With an aim to revive the traditional food culture of the valley, the Jammu and Kashmir tourism development department (JKTDC) opened an ethnic restaurant in Srinagar recently.
“After the lockdown restrictions eased, we decided to slowly open the valley for tourists. This restaurant was planned with an aim to promote Kashmiri food. Anyone visiting Kashmir can visit this place and enjoy its beautiful ambiance and appreciate the traditional food, music and familiarise themselves with Kashmir’s rich history,” Nissar Ahmad Wani, Director – Tourism Kashmir, said.The restaurant was opened by the tourism department a couple of weeks ago for visitors on the banks of Jhelum at Zero Bridge in Srinagar.
One of the reasons suggested by the tourism department behind this concept was to educate the young generation about the importance of traditional foods. Kashmir has more than five to seven thousand years old history and local food is an important part of its lineage.
But, due to modernization, food habits gradually changed and impacted the younger generation. Therefore, to familiarise the youth of Kashmir with traditional local food, the J-K administration took this initiative.
“We are delighted to see the age-old Kashmiri culture displayed all around this place. I would request people to visit this place and appreciate the hidden treasures of Kashmiri art, culture and food,” Nadeem Ahmad, a customer, told ANI.
“The restaurant is designed in the form of a houseboat. Kashmiri tradition is the highlight of this place and everything has been planned accordingly. We have tried to put forth the rich legacy of Kashmiri food through this initiative. the tourists will get to feel the true essence of Kashmir,” Jameel Ahmad, another customer, said.
Special features of the restaurant include ethnic foods like harissa, made by meat, mujje te gaade, a mixed dish of radish and fish, ‘nader te gaade’, a mixed dish of lotus stem and fish, among other delicacies. Traditional salted tea and sweet hot drink famously known as ‘zafrani kehwa’ is also available for the locals and tourists. Another attraction of the venue is the stalls of handicrafts and pottery.Supplementing this ambiance is a blend of Kashmiri music on display at the restaurant to give a feel of local art, craft, culture and lifestyle to the visitors.
“I feel very happy to visit this place. I have performed at several such tourist places early in life. After so many years, this step by the tourism department is commendable. It will promote local culture, food and music. It’s a great step,” Abdul Gaffar Kanihami, a renowned Kashmiri folk singer, said.