In effort to strengthen its bond with India, Indonesia is promoting its culture and culinary offerings in India
Looking beyond activities that are purely trade and business oriented, Indonesia is focusing on ancillary activities such as highlighting culinary and cultural facets of the destination. The Indonesian Consulate General in Mumbai has been active in promoting Indonesian food and culture, thereby popularising the destination in the India market.
Speaking exclusively to Food & Hospitality World, Saut Siringoringo, consul general, Indonesian Consulate General, says, “Culinary and cultural promotion is important to engage with people. We must not always think of trade and economy. We organise various culinary activities round the year. I also invite our partners from the travel and tourism industry and other guests to my residence and provide them an Indonesian culinary and cultural experience. We organise food festivals in many hotels, wherein we invite chefs from Indonesia to showcase Indonesian cuisine here. On the cultural front, we have students from Bali, who showcase Indonesian dance at our various events in India.”
In November last year, the Consulate General of Indonesia had organised its annual trade show, Expo Indonesia, which featured numerous food and beverage companies from Indonesia, looking at penetrating into the India market. Commenting on the event, Siringoringo adds, “Our priority was to highlight Indonesian products, by inviting over 30 companies from Indonesia. Our consulate had made arrangements for Indonesian food and snacks at the exhibition, which was appreciated by the participants and visitors. It is important that Indonesian food companies come to India and collaborate with their Indian counterparts for joint promotion. We have set up eight-nine Indonesian companies in India, most of which are food companies, so a lot of interest is there.” Soon this year, the consulate will organise the Indonesia Festival in four-five cities across India. The first event will be held in Hyderabad. The festival will showcase Indonesian culture and cuisine.
India and Indonesia share many similarities in terms of culture, tradition and food influences. Indian cuisine has been savoured and appreciated widespread in Indonesia. With a large number of Indian-origin population residing in the country, Indonesia also houses many Indian restaurants. However, Siringoringo points out that Indonesian cuisine lacks awareness in India.
“I have been eating Indian food in my country since childhood. For instance, there is a very famous India-inspired dish in Indonesia – Roti Canai. The people who created the dish were from Chennai, residing in Indonesia. Culinary promotions between the two countries will play a crucial role in tourism development. What is lacking at the moment is that, considering the popularity of Indian food in Indonesia, Indonesian culinary promotion in India is less. There are a lot of Indian restaurants in Indonesia, but we should now focus on setting up more Indonesian restaurants here. We have even received a lot of requests, but it is not easy. Firstly we need to create an awareness about Indonesian cuisine in the India market. We also have one Indonesian restaurant in Chennai, which was earlier planned to open in Lonavala. The top priority is to set up more such restaurants across India,” he shares.