New Delhi, Dec 6 (UNI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today inaugurated the first ever SAARC Food Festival here in the presence of all the visiting Foreign Ministers of the member countries.
Speaking on the occasion at the Hotel Ashok, Mr Mukherjee said the food festival was in keeping with the joint agenda launched at the fourteenth South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meet in April earlier this year to promote cultural exchanges between the countries.
''Food is not a mere necessity, it's a product of centuries of evolution. What we eat provides a window to the culture we belong to. In each of our countries, the spices and the forms of cooking are the same but the way we serve them animates the spirit of SAARC.
The food we serve here is done in a silver thali regarded as auspicious in our region,'' the Minister said.
He asserted that through this food festival, ''we are emphasising the people-to-people contact to move towards a better society''.
Organised by the the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, two chefs from each country are participating in the festival, including Bangladesh's famous chef Tommy Miah.
Among the array of dishes are Pakistan's Alubukhara Chutney, Steamed Wax Gourd from Maldives, Kabuli Pulao from Afghanistsn, Bhutan's Buckwheat Pasta, Green Bengal Chicken from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka's Sour and Spicy Fish.
The event is a part of the ongoing cultural festival of the SAARC which would be concluded on December 9.