By Hashini Pathirana
Festivities have just begun for the Muslim/Islam community in welcoming Ramadan and as always Hilton Colombo is one step ahead in celebrating the beginning of Ramadan festivities yet again for the 2nd time consecutively. This time the festivities were prepared in a grander scale with many activities put together for not only the Muslim community to enjoy but all ethnicities to take part in, during this festive season.
Hummus is a staple Middle Eastern dish that has gained attention across the world in recent years. Hilton’s Hummus Festival brought together hummus lovers from all around the country and wouldn’t be lying to say from around the world too, to try a range of flavors and textures, ranging from basic chickpea-based hummus to inventive variations with additions like Chocolate and Coffee, Pumpkin and even Cashew. Let’s take a look at the festival’s highlights and views on the greatest hummus dishes we tried.
Hummmmm – Let the Hummus speak:
Chamlie Waidyarathna, the Executive Sous Chef at Hilton Colombo, had put together an amazing collection of Hummus for this year’s Ramadan festivities, after a successful expedition last year too. To embark on the customs, rituals and traditions of the Muslim community, Chamlie, all the way from Dubai had brought down the authentic deliciousness of the Hummus spread at this festival. Him and his team have come up with altogether 6 flavors for this spread namely, Plain Hummus, Pumpkin and Cinnamon Hummus, Chocolate and Coffee Hummus, Minced Beef Hummus, Cashew Hummus and Sun Dried Tomato Hummus.
In the Chamlie Waidyarathna’s words:
Pumpkin and Cinnamon Hummus: “Pumpkin has no taste, however tossed it with freshly grinded Cinnamon and honey. And wala, here’s the value for Pumpkin.”
Chocolate and Coffee Hummus: “The special hummus tonight, Chocolate and Coffee Hummus. I have used 75% dark chocolate and freshly grounded coffee for this dip. The coffee blends off the flavor and cuts off the sugar level in the dip while adding extra flavor”
Minced Beef Hummus: “The common hummus dip in the house”
Cashew Hummus: “Cashew Hummus too is a new addition and in the process of making it, when the Chickpeas is blended with other components like Olive oil and Tahini, we added some freshly baked Cashew along with it, to give the hummus dip more flavor”
Before we forget, “Kanji” was an important part of this Buffet as it serves a main and vital role in breaking fast for the Muslim Community. There was the traditional Porridge on display with add -ons on the side like Mutton, Garlic, Scallion etc to make your Kanji more flavorful.
Along the other Cuisines:
Hilton’s International Hummus Festival along with its introduction to the appetizing hummus dips, also had their doors at Graze Kitchen opened for a Multi-cuisine dinner buffet for all in house and outhouse guests to indulge themselves in.
Off to a Fresh Start:
From the traditional coleslaw salad to the fancy meat salads, this buffet spread covered all kinds of nourishing, crispy and appetizing salad options while also having a plenty of Cold Cut options laid over. Two plates of Salad got us off to a great start to the whole dining experience.
All the way from Japan:
Sushi at Graze Kitchen never fails to impress our emotions and taste buds. We tried a whole plate of only Sushi ranging from Chicken Teriyaki rolls, Veggie rolls, Spicy Prawn rolls, and Cheese and Fruit rolls, alongside some fiery Wasabi and a Soy sauce dip. Spicy Prawn rolls were our favorite of all, as the Prawns were mixed with a Chilly Mayonnaise and were stuffed inside the Sushi rice rolls. Mouthwatering huh? Yes, mutual feelings over here cuz we miss them now!
Not to forget, there was Ramen too with a dip soup for all those Ramen devotees out there!
Let me narrate the Europeans:
The European spread was as authentic as it could get. Chicken Chasseur, Baked potatoes, Beef rib eye, Fish Fillet, Pasta Station and Pizza on board – What more can an authentic European expect?! Beef Rib Eye was as tender as it could get, and the Italians would have loved the savors of San Marzano tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, and even garlic of the Pizza on board.
Neighbors in action:
The Indian Cuisine spread was very attractive to us as it had OG Biriyani, Pakora, Naan Bread, Raita, Mutton Kurma, Kachumber Chaat and many more. The spread also shared space with the Arabic Cuisine, which included Falafel and Shawarma. Wha Wha! Biriyani, Mutton Kurma and Raita along with a bite of Samosa on the palette was incredibly delicious.
Chinese spread had quite an elegant and minimalistic touch with a limited number of dishes on the array. Szechuan fried pumpkin with sesame, fried sliced chicken with dry chili and szechuan pepper, Stir fried beans, Fried Noodles and Fried Rice were some on the Chinese display. Sad that we could not try anything out of this spread, but we are quite sure that the other guests loved it, that the Chafing dishes were running out soon.
Sri Lankan Champs:
The Sri Lankan spread at the buffet was nothing lesser than fabulous! Sri Lankan street food on one corner, and Main Sri Lankan dishes on the other corner had us serving not just once but twice from this display.
This spread had Kottu, the new Sri Lankan street food staple, however when we tried it out, it was quite dry but with a spoonful of the OG Chicken curry served on it, it did us good. Other mains on the spread were Dhal Curry, Potato Curry, Devilled Fish, Chicken Curry served along with Pittu, White rice and Red rice.
Hoppers on the station were quite fascinating, but sad that we couldn’t try it out. Regardless they looked crispy on the outside and well cooked on the inside.
Street food section on the Sri lankan spread consisted of Veggie Samosas, Veggie Cutlets and Patties as well. Samosas were super crunchy and the filling was as spicy as a Sri Lankan would love to enjoy!
In Breads and Sweet Tooth we believe:
The Bread section included a variety from crusty baguettes to soft rolls, and delicious focaccia bread. All of them were fresh and had a wonderful aroma that filled the air. The Pita bread that came along to nourish Middle Eastern culture, was quite the cutest thing at the buffet. Unlike the big portions we generally eat, the Pita bread at the buffet spread were assorted in half and the perfect size for a guest to explore the tastes and deliciousness of Middle Eastern culture.
The selection of options to satisfy our Sweet tooth cravings were nonetheless the most diversified. Chocolate Graffiti was our favorite out of the whole selection, and there were Double Coconut cake slices, Berry Summer cake, Chocolate eggless cake, Cheesecake slices of many flavors, Panna Cotta Shots and many more. For the ones who prefer a healthier option for Desserts, Hilton always have Fruits, elegantly sliced and arranged in platters on the other corner to indulge yourselves in a fruitful delight.
Hilton’s International Hummus festival’s main goal is to celebrate the diversity and the beauty of the muslim community and Ramadan and showcase the many different traditions of the festival that make it so special. It’s a time where people can come together, learn from each other, and appreciate the unique traditions of Ramadan.
The festival will happen throughout the period of Ramadan and as specialties, Hilton Colombo has organized a Mehendi Corner on every Monday and Wednesday and also a Digital Illustrator on every Saturday, throughout the Ramadan month.
This evening was also graced by the Muslim Choir Ensemble and their amazing voices, symphonies and colors!
Concluding a beautiful night:
In conclusion, the International Hummus Festival organized by the Hilton Colombo was indeed a truly memorable experience. From the delicious hummus selections to the appetizing cuisines, lively atmosphere and the friendly staff, everything was top-notch. The festival was a celebration of the rich and diverse culinary traditions of the Middle East, and it succeeded in bringing people from different backgrounds together to share in the joy of good food and good company. The Hilton Colombo deserves praise for organizing such a well-executed event for the 2nd consecutive year and for showcasing the best of hummus and other Middle Eastern delicacies. For anyone looking to experience the flavors of the Middle East, the International Hummus Festival organized by the Hilton Colombo is definitely worth attending.
*Happening from 23rd March to 21st April 2023*
Every Monday to Thursday
1st Seating : 6.30pm to 9pm
2nd Seating : 9pm to 11pm
Price per person : Rs. 7188 nett per person
Every Friday to Sunday
1st Seating : 6.30pm to 9pm
2nd Seating : 9pm to 11pm
Price per person : Rs. 7388 nett per person