Palak paneer or spinach curry with cheese, spicy chickpeas dish of chana masala, teardrop-shaped bread called nan, heavenly desserts gajar halva and jalebi, and other Indian specialties are available up to November 15 at five-star hotel Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

To celebrate the Hindu festival of lights known as Diwali, Cafe Marco is serving authentic Indian cuisine for lunch and dinner in a special culinary treat called Khana.

Marco Polo Khana Indian cuisine pickled vegetables
These pickled vegetables are very spicy.


Indian food is influenced by history, geography, culture, caste and soil so it’s not unusual for taste to vary in the different regions but at its core is the use of several common spices, said Indian Embassy First Secretary of Commercial and Education Narayanan Ramakrishnan.

“The beauty of Indian cuisine is in the different flavors and tastes coming to your mouth from the interplay of such spices as turmeric, chili, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns. Since a lot of Indians are into vegetarianism, we have to make food interesting without the meat,” he said.

Palak Paneer is a spinach-based dish.
Palak Paneer is a spinach-based dish.


Khana Culinary Journey

According to Ramakrishnan, Cafe Marco’s Khana is an excellent initiative, the quality of food served is “quite good,” and he’s happy to see a large crowd enjoying the fare.

He said culinary activities like Khana corrects the common misconceptions about Indian fare, chiefly that it is all curry and too spicy.

For the Khana event, Marco Polo Cebu secured the help of Judeline L. Murjani, a Cebuana married to an Indian national and the mother of former Miss Cebu Namrata Neesha, in compiling a list of dishes to include in the Cafe Marco menu.

Falooda Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Culinary Journey
Falooda is a scrumptious dessert made from, among other ingredients, rose water, tapioca pearls and vermicelli.


Cooking passion

Murjani, who has been married for 31 years, said cooking is her passion and she has been doing it since she was a child. Having been introduced to chili at an early age by her father, she said she did not find it difficult to love Indian food.

She learned to prepare Indian dishes from her husband whom she described as a good cook. “I teach him to cook Filipino food, he teaches me how to do Indian dishes,” she said.

Khana Culinary Journey opening
KHANA OPENING. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar (5th from left), former Miss Cebu Namrata Neesha Murjani, First Secretary Narayanan Ramakrishnan, and culinary consultant Judeline Murjani along with Sandiego dancers lead the opening of Khana Culinary Journey, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Indian cuisine festival.


From today up to November 15, get your fill of popular Indian cuisine like shahi paneer, palak paneer, bamgan bharta and aloo, gobi matar massala in three cycles during lunch or dinner at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Cafe Marco.

This buffet treat comes at the net price of P1,099 for the lunch and P1,345 for dinner. Call Marco Polo Plaza Cebu at (+6332) 253-1111 for reservations or inquiries.

More photos of the Khana Culinary Journey launch:

You must try the Prawns Biryani.
You must try the Prawns Biryani.


Chana masala Marco Polo Khana culinary journey

Khana culinary journey dessert




Sandiego dancers lead the opening with a colorful and synchronized number.
RANGOLI. Sandiego dancers lead the opening with a colorful and synchronized number in front of a rangoli in the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Neesha Murjani
DIWALI CEREMONY. Former Miss Cebu Namrata Neesha Murjani joins a lighting ceremony to mark Diwali or the festival of lights and the opening of Khana in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Marlen is the editor of and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.

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