Stay at La Maison de Ananda and food at Rishong’s family kitchen was a part of Textile and bio diversity trail organised by exotic echo. (Contactexoticecho@gmail.com)
In a NUtshell:
A series of 3 dinners of home style food, cooked and served inside a traditional bamboo house on stilts, by a family from the Mising tribe of Assam – as authentic as it can get in terms of both experience & the food itself. Memorable.
Address & other details: Exotic Echo
Meal for 2: part of the stay
Cuisine type : vegetarian & non vegetarian
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The 3 dinners we had here was part of the stay offered by exotic echo. So I do not have a separate receipt for the same
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster
Short description- in case u r in a hurry
La Maison de ananda –
This traditional bamboo hut home stay was started by a French couple years back. They conceptualised the place, lived here, got in thousands of French visitors over the years and eventually left back to France. Those days they worked together with Monjit Rishong, belonging to Mising tribe from Assam and his family
Rishong’s family used to cook in their kitchen cum dining hall and serve food to Ananda’s guests. Rishong now runs the hotel and owns the kitchen.
For years the set up was traditional bamboo huts only. Of late, with surge in demand, Rishong has tied up with a company from Guwahati and has set up a hotel in the backyard. It’s a well maintained regular hotel made of brick and mortar. Going forward there will be a modern restaurant serving Assamese food in the ground floor of the hotel.
The original Ananda house was a fully bamboo made structure and everything in it was traditional except having a modern western commode in the washroom.
There is one bedroom, one balcony and one washroom in the house. The bedroom has 3 single beds, a study table and a storage Almirah. The washroom has a hand pump in it to draw water directly from the ground.
The house is on stilts and the only way to get up is to climb up a wooden beam with small steps in it. Not recommended for people with knee problems. For the rest it is brilliant – all bamboo hut , as authentic as it can get.
The modern brick stay experience has the modern day comforts but it is nowhere as romantic as the original bamboo one.
My suggestion is to go and stay at this place b4 it becomes too modern. The feel that we got eating at the bamboo kitchen is unparalleled- not replicable in a restaurant.
Rishong’s family kitchen
They serve dinner in the bamboo house called ‘rishong’s family kitchen’. Food is cooked here on bamboo and wood fire and served straight to the table. We were told that wood used was dead wood – collected from forest.
Open kitchen can’t get more open than this. Food here was authentic, simple and like home food – sometimes wow, sometimes great, sometimes just OK – not standardised.
Food here is cooked at their home. There are people employed to help as well. I have heard that earlier the family members used to serve from the kitchen and guests would sit in front and eat food served straight out of the wok.
Nowadays the set up is much bigger. There are bamboo stools to sit and short height bamboo tables. So sitting on the floor and eating is not the norm. One can however get the floor seating on request I guess.
Loved looking at a pin up board on the dining area, where earlier guests have put up currencies from their respective countries.
Like in home food, there were ups and downs, coz it is not standardised.
Word of caution –
1. People used to very hot (chilly) food / food with a lot of spices / food with spices on the face, might not like this food initially as they might find the cuisine bland.
2. the gravies are thin yet robust in flavors and taste as compared to the thick gravies eaten in many parts of india.
3. All meals have rice. So roti lovers will have to mentally adjust to this
4. Most food is made without onions, garlic and are also mostly vegan. This might be a cause for discomfort initially.
5. This food grows on you. Takes a bit of time.
Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
We had 3 dinners here
We enjoyed the Locally grown unpolished Red rice – it had a very nice texture.
Raw papaya curry – could not believe that raw papaya could taste so so good. Simple. Not hot. Minimal oil. Magical taste just by keeping the balance of salt right and the basics. Texture of papaya was retained well. Rate it 4.5/5
Mixed vegetable curry with beans, potato and pumpkin was basic but nice and comforting. It was kind of fried in low fire over a longer time. The veggies retained their respective texture, yet they got along very well. Loved this one. Rate it 4.5/5
The Daal was extremely low in spices but delicious and heart warming – perfect seasoning once again. Rate it 4.5/5
Roasted aubergine was home like, with smokey flavours, mashed with just salt. No distractions. This was made from the narrow pipe-like brinjals grown in this part of the country. Rate it 4.25/5
We also tried some local rice beer. It was a lot more white than the one we had at the deori tribe home. The one at Rishong’s was very good but the deori one was better by a huge margin. Rate the rice beer 4/5
We were excited to try Khuri maas – full fresh water fish (head to tail) roasted on direct flame. It was however difficult to eat as it had lot of bones (which is ok) and the fact that the fish was dryish due to being cooked directly on fire. The combination of lots of small bones and very dry did not help. My sense is that if we were to eat this immediately after the first roast, it wud hv been very good. However, here it was roasted and kept beside fire for long. The fish tasted good and fresh though. Rate it 2.5/5
Aubergine fry was simple and tasty – just marinated in salt and turmeric b4 frying. Rate it 4.25/5
Daal was less wow than the previous evening. Rate it 4/5.
We loved the simple home like vegetable curry with cauliflower& potato. Very low and very few spices, not hot, no gravy, not oily – yet super tasty. Rate it 4.25/5
Fish curry with vegetables had a thin gravy that was very nice. Loved its tanginess and flavors of fish in the gravy. The fish piece was fresh and good. Rate it 4.5/5
We tried Khuri maas again. It was similar to previous evening.
Roasted chicken was roasted on bamboo skewers. The chicken was with bones – something you don’t expect in skewered chicken. The chicken was very dry and I did not get the point. Taste was good but jaws would start paining after chewing on a few. I think this was because they would make the skewers and keep them beside the chulha, which was drying off the meat over time. Rate it 1/5.
Greens were lovely. They retained their crunch , they were juicy and we went gaga over their simplicity and outstanding taste. Rate it 4.5/5
We also had the bean, potato and carrot dry curry. Once again this was very good to taste. The veggie retained their respective texture. Yet they went well with each other. Rate it 4.5/5
Super loved the fish curry – it had full blown flavors of fresh fish in the thin gravy , it had perfect seasoning and was excellent to taste. Rate it 4.75/5
On all 3 breakfasts they served us freshly made masala omelettes, toasted bread and impeccable strong and flavorful Assam tea with milk.
Loved the omelettes. These used to be juicy, perfectly seasoned and had the right amount of chillies and onion. Super well balanced. These were cooked in mustard oil and hence had a hint of pungent mustard flavor. Rate them 4.25/5
Rate the tea 4.5/5
Overall food at Rishong’s kitchen averages out to 4.1/5
Wud look forward to having some more meals here.