The Pakistani Consulate on Wednesday launched its inaugural food festival in Jeddah.
The two-day event showcased a wide range of authentic Pakistani cuisine. The dining lawn design highlighted the culture of all provinces of Pakistan.
Saudis and officials from 12 foreign consulates attended the event along with their families. Mazen Batterjee, vice chairman of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was the guest of honor.
Batterjie said that food festivals and other similar activities help project the soft image of Pakistan, and that such activities promote products and earn a place in the Saudi market.
“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy good relations and I am sure such festivals shall bring the Saudi people closer to the Pakistani people, and help develop the taste for Pakistani cuisine,” he said.
In his welcoming speech, Pakistani Consul General Shehryar Akbar Khan thanked guests and said such events aim to bring different communities living in the Kingdom closer to each other.
Khan also made a short introduction of the origin, types and varieties of Pakistani food.
“Pakistani cuisine is known for its taste, variety and richness, which is a refined blend of local culinary traditions and finds roots in the wider South Asia, Arabia, and Central Asia,” he said.
The Pakistani envoy told Arab News: “Pakistani and Saudi food are very close to each other. For us as a nation, Saudis are like our big brothers. Saudi Arabia has always helped us whenever we needed them.”
The cuisine included famous Pakistani dishes including biryani and chicken haleem.
“Every Saudi household eats Pakistani basmati rice. A lot of meat and chicken comes from Pakistan. They use Pakistani spices,” the envoy said.
He said that 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 and aromatic recipes from Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Shahzad Ahmed, one of the organizers, said the two countries have common tastes and use similar products when cooking. He said the consulate is planning to organize the food fest on a regular basis.
Laila, a young Saudi woman, said: “I loved eating the ‘chicken haleem.’ And traditional sweets were tremendous too. I wish my school friends could come here and enjoy the festival.”