MILLER’S ROAD:Foodies in town have an unusual Saturday ahead, as a delicious food festival presenting dishes from North-East India comes to town.
Northeast Solidarity, an NGO that was formed in 2012 when rumours of violence sent North-East Indians fleeing Bengaluru, is organising this festival, and proceeds from the same will go towards the helpline launched by the organisation that is currently facing a fund crunch.
The city plays host to several food festivals showcasing dishes from one or two states from North-East India. But this time, the idea is to bring the entire region’s cuisine to Bengaluru and tickle the tastebuds of the adventurous, the organisers say.
The NGO has 10 members, of which five live in the city and work with other NGOs as well. In conversation with City Express, Lalrinawmi Ralte, founder and president of Northeast Solidarity, says, “This is the first time a festival showcasing North-Eastern food is being held on such a large scale. Earlier, individual ethnic groups organised festivals on different days, but this is the first time we have all come together as a whole to offer food.”
Ask her about the dishes at the festival, and Ralte explains, “We will have a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Many North-Eastern communities eat non-vegetarian food. In fact, there is no festival that is celebrated without meat. There will be dishes made of pork, beef, chicken and fish for the meat lovers, while the vegetarian menu will include soups, salads and stir-fried vegetables. There will also be Mizo snacks like rice cake, corn cake, etc.”
With most items on the menu being priced between Rs 200-Rs 300 and a handy coupon system in place, the organisers are expecting to play host to at least 1,000 guests. When asked about the aim behind such a festival, Ralte says, “We are aiming to have a solidarity feast for the people of Bengaluru who are welcome to have a meal for peace and national integration. Food can be a divisive force or can bring people together. It reflects culture, tradition and becomes a showcase for our people to reach out to the locals.”
There will be 12 stalls at the festival with names of states to help identify the cuisine, for those who want to explore. “The biggest challenge was sourcing the ingredients. There was not enough time to get all of them from home, though we tried our best. But we promise that we will keep trying to share the richness of the food from the North-East.”