By L.C.K Singh
Imphal, April 23 : Thousands of Manipuris and tourists are converging at the first ever Manipur Chingzak Festival being organised organized at Gandhi Memorial Hall complex in Imphal to popularise the local cuisines among tourists and people in the State.
Hosted by the Innovative Youth Development Association (IYDA) in collaboration with famed makers of special dishes from different places in Manipur, the 11-day food festival that commenced on April 18 is a gourmet's delight.
"The promotion of indigenous food will help the Manipuris economically. The educated unemployed will be able to earn," said the Sub-Divisional officer of Imphal,
Sharma said that once eateries dishing out local delicacies come up along the highways, the economy of the State would experience a major positive change.
This feed festival has given an opportunity to all to learn, preserve and promote the traditional food items, many of which are on the verge of being forgotten due to junk food from other countries.
Members of IYDA pointed out that in the name of rendering star-rated hospitality to visitors and other tourists, many hotels and restaurants are not promoting the traditional delicacies.
"The festival's main objective of organising this is preservation, promotion and production. This is our main of organising this type of festival," said KH Athouba Singh, Convenor, IYDA.
The objective is to promote the different cuisines of Manipur, especially the many forgotten indigenous food items of Manipur.
Singh further said: "There are some very common items, some are very rare, and those confined in very small local markets are termed as indigenous food of Manipur, on the verge of going into the oblivion. These food items in particular we are trying to promote, preserve and save it from extinction."
At the ongoing festival, various communities and tribals have set up 15 stalls to dish out authentic fare of beef, pork, fish, vegetables, rice beer and many more from their homes.
Manipur's cuisine is rice and meat-based and traditionally eaten with banana leaves as plates.
Among the famed Manipuri delicacies are Kangsoi (a dry fish and vegetable stew), Kobok (puffed or roasted rice and molasses dessert) and Iromba (fish chutney, bamboo shoots and vegetables). Varieties of boiled beef dishes are also popular.
"There are a lot of food items we get from outside but there are food items that we can produce. And this festival is a good way to showcase our capabilities as well as food items which are specific to Manipur," said G. Sanatombi Devi, a lady cook and vendor.
Organisers have planned to make this an annual event and stage it at different venues in Manipur. Apart from this, IYDA intends to reach out outside the State at places like Shillong, Guwahati, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore etc.
The food festival concludes on April 28.