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Srilanka whets Indian appetite

September 5, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

India is Sri Lanka’s key tourism market and the island nation’s authorities are working to keep the trend going. A Sri Lankan Food Festival is being organised by Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Mumbai, along with The Leela, Mumbai hotel from 30 August to 8 September. This will be followed by travel trade roadshows in different cities of India.

Chamari Rodrigo, Consul General of Sri Lanka, Mumbai, said: “It’s our endeavour to showcase different facets of our country here in India. We have invited legendary chef Publis to showcase traditional favourites of Sri Lankan food and Chef Sunanda Kumar to introduce some modern food trends of Sri Lanka at the food festival.”

Sri Lanka Government’s bestow of the country’s highest award of ‘Deshabandhu’ (literally, friend of the nation) to Chef Dr Publis Silva of century old Mount Laviniya Hotel depicts the importance given by the Island nation to its food culture. Self learnt chef has an honorary doctorate and 23 cookbooks to his credit. Chef Sunanda Kumar is from Cinnmaon group of Hotels, a premier chain that operates in Sri Lanka and Maldives and is exploring opening hotels in India’s Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai cities.

Abhishek Basu, Executive Assistant Manager, Food & Beverage, The Leela, Mumbai said: “We like to promote authentic cuisines. Sri Lankan chefs are carrying many ingredients, spices, sweets and particular utensils from Sri Lanka to prepare dishes for the food festival. Our clients love to taste different cuisine and ask for particular dishes even after the food festival is over. That’s the main aim, as our in-house chefs pickup the recipe and occasionally adopt it into the restaurant menu.”

Chef Surender Mohan, Executive Chef, The Leela Mumbai; Dr. Malini Shankar, Director General, Directorate General of Shipping; Mrs. Chamari Rodrigo, Consul General; Mr. Sameer Sud, General Manager, The Leela Mumbai, Mr. Hiten Parekh, Joint Managing Director, Nilkamal Limited;Deshabandu Dr. Chef Publis Silva; Mr. Udeni Perera, Manager- Western India, SriLanka

Fresh seafood cooked in locally grown sour fruit and spices make ambul thiyal, a delicacy to crave for by any seafood connoisseur. Chicken chetty roast, mutton liver curry, lamb curry are part of the festival.  Kottu roti/paratha with varied combination of meat or vegetables, somewhat similar to a few dishes in Southern India, is especially popular, so is pol sambol, a spicy coconut and onion salad.

Ms Rodrigo said: “Food, part of a lifestyle, forms an introduction to a culture and brings more awareness about a country. Sri Lankan food festivals in India will be an annual feature. We have also scheduled travel trade shows on 4 and 5 September in Ahmedabad, 7, 8, and 9 in Rajkot and on 11th in Surat. Sri Lanka tea and coffee exporters will be in Mumbai for an exhibition in November. Indian Railways is introducing Ramayana circuit in November.

Chef Surender Mohan, Executive Chef, The  Leela andDeshabandu Dr. Chef Publis Silva

Sri Lanka exports teas and spices to India. The circuit based on Indian epic Ramayana, is set in both Indian and Srilanka according to the mythological story. Hence, Indian Railways Packages will include a few places in India and continue on to Sita Eliya in the cool forests of mountainous Nuwara Eliya region.

Colombo, Galle and Kandy are other popular destinations for Indians visiting Sri Lanka.  SriLankan Airlines has 126 weekly flights out of 14 cities in India. Udeni Periera, Manager, Western India, SriLankan Airlines said that his airline has extended support to the consulate by ferrying necessary items for the food festival.

Written by Anand & Madhura Katti

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