Jan. 6: Smoked pork and crab, dry fish and kosu thor (taro stem) smoked in bamboo, apong of the Mising community and horlang of the Karbis — people in the city have their plates full this winter.
As the mercury keeps dipping and Bhogali Bihu approaches, food festivals are being organised to give residents a taste of mouth-watering dishes of different ethnic communities of the state.
Two such festivals — Bhogali Utsav at Zoo Road Tinilai and another at Maniram Dewan Trade Centre at Betkuchi on the outskirts — are being thronged by visitors.
Bank employee Bikram Dutta of Noonmati relished the traditional rice beer of the Karbi community, which he was looking forward to have for a long time. “We always get pork and fish here but it is hard to find the traditional rice beer. So I came here, as it is Sunday, and tasted the horlang of the Karbis. Horlang with fermented fish chutney tastes great and I would like to come again tomorrow,” Dutta said, as he visited another stall in the Bhogali Utsav, selling duck meat.
Being a Sunday, the Bhogali Utsav witnessed large footfall with many orders for traditional rice beers — apong of the Misings, horlang of the Karbis and lao pani of the Ahoms.
“People here are liking apong very much as we prepare them with natural ingredients. We mix 101 different leaves to prepare the rice beer and no chemical is used. We sell a bottle for Rs 50 and fermented fish chutney for Rs 200 a plate,” Juli Pegu of Lakhimpur, who put up a stall selling apong, fermented fish, smoked pork and fish items.
Juli is a member of Kangkan self-help group formed in Shantipur in Lakhimpur district, which is known for producing handloom items. “For the first time, we are selling our traditional food and rice beer here and the response is very encouraging. We will participate in similar festivals in the future,” she said.
Crabs and ducks, too, are also selling like hot cakes with many consuming them with rice beer.
Kaziranga Multipurpose Women Society, an NGO, is organising another food festival at Maniram Dewan trade centre.
Popularity of ethnic drinks in the festivals has made the stall owners urge the administration to give permission for selling ethnic drinks in the market. “These drinks are made of natural ingredients and our government should try to support us and promote them,” Aimoni Doley, a stall owner said.