Indigenous food carnival ends amidst applause

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IMPHAL, April 29: The 10-day International Chinjak Festival, the third in a series, concluded this evening in a well attended function presided by the commissioner tourism, KK Chhettri, at the Iboyaima Shumang Lila Shanglen, Konung Lampak.

The function was marked by distribution of awards including to the most popular stalls. The venue was thronged by the largest crowd in the 10 days of the festival and was a mix people of all ages.

According to the man behind the show, Athouba, the total sale as of yesterday was a little over Rs. 9 lakhs and estimated that the figure would have touched Rs. 10 lakhs by the end of the day today.

This indicated an appreciable rise from Rs. 8 lakhs last year and close to Rs. 7 lakhs in the first edition of the festival two years ago.

In all more than 30,000 visitors were recorded at the entry ticket counter as of yesterday.

The highest sale was recorded by the Tibetan stall which sold just two simple items of Thukpa (noodle soup) and Mono (dumplings). The stall transacted nearly to Rs. 90,000 till yesterday, as per the coupons exchanged, and at the end of the day would have touched Rs. 1 lakh, Athouba said.

Of the foreign stalls, Singapore’s shark fin soup came close to the Tibetan thukpa and momo. Hong Kong pork and the Thailand stalls followed, with Korea and Laos trailing close behind.

Local stalls also did brisk businesses, and the Phormon Phola stall was amongst the most popular. The boiled pork sold at the Keishamthong stall too did good business, he said.

It may be noted that the Chinjak festival, an annual event introduced by a group of enterprising young people, is a celebration of indigenous foods of the Manipur. Entries from South East and East Asia are meant as a complement to the local flavours.

Its stated objective is to promote indigenous culinary cultures of Manipur and the Northeast.

Despite some understandable hiccups along the way, the festival was met with deep all round appreciation from food lovers of Imphal.

Speaking at the function, KK Chhettri said the Chinjak Festival was a commendable effort, and he would try and make it a feature of the Government’s tourism initiative of the state.

He said exotic local food has always been a major attraction for tourists everywhere in the world, and Manipur does not lack either in variety or quality to present its indigenous cuisines as a rich offering for tourists who visit the state.

He congratulated the organisers and wished them success in organising much bigger editions of the festival in the future.

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