October 1, 2023 | 12:12pm
Indian food, handicrafts and textile are sold and featured at the inaugural The Great Indian Fiesta on September 30, 2023 held in Paseo de Roxas, Makati City.
Philstar.com / Kathleen A. Llemit
MANILA, Philippines — North and South Indian food are readily available in one strip for this weekend with the inaugural The Great Indian Fiesta happening until today, October 1, in Paseo de Roxas, Makati.
Indian classics and favorites such as Tikkas, Biryanis, Dosas and Uttapams are sold and served in stalls all owned by members of the Indian Women in Enterprise (IWE), an organization that features women entrepreneurs and professionals. The members are Indian women and Filipino spouses of Indian nationals.
“We started during the 2020 pandemic. We didn’t really have so much avenue to work on kasi everybody’s at home. After pandemic, we tried to do different kinds of events like this. We started it online and named it ‘Sarap India.’ We brought all our online merchants on Facebook,” Sonia Mansukhani, director for events at IWE and project lead of The Great Indian Fiesata, told Philstar.com.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Mansukhani is conversant in Filipino and describes herself as an Indian with “Pusong Pinoy.”
IWE is a passion project, and with their inaugural physical edition in partnership with the popular food fair Mercato Centrale, has found an avenue for their two-day event.
They started with 13 members and currently has 53 members. For this weekend fair, they feature 14 food merchants and 26 merchants who sell non-food items.
“You see Tikkas, Mutton Biryanis. You would see South India and Madras kitchens there. They’ll have South Indian Dosas, Uttapams. All our merchants here have different food offerings. There’s no replication because we want everybody to try different kinds of food of India,” she said.
Mansukhani said that North and South Indian food differ on their cooking style, ingredients and spice level. Northern fares tend to be spicier than the Southern offerings.
Two of her restaurants, Bollywood and Vana’s, are also featured in the fair.
Indian Saris and other colorful textiles are also being sold. They also flew in an artist from India to showcase their handicrafts and textile. There are also Indian paintings on bags, earrings and jewelry. There is an artist who paints on Sari.
“This is actually our first time to do it. From pandemic, this is our first time to make it alive. For us, it’s a trial run. Hopefully we can do this more often,” Mansukhani said.