Kathmandu:

This year marks the golden jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Nepal and Sri Lanka. The golden jubilee celebrations kicked off on April 5 with the Sri Lankan food festival ‘Simply Sri Lanka’ at Hotel de l’Annapurna. A special cocktail dinner for invitees was held at the Garden of the hotel to inaugurate the food festival.

Newly appointed Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Prithvi Subba Gurung was the chief guest for the occasion, which was attended by ambassadors, diplomats, entrepreneurs and socialites of the Capital.

“Food is the most important aspect of human civilisation and a country’s culture. It helps in creating the people-to-people touch between two countries. And Nepal is a revered country for Sri Lanka, especially for Buddhists, as Lumbini is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha,” said Sri Lankan Ambassador Sumith Nakandala.

A special media delegation from Sri Lanka was also present to cover this special event.

The soulful Sri Lankan music, staff dressed in the Sri Lankan attire, the garden was all set to treat the Nepali gourmets to “exotic gastronomic delight” of Sri Lanka.

The island nation’s celebrated culinary advisor Shantha Mayadunne, who has been flown in especially for the festival, had prepared a grandiose meal for the invitees. With the help of her two assistants, she had prepared around 40 dishes for the special night. Mayadunne, who has penned two cookery books on her special recipes said, “Coconut milk and curry powders are the basic ingredients of our cuisine. The taste of our dishes depends on the way the curry powders are mixed. The way I mix the powders is completely different, and they are my own creations.”

She further elaborated that Brinjal moju and milk rice might be the dishes closer to the Nepali palate.

The menu included dishes that would satisfy wide range of tastes. There were dishes like Chicken with mango curry and Mutton Slack curry among others for the non-vegetarians. The choices was even more diverse for the vegetarians with dishes of different vegetables like Poloskari (tender jackfruit curry), Fry Ash plant, Fried Bittergourd. The dessert included caramel custard with coconut milk called Watalappam, and special pastries Bibikkan and Dodol.

The main attraction of the evening was Hoppers, special Sri Lankan pancakes made of rice flour, coconut and milk, with a soft, fluffy, well-risen centre and a golden brown crisp border. Different varieties of hoppers like egg hoppers, honey hoppers were being made there at the venue.

The festival is being held till April 7, with lunch at the Coffee Shop and dinner at The Garden. The lunch is priced Rs 777, and the dinner at Rs 999. Both meals include free flow of beer. There are special door prizes being offered for dinner guests.