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Bittersweet: Exploring the Flavours of Gujurat with Samar Khatiwala

Tuesday, October 23 2018, 6.30pm - 8.30pm, at China Exchange, 32A Gerrard Street, London, W1A 6JD


The Oxford Cultural Collective is proud to host the Yan-Kit So Award for Food Writers on Asia.  

Join Samar Khatiwala, the winner of the award in 2017, for an exploration of Gujarati cuisine.


Tickets for this event cost £10 per guest, to include a one-hour presentation, followed by a drinks reception and food tasting prepared and generously sponsored by Paul Bloomfield Catering, based on Samar’s recipes. 

To book, follow this link.

(note – net sum from ticket sales, after VAT, is dedicated to the Yan-Kit So Award fund)


Surat nu jaman ane Kashi nu maran”. It is with that saying, which captures the Indian belief that to “eat in Surat and die in Kashi” is the way to salvation, that Samar Khatiwala started his winning entry to the 2017 Yan Kit So Memorial Award for Food Writers on Asia. Surat, a town in Gujarat state, is the spiritual home of Gujaratis, one of a plethora of ethno-linguistic groups that make up India. Even in a country with as diverse and fragmented a cuisine as India, Gujarati food is particularly renowned for its variety, extensive use of legumes, and distinct combination of sweet, sour and bitter flavors. But it is practically unknown outside India, somewhat surprising as Gujaratis make up a third of the Indian diaspora and, from Gandhi to (very likely) the proprietor of the corner newspaper shop, everyone has heard of or encountered one.

In this presentation Samar will talk about what inspired him to write a cookbook on Gujarati cuisine, and discuss the ingredients and varied influences, from Persian to Portuguese, which make it so unique. While Samar has long thought about writing a book to bring the food he grew up eating in Mumbai to a wider audience, he says that “it would have remained just a dream without the massive vote of confidence that came from being selected by judges such as Fuchsia Dunlop’’.

Just as important, he adds, “this award has been invaluable in opening doors and supporting trips to India and elsewhere to research various aspects of Gujarati history and cuisine’’. Samar will present some of the fruits of these trips, including one to Lisbon, home to, as he discovered to his amazement, a large Portuguese-Gujarati community with it’s own distinct culinary traditions. “This is something I would never have otherwise known about!’’

To book, follow this link.

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