Kothu and Culture


As a flag is synonymous with a country’s boundaries, so too is a dish intrinsically associated with a country’s people. What Jerk is to Jamaicans, Pie is to Aussies, Doner Kebab to the Turkish or Bunny Chow to South Africans; Kothu is to us.

Such dishes often have a common theme of having origins deeply rooted in the working class. Yet, these dishes today transcend socio-economic status within their places of origins and beyond. Classically, Kothu can be found being made at the roadside, in a stand-alone stall in bus halts and bustling markets where lawyers and labourers alike congregate. It also serves as a disarming bridge between starkly different cultures. In today’s multicultural societies, food often becomes a persevering cultural symbol beyond simple nourishment, while other customs fade and blend.

To our diaspora collective, food is arguably a unifying and representative product of our culture. Not all of us speak the same language, listen to the same music, share the same political views, abide by traditional customs, nor do we wear sarongs to bed or saris to the office. Yet, we all can almost guarantee having been in a debate about who makes the best Kothu in town.

In a world apparently burgeoning with foodies, Kothu and Sri Lankan cuisine have surprisingly stayed relatively unknown or packaged as South Asian. KothuFest, an original independent food festival celebrating Kothu, now in its second year, seeks to rectify this culinary and cultural travesty by bringing our iconic dish to everyone in Toronto.

On July 24, 2016, some of Toronto’s best and well-known Kothu creators will descend upon Albert Campbell Square at the Scarborough Civic Center. From showcasing classic flavours to mouth watering contemporary varieties, the evolution of Kothu will firmly be evident at Toronto’s one and only KothuFest.

We humbly invite all of you to come and represent as we seek to add to our illustrious and evolving narrative among Toronto’s cultural landscape.

To find out more, visit us at: www.kothufest.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kothufest/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/kothufest/
Tamil Community promotion by: Tamil Events

Editor's Note

Thank's so much for being a TC Reader! To continue bringing you more of the stories you love for free, our team needs your help. Will you make a small contribution? Every bit helps!

Give $15 Give Another Amount



On Sunday July 24, Toronto’s most popular Sri Lankan restaurants and exclusive pop ups will come together once again to celebrate Kothu Roti and Sri Lankan street food. Come down to Albert Campbell Square at the Scarborough Civic Center and engage with Toronto’s masters of Kothu roti. Vendors will be dishing an array of Kothu flavours, both classic and contemporary in variance. After last year's amazing success and turnout, we're back at it again for KothuFest 2016. You showed us love, and we're back to say we loved having you. So get ready for a day of sunshine, music, competitions, and most importantly roti like you've never had before. An extra of everything.

Read More Stores From KothuFest...

7 thoughts on “Kothu and Culture

  1. Can someone write about the history of Kothuroti? Who invented it? Kothuparata is famous in Madurai, its the same as Kothurotti. Any history?

  2. Strangely I’d never heard of kothu roti before a few years back. I’m Indian though

  3. Kothu parata became famous in chennai and then slowly Malaysia, was said to have come from Madurai. Atleast that’s what they told us then. Not sure, maybe they might have learned from Jaffna. Thing is Madurai culture and jaffna Tamil culture share a lot of Tamil words and some unique practices. Shaivite practices especially. Read about cultural exchanges between kings back then.Would be interesting if anyone can research on that.

  4. What is it ? Some kind of a rooti? Incidentally, Bunny chow is not synonymous with all South Africans, more of those living in the Durban area. It is now , due to people movement known throughout SA, but the Braai, or Barbecue is more apt. Every one irrespective of religion love a Braai. Even the vegans!

  5. Btw, you have a tamil last name. Vandayar. Its a caste from Chidambaram area. Love seeing south african tamils.

Leave a Reply

More In Life