Rilbong food fest draws foodies from across Northeast
Shillong (Meghalaya) [India], Dec. 12 (ANI): Food lovers and gastronomes from all across Shillong and other parts of Northeast thronged the Rilbong food festival in large numbers recently.
The popular food festival, held after a gap of 14 years, proved to be a big draw and served as an ideal platform for some of the best cooks to showcase their creative culinary skills.
The food festival was organised by the Rilbong Sports and Cultural Club as part of its ongoing Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
"Everybody has a food culture and we were trying to bring together this cosmopolitan and diverse food culture on one platform so that people will see and appreciate what they don't know about other communities, what kinds of food they have to offer and how do they make them," Manash Choudhury, President, Rilbong Sports and Cultural Club, said.
There were over 200 participants in different categories that included mutton dishes, chicken and pork delicacies, fish curries and even dry fish in the non-vegetarian category.
"Both tribal and non-tribal people came and tasted my items. It was really surprising that people here explored and had food items like fermented soya beans, pork etc. People liked it and packed stuff from my stalls. I think such festivals should be organized every year as it unites different communities and people come together to get a taste of different dishes," said Sheena Milick, a participant.
From a bird made out of sweet potatoes to a nest of noodles, which was a major attraction, the event drew huge crowds from all walks of life.
There was also the vegetarian category and, adding to this, was the "live" cooking contest where participants cooked.
"I came here with my daughter and mother and all of us were participants. I visited many stalls and it was very interesting to make the salad as on-the-spot competition was going on. It really enlightened us," said another participant.
Some of the participants came out with extraordinary displays that included a mutton keema dish made in the shape of a fish.
Apart from the regular contest, there were various other contests which involved visitors identifying different Indian spices, answering a questionnaire on table etiquette, identifying Indian Thalis and a general quiz on different aspects of food.
"Different cultures and communities came here and tasted each other's cuisines. I think it was very good bonding as we learned about each other. So, that's more important. I learnt about so many other cuisines and tried some others such as the non-vegetarian items. I am very happy as Manash da has done a really good job," said another participant.
Besides these, an exclusive array of sweet dishes like cupcakes, Rabri and Faluda etc. were also on display. Wide varieties of pickles and local made potato chips were also exhibited in the festival.
Delectable Bengali cuisine such as the famous fish curry was one such item that drew foodies.
"I am presenting it to enjoy as I'm participating here for the first time. I prepared Sheetol Fish Kofta which is boneless. I have enjoyed my time here as people are visiting my stall were eating my food. It is a very good platform for people to communicate, get to meet others, taste various dishes and also learn a lot," said Pinky Ghosh, a participant.
Such food festivals bring to light the essence of culinary cultures of different communities, evoke a bit of inclusiveness and strengthen the bond of unity among people of diverse cultures. (ANI)