In a festival that celebrates the collaboration between artists, creatives and story tellers from South Asia and the UK, we were inspired by the vast selection of art and food. There is plenty to discover  at Alchemy till the 25th May, in a colourful fusion of dance, music, design, fashion, literature and food.

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Street food
Kerb does Alchemy brings together a diverse selection of foods ranging from Sri Lanka to India, to Pakistan to Bangladesh. The carom boards and coconuts were a welcome sight, amongst the colourful stands of the many food vendors. Take a friend, share the food, and you’ll get squeeze more flavours in!

My firm yet often broken rule at food festivals is to always try something new, and that I did with the Bun Kabab, a street food common to Pakistan. A spicy beef patty layered in between a mint and coriander chutney (love), an egg omelette, tamarind and a yoghurt raita. Meat, spice and tang: you can’t go wrong!

There are plenty of chai tea fusions on offer, not to mention the spice concoctions in the cocktails. The coconut and pistachio barfi makes for a perfect treat for those with a sweet tooth. Over the next few days get your hands (and mouths) on typical street food flavours including the Dosa, Bhel Puri and Chaat from Dosa Deli, Horn OK Please, Kothu Kothu and more!

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Dance, Drama, Comedy
Here are just a few other highlights to look out for:

  • If you know your Bollywood music and films, singer Shreya Ghoshal will be playing at the Royal Festival Hall (23rd May).
  • Listen to a unique collaboration between tabla musician Zakir Hussain and traditional Irish and Scottish musicians in a concert (21st May).
  • Laugh out loud to comedy from Hardeep Singh Kohli and Shazia Mirza, the best in British Asian comedy (24th May).
  • There’s something for all ages, with children’s show Arabian Nights (23rd-24th May), telling the popular stories of Ali Baba and Aladdin.

 

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Art
The Mandala floor art, created by Nepalese artists was a striking array of colour and pattern, representing Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

My favourite was Dil Phaink, an exploration of the street in Pakistan. The deconstruction of the Truck explores the art, rituals and decoration that dresses up the vehicles in Pakistan.

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Forget the hipster beard. The Singh Project photography project captures the identity of Sikh men in a tribute to the beard and turban.

There’s much to be explored from a cultural mix that’s so full of history, narrative and diversity.

Alchemy Festival | Southbank Centre | 15th May-25 May

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