'People here are very honest'

'People here are very honest'

Expat zone

'People here are very honest'

Churning out Chinese specialties in a matter of minutes is child’s play for Lai Hin Tong William, a chef at the Chinese restaurant at Vivanta by Taj. Having first travelled to Bangalore in 1998, he notes that there has been a drastic change in the City’s ambience, cuisine as well as the work culture through the years.

“I came to Bangalore in 1998 to work for a restaurant. During the first four years, my wife and daughter stayed with me here. My daughter attended an international school. We are from Hong Kong and like living here in our own style. We liked the weather and the people but after four years, my wife and daughter decided to go back to Hong Kong and I decided to stay here. I soon decided to leave as I was feeling lonely. I worked in different countries like Pakistan and Thailand but something pulled me back and I returned to Bangalore after a few years,” explains chef Tong.

He goes on to add that he made the decision to stay away from his family in Bangalore owing to the time he had spent here previously.

   “I had made many friends here and the customers knew me — that helped me move back. After I came back to Bangalore, I was astounded to see the kind of development that had taken place in the City. Bangalore had improved by leaps and bounds. There are many restaurants, it is bustling with people from all over the country, and there are malls, shopping centres and cuisines from all over the world. The spending power of the people has increased, the quality of food is good, people are well-travelled and not only do they enjoy different types of cuisine, they also have good knowledge about it. It is good to see things improving and I feel that the City has a huge potential and scope to improve,” he says.

He feels that the future of the City looks good. However, there are many areas that need improvement and one such area is hygiene and health. Tong says that most Bangaloreans wish the City could become a better place to live.

“I interact with a lot of people in Bangalore and can gauge that they desire to live in a City which has better infrastructure and more amenities. More importantly, people here are very honest and have mutual respect for each other. Without that, it is very difficult to stay in a City that is developing so fast,” he says.

Being in the food business requires him to know the food industry in and out and he says that Bangalore has a wide range of local delicacies. “I have tried very little of the local cuisine here and unfortunately, I cannot remember the names of the dishes. I like having dosa and idli and don’t mind the spicy and tangy flavours that are an intrinsic part of the Indian cuisine. I have tried other dishes like mutton curry and rogan josh. I have also learnt how to prepare a few Indian curries,” he says.

Though he spends most of his time in the kitchen, he has also managed to sneak in some time for leisure. In one of his recent visits to Mysore and Nandi Hills, he was enthralled by the natural beauty and the ethereal style of architecture.

   “I have also visited the zoo and the Cubbon Park. However, what is amazing is the beautiful weather of the City and the friendly nature of its inhabitants. It is a great place for a foodie as there are many cuisines to choose from. I work with the local people here and have noticed that they have a good understanding of the food and are good learners. I try and share my experience as well as knowledge with others as knowledge is something which should be shared. It also spurs me to improve myself. Many a time, I have guided young chefs on how to make a particular dish and that has helped them in the long run,” he says.

“During holidays, I like to spend some time with my friends. We often plan get-togethers and talk about our experiences and the time that we have spent here. When I go back home, I tell my family and friends about the culture of India,” he concludes.