If you have been dreaming of a peacefully relaxing and utterly charming dining experience, Deka Chang is the ideal place for you.
Born and brought up in Nagaon, Assam, I have fond memories of spending my childhood amid lush greens, alongside the Kolong river. I can still visualise those dozens of small fishing boats pulled up on the sand, fishermen unloading their catches, and birds flying back home as the sun goes to sleep in the waters. On Sundays, my father would take me and my brother to the nearby Rajhongsh hotel to treat us to gorom gorom rosogulla (hot rasgullas) and singra (samosa), while mother would prepare her signature pulao and jaluk diya murgi (pepper chicken). Aah! The memories are very fresh. Years later I came to Guwahati for my +2 studies, before finally moving to Delhi to settle down here.
For Guwahatians, Sonapur — some 20 minutes from Khanapara has always been ‘the’ ultimate spot to chill out. Surrounded my greens, this area has numerous restaurants with private cottages for those looking for an intimate dining experience. Sadly, even after two years of my stay in Guwahati, I had been to Sonapur only once until a fellow foodie friend, Sisir decided to take me out for lunch this year at an eco-resort. To my surprise, the food hub over the years has quite changed, with more themed restaurants and bars, and environment friendly resorts having been established.
My tryst with Deka Chang
Tucked away amidst the tea gardens and bamboo groves is Deka Chang — a beautiful resort offering authentic Assamese cuisine, along with a delightful array of Chinese and North Indian.
Picture source: DreamsandClouds
The eatery’s spacious, rural style décor was very inviting. What I liked most was how well the tables were spaced out. This is in stark contrast to many other restaurants which usually seat patrons too closely to one another, where one can inadvertently listen in to private conversations from the next table.
The owners subscribe to eco-friendly practices and this extends to their setup and furniture too. The resort is built using mainly bamboo, hay and wood sourced from trees such as teak and banyan. There are beautiful cottages, overlooking a lotus pond that provides habitat for fish, ducks and swans. If you are a nature lover like me, this place can never disappoint you.
The idea of having food while listening to the birds and insects sing their tunes sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? And the best part — you can carry your booze from outside. To beat the heat, we took a couple of beers pints.
After taking a quick scan of the menu, which consists most of my favourite dishes, we decided to order Sunga Kukura Mangxo (chicken cooked in bamboo hollow) and Gahori Pura (pork roast) for starters. Teamed up with the drinks, we were in seventh heaven. The chicken was tender and mild in spice, and the pork with generous amount of garlic and ginger was quite appetising to our taste buds.
One of the new interesting offerings on the menu is Sunga Saul, steamed rice wrapped in banana leaves. For mains, we picked the rice, Sunga Gahori (pork cooked in bamboo hollow), and Alu Koni Pitika (mashed potato and boiled eggs). The staff was courteous enough to agree when we requested them to prepare the Sunga Gahori in gravy style. We were impressed with the rich smoky flavoured gravy drizzled with farm fresh herbs. The Alu Koni Pitika was good with the right mount of salt, green chillies and coriander leaves.
As we were already full because of the huge quantity, we missed most of the exotic delicacies. We would suggest you to try out the Mati Dalire Haanh (duck meat in black lentil), Pura Bilahi Pitika (mashed roasted tomato), Pura Masor Pitika (mashed roasted fish), Til Diya Gahori (pork in sesame seeds) and Rou Masor Jul (tangy fish curry).
For desserts, there is Payox (rice pudding) and an array of regular Indian sweets. But Sisir had gifted me an assortment of cupcakes, which we greedily finished off in no time.
Post the relaxing lunch, we walked further to nearby surroundings, and ended the evening at the lookout point, where we enjoyed more of the scenic view of the setting sun.
Meal for two: Rs 1,500
Open for lunch and dinner
Address: Asian Highway -1 ( National Highway – 37), Guwahati, Assam
Cover picture: Angshuman Barooah
Food pictures: Guwahati Foodie