If you are a foodie and longing to enjoy the hitherto unknown traditional authentic foods of Sri Lankan Tamils, then ‘Olai Puttu’, the eatery inaugurated in the port town on Thursday, may be the right destination, where they serve a range of foods and snacks of the island nation.
Women from the Sri Lankan Tamil rehabilitation camps in Maappillaiyoorani, Thaappaaththi and Kulaththuvaaipatti run this eatery and prepare the food and snacks.
‘Olai Puttu’ of Sri Lankan Tamils has taken its roots in one of the shops in the newly inaugurated commercial complex of Thoothukudi Corporation, built on an outlay of Rs. 2 crore, on Carpenter Street near St. Patrick Church close to the First Gate.
Inaugurating the eatery, MP Kanimozhi appealed to the members to ensure hygiene and superior quality of the food they serve to the customers. “This venture should give confidence to the women in rehabilitation camps across Tamil Nadu to take up their business ventures as a group,” she said.
Minister for Social Welfare P. Geetha Jeevan informed that 136 permanent houses were being built in the Sri Lankan rehabilitation camps in Thoothukudi district in the first phase.
Collector K. Senthil Raj said the Sri Lankan Tamils, who could never be considered as ‘others’ or ‘foreigners’, had several things in common to share with the Tamils here including their culture, food, festivals and other celebrations.
He said the ‘olai’ (palm leaf), which was closely associated with the Tamils as the ancestors inscribed the curvy Tamil letters for writing the poems, secrets of native medicine etc. was still inseparably linked to the present generation during the traditional celebrations and serving food.
This Sri Lankan Tamil traditional restaurant is supported as part of a project promoting self-reliance of Sri Lankan Tamil women living in the rehabilitation camps by the Commissionerate of Rehabilitation and Welfare of Non-Resident Tamils, Government of Tamil Nadu, United Nations Refugee Agency and Organisation for Eelam Refugee Rehabilitation.
“Each of the 300 self-help groups in the rehabilitation camps is given Rs. 1.25 lakh as revolving fund to create their own business ventures so as to make the women self-sufficient. In this line, we’ve formed ‘Saathanaippookkal’ SHG with women with culinary skills to serve yummy food of Sri Lanka to the customers here. The women members of ‘Olai Puttu’ have been trained by the experts of Advantage Foods Private Limited to make this first of its kind venture successful,” said Sachidanandam Valan of United Nations Refugee Agency.
Corporation Commissioner T. Charusree and Mayor Jegan Periyasamy were present.