Expect out of the ordinary when you enter 'Gaggan' in Bangkok that has been ranked the best in Asia and the 10th best in the world this year. Gaggan was the only Indian cuisine restaurant to make it to the World’s 50 best. For Kolkata-born chef Gaggan Anand - "a progressive path was necessary to change the face of Indian cuisine globally". You'll often find him wearing protective glasses and wielding a blow torch as gases fume through the kitchen doors.(Asia's 50 Best Restaurants - 2015)Chef Anand shares that his progressive cooking comes from his desire to change the look, feel, texture and taste of Indian food - inspired by rock and roll music and his guru, Ferran Adria at ElBulli restaurant in Spain's Girona town.(The World's 50 Best Restaurants-2015)Drawing flavours from the street food of Kolkata, Anand retains some of the popular street snacks on his menu. Chocolate pani puri, edible plastic spiced nuts, potato 2-some - crispy and liquid, Keema pao (mini burgers made with lamb curry), Bengali mustard and noori pakoda find a place among the street food inspirations."I had the idea to open a restaurant with Indian food made in a progressive way, but it took me two years to believe that my idea could be made possible," Anand exclaimed adding that his culinary journey was never planned but he had merely followed what had come his way.
Serving food with techniques of molecular gastronomy (application of scientific methods for food development), Gaggan has been revolutionizing the way Indian food is crafted since 2010. The techniques range from the use of liquid nitrogen (for instantly freezing substances), sous vide (a technique where meats or other substances are vaccum sealed in a packet and immersed in a hot water bath to ensure slow cooking), use of maltodextrin to convert oils into powdered form - these are some of the key techniques of molecular gastronomy.(Jazzing it up: Indian Restaurants that Serve Contemporary Food with a Twist)"I would not say that all Indian food tastes better in this progressive way. But we keep researching to make the food not just about technique. If you try the 23 courses that we make, it can be seen that each one is a different technique and application, adding to a different texture," Anand said, adding that a research space is a very important component of his kitchen to keep innovating.The restaurant also allows the customers to choose to be seated at the 'chef's table', which has a see-through glass offering a view into the kitchen. The dishes, with the fuming liquid nitrogen or smoked meats, add to the theatrics. The menu also allows a 'Taste of Gaggan' or the 'Best of Gaggan', each consisting of over 10 courses.When questioned on why he chose Bangkok and not anywhere in India for his restaurant, he replied, "I was already settled in Bangkok, but we're planning to open a restaurant in India we also. When and where, we'll hold that as a surprise."
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