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Indian Food Festival at InterContinental to further boost India-Saudi relations

Saudi Arabia, October 7, 2018

The first edition of Indian Food Festival kicked off at the Tea Garden restaurant in The InterContinental Hotel Jeddah on Thursday evening under the patronage of the Consulate General of India Jeddah. Dr. Noorul Hasan, Consul commerce at the Indian Consulate in Jeddah opened the festival by cutting the ribbon in a colorful ceremony attended by Anand Kumar, Consul consular, Moin Akhtar, Consul Press and Information, Y.K. Shukla, Head of Chancery at the Indian Consulate, Abdul Rahman Al Zahrani, Director of Sales and Marketing and Haythem Al Ayoobi, executive assistant manager at InterContinental Hotel along with the executive chef Manpreet Malik.

Addressing the press conference held on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony, Dr. Noorul Hasan, Consul commerce at the Indian Consulate in Jeddah said the festival would further help strengthen the bonds of ties between India and Saudi Arabia. Indian Cuisine reflects on 8000 years history of various groups and cultures in directing with the Indian Sub continent leading to diversity of flavors and regional cuisines found in Modern day India. Indian Cuisine consists of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisine native to the Indian subcontinent. These cuisines vary substantially from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by the culture, custom and tradition of the particular societies. The traditional food of India has been widely appreciated for its fabulous use of herbs and spices. Indian food is known for its assortment of dishes. The cooking style varies from region to region and is largely divided into South Indian and North Indian cuisine. India is quite famous for its diverse multi cuisine available in a large number of restaurants, hotels and resorts which itself is a reminiscent of unity in diversity. The stable food in India includes wheat, rice and pulses. In modern times Indian plate has undergone a lot of change as a result of the globalization. A lot of Indians have travelled to different parts of the world and there has been a massive influence of different nationalities in India which has resulted in the Indianisation of various international cuisines. Indian cooking uses turmeric, ginger, garlic and green chilies which also have medicinal and healing prperties. The indian spices which are used for preparing dishes are actually good for the body. India has a unique, tradition, culture and integrity.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Haythem Al Ayoobi, executive assistant manager at InterContinental Hotel said the reason of hosting Indian food festival for the first time in the hotel is Indian food is liked by most of the people. We are expecting a good feedback from our customers and have a good reputation with this experience. We will be repeating the same festival again very soon in our hotel.

Abdul Rahman Al Zahrani, Director of Sales and Marketing at the hotel, said “we are planning to have more food festivals in the coming few months. We have Morrocan, Sri Lankan food festivals in our pipeline. By 2019, we will extend up to 4-5 food festivals in our hotel and Indian will be one of them. I along with my wife are fond of Indian food. We eat Indian food once or twice a month.”

Manpreet Malik, the executive chef at InterContinental Mahabalipuram, Chennai and renowned for his creativity and innovation in Indian cuisines said, I came to Saudi Arabia for the first time I am glad to see people here loving Indian food. Some people are complaining that the food is very spicy, however, Indian food does not get the touch unless it is a bit spicy. I have been in this industry for the last few years and had worked globally as well as in different states of India and got the knowledge of different Indian Cuisine. I am specialized in Punjabi, Rajastani, Lucknowi and Hyderabadi cuisines. I have even traveled to many countries for food festival but did not see the food lovers like here. Although I am from the northern state of Punjab, but did my masters from the southern part of India and presently working in InterContinental Mahabalipuram, Chennai. 2 more chefs from my team have came with me in this food festival. Chef Pramod Bijlawar and Chef Teja Venkatesh. Chef Pramod is the «Sous chef» and Chef Teja is the «chef the party». Sous Chef is the master of Indian Cuisine and Chef the party is the master of Indian sweets and deserts.

Anand Kumar, Consul Consular at the Indian consulate, said “food speaks volumes about any country’s culture and traditions, not to say about the influence of Indian cuisine on deepening the historic India-Saudi relations.”

Abdullah AlKassabi, President Saudi Indian Business network, said “the strong bonds of ties between India and Hijaz, including Makkah and Madinah, date back to centuries and the influence of Indian cuisine is more evident in the Kingdom’s present day western region (Hijaz). Many traders from Hijaz came to India and this resulted in Arab influence in Indian cuisine too.”

Tofayel Ahmed, Event Sales manager and Abhik Chakraborty, Digital marketing manager at the hotel, said this festival will portray the rich culture and will bring forward the true essence of Indian cuisines from all across India. Each day we will have food from different states of India.

The first day of the festival will commence with authentic and rich cuisines from the state of Rajasthan and Punjab. You can enjoy the food dishes from Mumbai and Goa on the second day. The aromatic Delhi and Lucknowi cuisines will be showcased on the third day. You can enjoy the exquisite Kashmiri specialties on the fourth day. Authentic with rich culture and aroma from the kitchen of Nizam which tastes the blend of Mughlai, Tandoori and Iranian cuisines will be served during Hyderabad special.

on the fifth day. The traditional South Indian dishes from the state of Tamil Nadu will be offered on day six. A unique culinary journey of Bengali dishes will be served on the last day of the festival..

With a chance to view daily live cooking demonstrations, the festivities are a must-visit for not only the gourmet, but also those wishing to experience an exclusive and sumptuous dining palate, all in the heart of the city. The festival is open for public from 1830hrs to 2330 hrs from October 04th till October 10th , 2018 at the Tea Garden under the patronage of the Consulate General of India Jeddah.