Rang de Basanthi food fest @ Uday Samudra, Kovalam

Two food fests on alternate days were a bit too much to handle but it was indeed a foodie weekend as we headed to the Uday Samudra at Kovalam for the ‘Rang de Basanthi’ food festival. This unique food festival being held from November 11-14 was a tribute to the Border Security Force (BSF) and was dedicated to the heroes of BSF. It may be noted that BSF Day is celebrated on December 1st every year.

The four-day fest offered some of the best cuisines from our neighbouring countries especially those who share their international border with us. There were select delicacies from Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Sri Lanka to give that international flavour while those from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab gave the local taste. The live station, chat counter, dessert section and tea stall also offered several options.

Sebastian P Abraham, the Executive Chef, gave us an idea about the menu. “The menu features dishes and desserts from ten international border cuisines. There are three sets of soups, salads, main course dishes and desserts from each cuisine and this would change daily thus giving our guests a wide variety of food to enjoy.”

There were just too many things to try out – a variety of soups and salads from different countries. The live station had chole batture; egg appams and kottu roti from Sri Lanka, and few local items. There was also a chaat counter.

The first day of the festival had a good balance of veg and non-veg dishes from the bordering countries. Machher Jhol from Bangladesh, Nihari Mutton from Pakistan, Butter Chicken Masala and Dal Makhni from Punjab; Orange Honey Chicken, Spicy hot noodle and stir fried Tofu from China, Ceylon Crab Curry and green mango curry from Sri Lanka; Jasha Maroo, Ema Datshi and Red rice from Bhutan, Veg momos and Aalu dum from Nepal, were the highlights of the main course.

The nihari mutton curry which had rich spicy gravy along with tava parantha was my personal favourite. The coconut milk based Ceylon crab curry had mild spices and went well with hot appams.

The dessert section had about a dozen sweets and savouries – Set Roti, Karachi Halwa, Shahi Tukda, Dates Pancake, and Halwa Puri (similar to Khujiya), to name a few.

Overall, this was an excellent opportunity to check out some dishes from different cuisines. Since it was Sunday night, we had to rush back to the city. If it was Saturday night, we could have spent some more time there.

Please click here to see more photographs or check out the video below.

Anil Philip

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