SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Korea Bizwire) – The Blue House welcomed Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who is on a state visit to South Korea, with a vegetarian state dinner on Wednesday, catering to the Southeast Asian leader’s Buddhist beliefs.
It was reported that the Blue House carefully selected vegetarian dishes for the state dinner yesterday between President Moon Jae-in and President Sirisena, a meal consisting of traditional Korean dishes with a vegetarian touch.
For snacks, curry-flavored dried sweet potato, mandarin crisps, dried persimmons and nut fries were served to represent the two countries’ food cultures, while the main course consisted of various seafood dishes ranging from crab with vegetables to grilled abalone, a pumpkin soup as well as bibimbap, followed by monk Sunjae’s signature temple food desserts.
The dessert included fruits from the oriental thuja and traditional Korean confectioneries made of Korean honey and pine nuts from the region of Gapyeong, and dried seaweed from Wando County. Roasted neungi mushrooms and a special tea made of pine resin were also served.
Alongside a variety of dishes consisting primarily of vegetables and seafood, white and red wine were served to complement the food.
However, as Sirisena abstains from drinking alcohol, the toasting ceremony took place with apple juice instead.
After the dinner, a cake-cutting ceremony followed in celebration of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Sri Lanka, as well as a musical concert consisting of crossover performances between the two countries’ traditional music and cultures.
The CBS Children’s Choir also performed renditions of the Sri Lankan song ‘Surangani’ and the Korean song ‘Jindo Arirang’, coupled with choreographies, to present a livelier performance.
The state dinner was attended by senior government officials including the Minister of Strategy and Finance, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Minister of Employment and Labor, as well as high profile Buddhist figures.
Earlier on Wednesday, the South Korean and Sri Lankan presidents agreed to tighten ties between the two countries and improve their economic and diplomatic cooperation to boost bilateral trade and pursue a peaceful approach to the issue of North Korean’s nuclear capabilities.