Restaurant owner Sabreen Ali says their first Diwali buffet was a success and she will now make it a permanent fixture.
The chef and owner of the local restaurant Curry House in Vailima told Samoa Observer that it was the first time for them to prepare a buffet, which celebrates the Hindu festival.
The planning for this year’s event began last year, when she celebrated Diwali with family and friends and loved the tradition, compelling her to share it. It was there that the decision was made to introduce it in Samoa.
Diwali is a five-day festival of lights which is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world. Herself a Hindu, Sabreen is Fijian/Indian with Indian roots on her father’s side, and although she was born and raised in Fiji, Indian culture was very strong in her upbringing.
“Rama-chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on the day Rama returned to his people after years of exile, during which he taught and won a battle against the demons of the demon King Ravana,” she said.
Firecrackers and lights are essential parts of the celebrations, with Sabreen indicating that there are even competitions.
In her preparations for Samoa’s first Diwali buffet, she made bookings and began catering preparations, before taking to social media to market the event.
Sabreen did not expect everything to go according to plan but was surprised to have a full house.
“I had a full house! I had not expected a full house because it was a public holiday. Even though I had bookings, there were still walk-ins who happened to know about the event,” she said.
Sabreen has a strong connection to her Indian cuisine and desserts and the buffet was an opportunity to make a good impression on their guests, who came from different cultural backgrounds.
She said she was stunned by the feedback from guests that evening.
“I had really good comments and feedback from the guests so I am going to do buffets from now on,” she added.