Legend has it that Krishna held up the Govardhan mountain for a week to protect his village and the people from the wrath of The God of Rain (Lord Indra). Krishna held up the mountain for seven days straight, skipping his usual eight meals a day. Once the rains abated, the villagers offered their thanks by preparing the Annakuta or mountain of food. This was a combination of the eight meals (Bhog in Hindi) of the day multiplied times seven and hence, fifty-six (Chappan in Hindi). Chappan Bhog is usually offered on Janmashtami (Birthday of Krishna).
Our five fingers have five rasas: sweet, salty, sour, spicy and savoury. When we cook with our hands, these five rasas get transferred to the food. Looking at the larger picture of the Chappan Bhog, this grand feast is a more prominent manifestation of those rasas. After all, what better medium to convey and transfer feelings than food? In artistic or literary terms, rasa can be called the aesthetic flavour of any form of art that elicits the desired emotion in the mind of the reader or viewer. Likewise, food is a source of emotion too, it brings joy, it brings back memories, it opens up conversations.
When food is prepared and offered to the gods, it is believed to become even more sacred, having been ‘consumed’ by the powers above. So, the 56 dishes accepted by Krishna and then distributed among his devotees is symbolic of the rasas or relationship with him being established.
With such purity and sense of devotion, Chappan Bhog has been perceived synonymously with Vegetarian feast for Krishna’s devotees and Vegetarian people. A restaurant named after this legendry feast – Chappan Bhog in Abu Dhabi has an excellent track record of serving Vegetarian Food from India since the year 1996. Delectable sweets, mouthwatering Chaat, delicious Indian street food, and warm and simple hospitality makes every dining experience memorable yet regular affair in Chappan Bhog. The pocket-friendly prices may make you visit Chappan Bhog time and again and such a frequent visit can be your routine due to right balance between price and quality; moreover, the taste of food will leave on your palate.
Elegant interiors, simple menu, prompt service, and absolute safety measures amid pandemic should make Chappan Bhog a place to hang out with friends (of course with the mask on), to spend a leisure with family, and to taste the Indian savouries.
The bold flavours of street food like Chole Bhature, Veg Seekh Kababs, and Paneer Chilli are intriguing as well as striking. The savoury Indian Chaat is best to taste as it is since the alteration may ruin its essence, and one cannot identify the real flavours of Chaat. Sooji Panipuri, Raj Kachori, Samosas, Vada Pao, and tempting Khandvi are just at right combination of savouriness and texture; Chappan Bhog’s Chaat is one of the bests in town.
The Indian snacks displayed on reception and cash counter may make you spend extra bucks while paying a bill for your food as they are irresistible. Though there are minimalistic flaws in flavours of street food and Chaat, the curries and rice are slightly flawed as they taste ordinary but decent. Indian sweets which are rich in dairy are often disappointing in UAE except that in few of the eateries like Chppan Bhog.
The Indian sweets made out of raw buffalo or cow milk by boiling and condensing it keep the creaminess of the milk-based sweets intact but in UAE where pasteurised milk is used to recreate the Indian sweets fails to deliver the indigenous taste which we get in India. The primary quality of milk is the reason for the appropriate texture of Indian sweets in India but the pasteurised cow milk (which is thin in texture originally) with added condensed milk to eat cannot produce the authentic Indian sweets. However, Chappan Bhog manages to reach near the real Indian taste of sweets with experienced confectioners. Kulfi, Trupti Bhog, Lassi, Ras malai, etc. are the right choice of desserts in Chappan Bhog.
Chappan Bhog doesn’t need much bragging about its reputation in Abu Dhabi and one of the top choices of Indian restaurants (budget), but a knowing couple of insights about its offerings and inspiration behind its concept is not bad at all; I hope this blog helps you understand it.
Average Cost: AED 55 for two people (approx.)
Location: Ground Level, World Trade Center Souq, Al Markaziya, Abu Dhabi
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