UPDATE : 2018.11.14 WED 17:34
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Sri Lankan Embassy, Millennium Seoul Hilton host Sri Lankan Food FestivalWith ambassadors, civic leaders attending

Ambassador Manisha Gunasekera of Sri Lanka said, “Given Sri Lanka’s long history and long democratic tradition influenced by many peoples and cultures, it is fitting to celebrate this important milestone with our food, which is emblematic of all those cosmopolitan influences.”
Ambassador Gunasekera made the statement at the opening ceremony of the Sri Lankan Festival at the held at the Millennium Seoul Hilton on Feb. 2, 2018. (See excerpts from her speech at the end of this article.)

Ambassador Manisha Gunasekara of Sri Lanka (center) cuts ribbons to open the Sri Lanka Food Festival with Chairman Shin Joong-mok of KOTFA (on her left), General Manager Lee Jong-hun of Millennium Seoul Hilton (on her right), Vice President Woo Oh-hyun of AHPEK (right) and CEO Sun Sang-jin of BBS (left).

The opening ceremony was attended by many Korean and international celebrities, including ambassadors, tourism organization leaders and media representatives, who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news media organizations in Seoul.
Attending the opening ceremony of the Festival, among other guests, were Ambassadors Grecia Pichardo of the Dominican Republic, Vikram Doraiswami of India and Abida Islam of Bangladesh. Attendees from the Korean side included Chairman Shin Joong-mook of KOTFA and General Manager Lee Jong Hun of the host Hotel.
Head Chief Sunanda Kumar at the Festival flown in from Cinnamon Lodge Habarana of Sri Lanka, who took charge of preparation of the Sri Lankan delicacies for the Sri Lankan Food Festival, said that coconut was used frequently in the preparation of Sri Lankan food. Coconut, a tropical fruit, however, was among the food items in Korea that are in the high-price bracket while it is very common in Sri Lanka and other tropical countries.
The Sri Lankan Food Festival runs through February 10th.

Photo shows Lady Ambassador Manish Gunasegaram of Sri Lanka (third from left, foreground), host country of the Sri Lankan Food Festival at the Millennium Seoul Hilton on Feb. 1-10, 2018, with Ambassador Grecia Pichardo of the Dominican Republic (left, foreground) and Ambassador Abida Islam of Bangladesh (2nd from right, foreground). Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik is seen between Ambassador Pichardo and the host ambassador.

Excerpts from the welcome speech of Ambassador Gunasekera:

Millennium Seoul Hilton gwa Sri Lanka daesagwani Seoureseo Samnyeon yeonsogeuro junbihan Sri Lanka eumshik chukje gemakshige Yeoreobuneul Tta tteu shi hwanyoung-he deu ril su isseo young-gwang imnida.
The Korean greeting read: It is my privilege to extend a very warm welcome to you this evening at the opening of the Sri Lanka Food Festival organised by the Millennium Seoul Hilton and the Sri Lanka Embassy for the third consecutive year in Seoul.
The Food Festival this year also celebrates the 70th anniversary of independence of Sri Lanka which falls on the 4th of February. Given Sri Lanka’s long history and long democratic tradition influenced by many peoples and cultures, it is fitting to celebrate this important milestone with our food, which is emblematic of all those cosmopolitan influences.

Sri Lankan students present their traditional Sri Lankan dances at the food festival.

I am pleased to welcome this evening Chairman Shin of the Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA); which I think is appropriate when we consider that tourism plays a key role in facilitating the spread of culinary traditions around the world. I must also mention that KOTFA is the only tourism fair in Korea that Sri Lanka Tourism takes part in every year with a sizable portion of our travel trade. And of course Sri Lanka is a top tourism destination in the world which is increasingly popular with Korean tourists!
I also welcome my fellow Ambassadors of the Dominican Republic, India and Bangladesh; Vice Chairman of the Association of High Potential Enterprises; Vice President of Kolon Global which is Chair of the Korea-Sri Lanka Economic Cooperation Committee in the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry; President of BBS; Vice President of SK E&S, Director General Ryu Jeon-hyun of the Korean Foreign Ministry, and all other friends of Sri Lanka, including the business community and the media who I have not mentioned here by name, for their gracious presence this evening.

Ambassador Manisha Gunasekara of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Head Chef Sunanda Kumar (left and right, respectively) are all smiles as Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post (center) displays a famous traditional Sri Lankan delicacy, Hopper.

Our sincere thanks go out to the Millennium Seoul Hilton led by General Manager Mr. Lee Jong Hun, for organising this Food Festival, and to Sri Lanka’s top hotel brand, the Cinnamon Group of Hotels, for providing us with sponsorship and two experienced chefs Sunanda Kumar and Indika Bandara for the promotion. I also thank the other sponsors Korean Air, Mlesna Tea, and Spa Ceylon, for their support. Courtesy Mlesna, you will also be able to enjoy superior quality Ceylon tea this evening.

A Sri Lankan Embassy official, Wang Thishula Perera, is wearing a traditional costume of Sri Lanka--attracting a lot of attention from the guests.

I hope you will enjoy the uniquely Sri Lankan tastes and flavours today, as well as our distinctive curries and sambols, using a complex blend of spices and coconut milk. For example, our hoppers, kottu and crab curry are very popular internationally today.
On that note, Ladies and Gentlemen, I will leave you to enjoy this evening’s culinary journey.
Jeul-geo-un jeonyeok boneshigi baramnida (Please enjoy the evening)
Gamsahamnida (Thank you).

Director Kim Jung-ki of the Millennium Seoul Hilton (center) poses with Sri Lankan co-eds who performed traditional Sri Lankan dances to add spice to the Sri Lankan Food Festival. Their rhythmic body movements attracted a lot of admiration and attention from the guests

Kim Su-a  edt@koeapost.com

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