, you get to enjoy some real flavour and I cannot complain about it.  Sure this was no fine dining, despite the Chapel Street address, but the restaurant was comfortable and the decor was modern.  Large, vivid animated Japanese art adorn the wallpaper and provide a colourful backdrop.  A huge chandelier above you on the high ceiling gives a little sense of yesteryear, fused with the citrus coloured oriental laterns brings you right back to today and the hustle and bustle of the street outside.   


Chapel Street said...

I didn't know they had a do-it0yourself style section. DIY soba and laska? I am SO up for that!

ngizee said...

Laksa was great, it was limited to chicken and fried tofu as the protein additions, but if you can make do with that, the taste certainly makes up for it.