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Spreading Spice Across South America: Naans & Curries’ Food Diplomacy Triumph

To spot genuine Indian restaurants, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Ministry of External Affairs, has revealed the six recipients of the inaugural Annapurna certificate. These victors were chosen from a pool of 115 nominations submitted by Indian missions overseas.

The awardees encompass establishments such as Naans and Curries, an authentic Indian eatery located in San Jose, Costa Rica; Mumtaz Mahal Restaurant in Muscat, Oman; Namaste Indian Restaurant in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Balaji Dosa in Sri Lanka; Indian Street Food and Co. in Sweden; and Amber Restaurant in the USA.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, culinary and gastronomic traditions have gained a notable place on the ICCR’s agenda. The decision to institute this award underscores the pivotal role played by restaurants in fostering genuine person-to-person connections.

he ICCR’s Annapurna Certificate serves as a distinctive acknowledgment of Indian restaurants abroad that have made substantial contributions to the promotion of Indian cuisine and culinary heritage. This ICCR initiative seeks to honour these global ambassadors of authentic Indian gastronomy, thereby advancing cultural exchange through the universal medium of food.

Naans & Curries in Costa Rica

The enchanting aroma of spices and the tantalizing taste of Indian cuisine have transcended borders, reaching the picturesque landscapes of Costa Rica. In a momentous celebration of Indian cuisine’s global reach and authenticity, Naans & Curries in Costa Rica has been awarded the prestigious Annapurna Certificate by the ICCR, Government of India. According to a top diplomat, “This recognition marks a significant achievement for a restaurant that has become an ambassador of Indian flavours in the heart of Latin America.

Naans & Curries, situated in Costa Rica, has set a remarkable milestone by becoming the first-ever restaurant in the region to receive the Annapurna Certificate.”

Kapil Gulati, corporate executive for 20 years, relocated to Costa Rica in 2008, got bugged by the Pura Vida (literal meaning Pure life) culture of Costa Rica. In nature rich Costa Rica, he added the rich flavours of Indian cuisine, making Costa Rica also a sought-after destination for Indian weddings.

Speaking to Financial Express Online from San Jose, Kapil Gulati says, “We believe the time is right for the flavours of Indian cuisine of mother nature to become part of everyday wholesome dining, which we have been practicing at Naans & Curries.”

“We hope we have set things in motion with most popular Indian restaurants in Costa Rica. We want “Naans & Curries” to offer Indian dishes that are timeless and yet fresh, also creating fusion, inspired by today’s India, bold, beautiful, and incredible. We want people to eat – and then get awed with our “Incredible Indian Cuisine”, he added.

Significance of this award and Indian cuisine

According to Gulati, the Annapurna Certificate is the highest recognition for representing Indian cuisine abroad, and Naans & Curries has rightly earned this distinction. “It is a remarkable journey that began a decade ago. At that time, Indian cuisine was virtually unknown in Costa Rica, and the local population was largely unaware of the diverse and exquisite flavours that India had to offer,” he said.

Despite these challenges, “Naans & Curries embarked on a mission to introduce the rich tapestry of Indian cuisine to Costa Ricans. Over the years, it has succeeded not only in overcoming these challenges but also in making Costa Rica a hub for Indian cuisine.”

Today, Costa Rica boasts the highest number of successful Indian restaurants per capita in Latin America, a fact that reflects the enduring appeal of Indian cuisine in the region.

Is there a chain of your restaurant in Costa Rica?

“As the restaurant announces its 10th location in this country of 5mn Ticos (Costa Ricans), the future looks even brighter for Indian cuisine enthusiasts in Costa Rica. Pura Vida “Naans & Curries” team,” says Kapil Gulati.

Source: Financial Express