Several Bangladeshi restaurants from six British cities are set to participate in next month’s first-ever National Samosa Week, where communities and organizations are being encouraged to make, sell and consume the savoury snack, known as shingara in Bangla, to raise money for charity.
The event is planned to be held between April 9 and 13 in Leicester, the city in the East Midlands region of England.
Brainchild of Leicester-based media personality Romail Gulzar, the event is aimed at utilizing the popularity of the snack to transcend all barriers and turning it into a mean to unite different communities in the UK.
“It is tea time snack in the subcontinent but it can be so much more than that. We want to use this week to draw attention to the rich culture and food heritage of South Asia,” said Gulzar, founder of the Leicester Curry Awards and editor of Pukaar News.
“This triangle-shaped delicacy is said to originate from the Middle East and was eaten by travelling merchants. It is likely that this is how the tasty parcels made their way to other parts of the world, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh,” he said.
Other cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Coventry, Nottinghamshire and Redlett have since come on board with the idea, which involves a range of activities including samosa eating contests, pop-up samosa shops and tastiest samosa awards.
The proceeds from the sale are aimed at two charities – mental health charity LAMP and Care of Police Survivors, dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives whilst on duty.
Pakistani-origin Gulzar, who migrated to the UK from Dubai, said: “We want to encourage people all over the UK to buy or make their own samosas this week and sell them at work and school to raise funds for their local community or charities. If you're feeling competitive, you could offer a prize for the best samosas, we think this could be the start of something really popular.”
While he believes the world’s best samosas are to be found in the subcontinent, he is determined to bring some of that flavour to the UK. “We want to encourage people to experiment with this fried snack, traditionally stuffed with spiced potatoes, onion, peas, but it can have meat and other options too.”
Some of the winners of the National Samosa Week’s prize draw will win tickets to the Leicester Curry Awards in Leicester on April 22, during which over 30 of the city’s shortlisted restaurants with their origins in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan will compete for a second year for the top prize.