Sharjah’s ruler, Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi couldn’t possibly have had a better spread on his first visit to the Raj Bhavan. Such was the combination. When Arabian food and God’s own country's cuisine are packed with love and respect, they have no parallels. That’s precisely what the visiting dignitary and his team were treated to at the state’s first official residence.
What’s more, here’s a Raj Bhavan first-time for the album. It was for the first time ever that the Governor’s residence had played host to dining diplomacy. It was the also the first time that a foreign head of state had accepted the state’s invitation to be treated to Raj Bhavan hospitality. Small wonder then that Raj Bhavan officials went into a tizzy on being told of the royal reception.
It was a beaming Sheikh Sultan who gave full score to the menu. Kerala’s appam and fish curry plus the native kozhukkatta, which has intrigued many a visiting dignitary, came in for a pat from the Sharjah ruler.
Read more: Sharjah ruler begins five-day Kerala visit
The buzz at Raj Bhavan began a week before the Sheikh arrived. Everything was put to order under the direct supervision of controller Jaya P. Nair. All arrangements were made as per the protocol directions of the Governor. Sheikh Sultan who arrived at the Raj Bhavan by 11 am on Monday, was received by Governor Justice P. Sathasivam and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Tea was served along with kozhukkatta, which was dressed up to look like a meat roll. Sughiyan was the other snack served. Kerala specials along with the taste of Arabia were served for all, including the members of the Sheikh’s team who were put up at the Leela Hotel in Kovalam. Prawn and seer fish dishes, mutton biriyani, rice and its accompanying courses were the main dining items.
For a change, it was decided to give a go-by to the traditional plantain leaves!