Mei Ramew, a distinctive culinary celebration held in Mawphlang, Meghalaya, showcases traditional cuisines to a new generation. In collaboration with the state government and primarily orchestrated by the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS), this remarkable food festival aims to revive forgotten recipes. These culinary treasures, often excluded due to intricate cooking methods or time constraints, are brought back into the spotlight. Mei Ramew not only honours the rich culinary heritage of Meghalaya but also encourages the preservation of traditional cooking techniques for future generations.
Date & Venue of Mei Ramew Food Festival
A classic celebration of indigenous cuisine, local culture and life is what sums up this amazing food festival of Meghalaya in essence. It is celebrated in Mawphlang in the month of December every year for a period of 2 days, however, the dates keep changing. So make sure to check their official website before planning a visit to this unique gourmet food festival.
History of Mei Ramew Food Festival
Mei Ramew is a two-day annual festival that Meghalaya has been celebrating since 2010. The festival is an opportunity for the locals to prepare and relish the indigenous cuisines, crops, and locally available spices along with the herbs and shrubs. The Mei Ramew festival is organized in Mawphlang town in Meghalaya. Mei Ramew in Khasi language means ‘Mother Earth’ and the festival also has an official theme song which is called ‘Ko Mei Ramew’.
Every year the festival is celebrated based on a theme such as sustainability, traditional food culture, and sometimes music as well. Communities and tribes from other north-eastern states also travel to Mawphlang to showcase their food culture and indigenous cuisines. For tourists, the festival is a chance to taste unique dishes that they will not find even in any fancy hotel’s menu and for the locals; it's truly an opportunity to relive their forgotten food culture.
About Slow Food and Terra Madre
Slow Food is an organization that was founded in Italy in 1986. The main aim of the society is to promote the local, and traditional food in every community and offer a healthy alternative to people from the trending fast food.
Terra Madre, on the other hand, is a local network of food communities that was launched by Slow Food. The people from this community associate with the regional farmers, and fishermen to share knowledge about the sustainable ways of farming, food, nutrition, and increasing productivity in the field.
Major Attractions of Mei Ramew Food Festival
1. Start Cuisines of Mei Ramew Festival
Because the festival revolves around food there are a few unique dishes that you will not find anywhere else in the country hence the only option left is to taste them here. Some of the star dishes of the festival are Smoked Beef with Wild Edibles, Water Celery Salad, Fine Fern Omelet, Jadoh Rice, Pumaloi, and Bamboo Shoots.
2. Mei-Ramew Farmers’ Market
The Mei Ramew farmer’s market is a major attraction of the festival where visitors can buy organically produced fruits and vegetables. Besides the regular kitchen crops, fruits, and veggies, wild edibles are also available in the market for buying.
3. Mei Ramew Products
Mei Ramew products comprise crops and food items that are sourced directly from the farmers and are branded by NESFAS to be sold in the urban markets. NESFAS takes care of the branding and marketing of these products. Pink rice, sticky rice, honey, pineapple jam, perilla seeds, and black sesame seeds are some fast-selling products from their inventory.
Places to Visit in Mawphlang
1. Mawphlang Sacred Forest
One of the major attractions of Meghalaya, Mawphlang Sacred Forest is a stunning travel getaway no nature lover should miss. Located over an area of 78 hectares, the lush forest with an immense variety of fauna and flora will win your heart. It is believed to be protected by a local deity named ‘Labasa’. According to folklore, if someone even takes a dried leaf from the forest, he or she will be cursed.
2. Khasi Heritage Village
Situated in the opposite direction of Sacred Forest, the Khasi Heritage Village is a unique travel getaway to experience the raw and unfiltered Meghalaya. On your visit here, you will get to experience the local lifestyle of the Khasi tribes from Myliem, Jirang, Shella Wahadarship Nongkhhlaw and others. This village has several houses built in the conventional Khasi style.
3. Mawphlang Dam
Built over Umiew River, this dam is another popular tourist attraction in Mawphlang. It is quite huge and is a good spot to click some amazing photos with your loved ones.
How to Reach Mawphlang, Meghalaya
Mawphlang is a beautiful village located in Meghalaya. The village is home to the popular Khasi tribe, Khasi Heritage Village, a lush green forest cover which the local people consider sacred, tribal festivals, and varied vibrant cultural events. Mawphlang is visited by trekkers, and nature lovers from across the country.
Shillong airport is the nearest airport to reach Mawphlang. From the airport, one has to cover another 50km to reach the Mawphlang town. One may take the locally available public transport like a taxi or a bus to commute to the desired location.
There are majorly connecting flights from the metro cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru with a stopover in Kolkata. IndiGo runs a non-stop flight of 110 minutes from Kolkata with a one-way fare starting from Rs.2900.
Distance from Umroi Airport. 51.5 km via NH6 and Mawsynram-Shillong Rd
Guwahati railway station is the nearest train station to reach Mawplhang. From the station, one has to travel another 120km approx. to reach the village which is three and a half-hour drive away from a bus or a taxi. From the station, you can take a taxi or a local bus to reach Mawphlang.
Distance from Guwahati Railway Station. 117 km
If you are planning to travel by road to this appetizing food festival then you may either take an inter-state tourist bus or may take your personal vehicle to reach Mawphlang via motorable state and national highways.
Distance from Shillong. 25.9 km via Mawsynram-Shillong Rd
Mei Ramew Festival stands as a vibrant testament to the rich cultural and culinary heritage of Meghalaya. Through its celebration of traditional cuisines and the revival of forgotten recipes, the festival not only tantalises the taste buds but also serves as a cultural bridge between generations. The collaborative efforts of the state government and the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) showcase a commitment to preserving and sharing the unique flavours of Meghalaya. As Mei Ramew continues to captivate visitors, it becomes an integral part of the region's identity, ensuring that the essence of Meghalaya's culinary legacy flourishes for years to come.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Mei Ramew Food Festival
Q1. What is Mei Ramew Food Festival about?
A1. Mei Ramew is a unique food festival in Mawphlang, Meghalaya, dedicated to reviving traditional cuisines and preserving forgotten recipes.
Q2. Who organises the Mei Ramew Food Festival?
A2. Mei Ramew is organised in collaboration with the state government and is primarily orchestrated by the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS).
Q3. What is the main aim of the Mei Ramew Food Festival?
A3. The festival aims to revive old ways of cooking by reintroducing recipes lost from daily life, often due to elaborate cooking processes or time constraints.
Q4. How can one participate in the Mei Ramew Food Festival?
A4. Attendees can participate by visiting Mawphlang during the festival dates. Details about participation, events, and schedules are usually available on official platforms.
Q5. What can visitors expect at the Mei Ramew Food Festival?
A5. Visitors can expect a delightful experience exploring Meghalaya's culinary heritage, tasting traditional dishes, and witnessing cooking demonstrations. The festival also often features cultural performances and local crafts.