Dishes and diners galore — it's a gourmet gala



IT WAS a full house and the backyard of the Fortune Pandiyan Hotel, which was the venue of the Rusi Food Festival, was steaming with aroma of different cuisines, of India and abroad. True to its name, the `Rusi' evoked a good response from the Maduraiites.

Going by the turnout, undoubtedly, the festival was a hit. In fact, many were seen standing, with no chairs to sit, and waiting for their turn to relish delicacies of their choice. Of course, the lack of space to accommodate the visitors, came as a complaint from many and a few suggested that a bigger venue could have been arranged.

A majority of gourmets preferred to have Punjabi, followed by Hyderabadi and then other cuisines.

Rajesh, a businessman, reasoned, "It may be because the Punjabi and Hyderabadi dishes are familiar. In my case, I wanted to try something different and ordered some Malay and Singapore items. It was really good. Of course, I don't know their original taste and still it proved a new experience to me."

"I am new to Chinese cuisine, but I am satisfied with the noodles served to me," said Shanmugam, who runs a jewellery shop in the city.

In other things, Shanmugam, who visited the fiesta last year also, said, "Arrangements for recreation are less, compared to last year. This time, the focus is more on the food side."

Every leading hotel in the city sponsored one cuisine for its part : the Best Western Germanus - Punjabi, Hotel Sangam - Chinese, Fortune Pandiyan - Oriental, Taj Garden Retreat - Hyderabadi and Hotel Park Plaza - Murthaba. An interesting aspect was that all the dishes were spot cooked and served to the food connoisseurs.

Besides serving new tastes for the food buffs, the fair also provided some businesses to the hotels by way of repeat and parcel orders.

The Collector, B. Chandra Mohan, who was the chief guest, said, "It is a good endeavour by the Travel Club to provide different cuisines all under one roof. I never expected it so grand."

This opinion was echoed by a few other visitors, who also felt that the prices were competitive. "Probably this could have been a major reason for the success of the programme," said Abdul Wahid, a school teacher from Tirupattur.

While the `biriyani' was the choice of many in the non-vegetarian section, it was the `noodles' on the other side.

Invariably, almost all connoisseurs, particularly kids, rounded up their feast with sweets, offered by the pastry shop of Fortune Pandiyan, or the chill desserts, served by the Dairy Day.

The youth were inclined more towards the pizzas and burgers, than the other cuisines.

While a majority tried the Punjabi and Hyderabadi dishes, a few laid their hands on the Chinese varieties.

"We plan to organise this festival every year and introduce many other new cuisines. The aim of the carnival is to make Maduraiites familiar with all dishes of the country and abroad," said Sriram, a member of the organising committee.

From Aravindan M R

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