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Shabnam Naseem from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa performs at the closing ceremony on Sunday. — White Star
Shabnam Naseem from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa performs at the closing ceremony on Sunday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: A three-day outdoor festival dedicated to food and gastronomy ended at Lok Virsa Sunday night amid musical and dance performances.

The festival had kicked off on Friday with the promise of a sunny weekend to celebrate the cuisine of all four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

Traditional food outlets from all over the country had set up stalls, and visitors got to treat themselves to a variety of delicacies, including Shikarpuri achar, falooda from Gujranwala, Aab Gosht and hareesa from Kashmir, Rosh Peshawari, pulao, chapli kebab and Peshawari qehwa, sajji from Balochistan, marzan from GB, Sindhi biryani, Kunna tawwa fish from Sindh and haleem from Karachi.

Some stallholders brought cooked food, while others cooked on the spot.

Besides the food stalls, folk dance and regional musical nights were also part of the entertainment. While visitors indulged, folk artists and musicians from across the country performed to mesmerize their guests.

Lok Virsa Executive Director Shahera Shahid said: “The event has been planned to celebrate spring. It is tradition for Lok Virsa to hold an annual Lok Mela in the month of April keeping in view the desire of people to have spring festivity.”

Besides inviting food experts from all the provinces, female chefs skilled in traditional cuisine were also invited to cook food for visitors throughout the festival so that everyone was represented, she said.

“This provides an opportunity to build capacity of traditional food makers and also introduces the masses to our regional cuisines,” she added.

Visitors said the food was delicious, and some regretted that they had missed the first two days.

“My family members and I loved the setting, which was complemented by the delicious food and good music,” said Mehr Abbasi.

Mohammad Arif and his wife said that they got to taste some of the delicacies from their hometown in Gujranwala.

“Good food and music and a bright spring day, this is as good as a holiday gets,” his wife said.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2019