Korean Kimchi enthralls local taste buds

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By RL KameiIMPHAL, April 26: The popularity of Korean food in the ongoing Chinzak festival is such that with only five days since the start of the festival (on April 22), the Korean stall is facing shortage of its main ingredients used for cooking their food items.
According to the managing director of the organizing committee Khuraijam Athouba, the Korean food stall is able to make around Rs 11,000 to Rs 14,000 in a day, such is the popularity of the Korean food stall amongst the visitors of the festival.
Stall keeper of the Korean food stall, Jai Byeon maintained that his stay in the state has been an endearing experience. He even expressed unbelievingly that there are many among the local populace who can speak Korean.
Further speaking to this IFP reporter, he stated that since the physical outlook and culture of the Koreans and the people of the region are similar in many ways, he doesn’t feel out of place in Manipur.
He further stated that his team could not prepare properly beforehand due to the short notice from the organizers, none the less they are very happy with the organizers for asking them to participate in the festival.
He further expressed his intention to come again if they are asked to.
Other international stalls participating in the festival which will end on May 1 include China, Tibet and Thailand.Yendrembam Jamini, stall keeper of the Kakching stall, who received the Best seller title in the previous edition of the food festival sans the international stalls, stated that all the items available in their stalls are prepared and named by herself with the help of her mother who also acts as her helper in her stall.  
According to the stall keeper, her stall is able to earn atleast rupees seven to eight thousand in a day.One can get various indigenous food items in her stall ranging from Chakhou Matum (brown rice cake), Chakhau Tan (brown rice) and many other local delicacies.
On asked about her feelings about participating in such an international food festival, she stated that the festival has tremendously helped her and the others like herself in exposing the local cuisines on a bigger platform. She added that the popularity of the local food items has increased tremendously during the food festival.
However she expressed that the location is a bit small and she would like to appeal to the organizers to arrange for a bigger venue next time, so that more stalls could be added and help in popularizing the event more.
In a brief interaction with the managing director of the organizing committee, he told this IFP reporter that fearing the inclement weather could play spoilsport, the committee was unable to arrange for a bigger venue, however he added that the committee will make sure to arrange a bigger and more suitable venue for the event next time around.
Next year would be organized in a much larger extent he added with more participation of foreign stalls probably from countries like Veitnam, Laos, Indonesia and Japan.
On asked about the  non participation of Veitnam and Japan from this year’s edition he stated that due to the recent tsunami Japan was unable to make it, however he firmly believe that a stall from Japan will surely participate next year.
The ongoing Chinzak Festival at the Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, organised by the Innovative Youth Society has provided the much needed platform for the exquisite local cuisines to compete against the internationally acclaimed cuisines from countries like Thailand, China, Korea and Tibet.
The festival has 37 stalls in all including both local and international stall and one information counter of the Tourism department, government of Manipur. With people of all ages visiting the stalls for a much needed break from the hustle bustle of life and indulge in the magnanimous spread of cuisines, one can only understand the popularity of the Chinzak festival.

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