Pakistani Food & Mango Festival opened this Monday at Riyadh Palace Hotel - with all its pomp and galore. This was inaugurated by Dr. Saud Hamoud – Secretary General of Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industries aka: SCCI. He was joined by the Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia – HE Muhammad Naeem Khan – together with several Saudi high officials & dignitaries and diplomats from over 35 foreign missions in Riyadh.
Dr. Saud said he was delighted to be at this Food & Mango Festival and thanked the Pak Ambassador for inviting him. “Actually Food Festivals and other similar activities help to project the soft image of Pakistan”, he said. He also said that such activities also help promote the products and earn a place in the huge market that Saudi Arabia offers. “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy good relations and I am sure such festivals shall bring the Saudi people closer to the Pakistani people and also help develop taste of the Pakistani cuisines”, he added.
Ambassador of Pakistan – HE Muhammad Naeem Khan – in his welcome speech mentioned that he was deeply honored with the presence of Dr. Saud Hamoud at this 2nd Pakistani Food & Mango Festival. He also thanked the other Saudi high officials and dignitaries and the diplomats from the foreign missions in Riyadh – for finding time to attend this event and hence for gracing the occasion. He also made a short introductory speech about the origin and types & varieties of the Pakistani foods. “Pakistani cuisine is known for its taste, variety, and richness. It is a refined blend of local cooking traditions and find roots in the wider South Asia, Arabia, Persia, Afghanistan and Central Asia”, he informed. He also informed that the Pakistani food has a vibrant and unique amalgam of the rich, spicy and highly seasoned cuisine from its various regions, like Punjab, Kashmir and Sindh with the mildly spicy, aromatic and simple recipes from Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.
He also made mention about the BBQ items and other food delicacies from various parts of Pakistan like Seekh Kebab, Mutton/Chicken Karahi, Tikkas, Chapli Kebab, Namkeen Gosht and Sajji. He also made mention of Bihari Kebabs, and Mutton Korma. About breakfast items from Punjab he made especial mention about Halwa Puri, Nehari, Paaye, Chana, Makai/Bajra Roti, Saag and Lassi. Haleem, Biryanis, Pulaos and Curry combinations with various varieties of vegetables also found mention. About the “King of Fruits – Mango – he mentioned that the Pakistani mangoes are one the best in the World. “We have a number of species of mangoes that are very popular and high in demand throughout the World. Some of the best varieties of mangoes are: Anwer Rathol, Chaunsa, Dasehri, Langra, Sindhri, Sahami, Alphonso, Pairi, Fazli, and Neelam”, he mentioned. He welcomed and invited the dignitaries to have a taste of all these food items and learn about its taste first-hand.
Ambassador Khan also made especial mention of Chef Muhammad Farooq – who was especially flown in from Pakistan to manage this Food Festival - under his expert guidance. Introducing Chef Farooq the Ambassador mentioned that Farooq was qualified in Advance Cooking from Liaison College in Hamilton-Canada. “He is a certified food handler from Canada’s Ministry of Health and has performed as executive Chef at top hotels in Pakistan and Canada”, he added. He finally thanked Waseem Hayat Bajwa – Commercial Counselor at the Embassy of Pakistan - for arranging this wonderful Festival. He also thanked the sponsors who had played an important role in making this Festival a success. He especially made mention of the following sponsors: Iqbal Rice Mills, Mehran Masala, Pakistan Investors Forum-Riyadh, Jaam-e-Shireen, MFC Saudi Arabia, Global Mentor Technologies aka; GMT, Raqam and Mak Royal.
This event was attended by high Saudi official and dignitaries namely: HE Allaeddine Al-Askari (former Chief of Protocol at Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan – HE Abdulaziz Bin Ibrahim Al-Ghadeer, and Abdullah Yusaf – Chairman of Al-Durri Company. Ambassadors, Deputy Head of the Mission and Defense Attaches of over 35 foreign missions in Riyadh also attended. Besides the above, ladies and gentlemen from amongst the Pakistani community in Riyadh also attended in large number. The entire reception lobby of the hotel and the Food Stalls were tastefully decorated with Pakistani decorative pieces. The Festival environ was soft and serene topped with light music from the melodious Pakistani folk and national songs which was appreciated by all.
Ambassador Khan, the Chief Guest and all other dignitaries were taken to a round of various food stalls and to the live BBQ set up. The dignitaries appreciated the food quality and their display. Earlier on in his opening speech Waseem Hayat Bajwa – Commercial Counselor at the Embassy of Pakistan and the organizer of this event – welcomed all distinguished guests and mentioned that this Food & Mango Festival was the second in a row, the first one was held last year. Bajwa mentioned that this Festival shall continue up to the 28th of this month. Tuesday is exclusively dedicated for the women invitees of Madam Ambassador of Pakistan.