Coca-Cola and the art of embracing local flavors: A journey through Sri Lankan cuisine

Coca-Cola and the art of embracing local flavors: A journey through Sri Lankan cuisine

By Anojah Ratnasabapathy, Country Marketing Lead for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Coca-Cola

Sri Lanka, a nation known for its vibrant culture and diverse traditions, is perhaps most celebrated for its culinary delights. Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, Sri Lankans have a profound love for their local cuisine, and at the heart of this affection is a dish that transcends boundaries – the beloved “Kottu.”

Coca-Cola, a global brand with a deep-rooted presence in Sri Lanka, recognizes the significance of embracing and promoting local flavors. In an effort to celebrate and support the rich culinary traditions of this island nation, Coca-Cola has embarked on a remarkable journey, culminating in the sensational “Coke Kottu Beat Party.”

The origin of the Coke Kottu Beat Party

To truly appreciate the essence of “Coke Kottu Beat Party,” one must understand the cultural significance of Kottu in Sri Lankan cuisine. Kottu, often hailed as the “National Food of Sri Lanka,” holds a special place in the hearts of Sri Lankans. This delicacy, prepared with a rhythmic symphony of chopped rotti, vegetables, and spices, embodies the essence of Sri Lankan street food. But how did Coca-Cola identify Kottu as this nation’s culinary treasure? Through extensive research and insights, the brand unearthed the cultural importance of Kottu. It’s a dish that brings joy and a sense of unity, transcending social, economic and even regional boundaries.

The “Coke Kottu Beat Party” was envisioned with a clear set of objectives. This event serves as a dynamic platform that seamlessly connects Sri Lankans’ love for music and their authentic favorite dish – Kottu. The “Is Cooking” campaign, a global phenomenon introduced by Coca-Cola, aims to enhance street food experiences and music culture worldwide.

At the heart of this initiative is the ambition to leverage consumers’ passion for music, food, entertainment, and to connect with them on a deeper level. It’s about creating a holistic experience that resonates with the local community. This endeavor fosters stronger engagement with Coca-Cola’s partners as well – the dining outlets that cater to the beloved target market.

Beyond just Kottu

The “Coke Kottu Beat Party” is far from ordinary; it’s a unique blend of music, entertainment, and, of course, the delectable Kottu. The “Coke Battle” is a central highlight, where 20 hot Kottu spots in the region engage in a spirited culinary competition, vying for the title of the ultimate “Coke Kottu Battle” and a reward of LKR 50,000. Over seven events, seven winners and seven runner-ups have been crowned, showcasing the mastery and innovation of local Kottu chefs. The party also hosts fun eating games for couples, friends, and families, adding an element of friendly competition.

Music takes center stage with performances by renowned artists such as Umaria, Wasthi, Centigradz, Hana Shafa, and Mid Lane, creating an electrifying atmosphere. This music festival, powered by Coca-Cola, ensures that attendees are not only treated to an array of flavors but also to a sensational auditory experience.

The “Coke Kottu Beat Party” has witnessed an overwhelming response, with over 158,000 enthusiastic attendees joining the festivities across seven locations in the country so far. The significance of this event lies in the fact that celebration means music in Sri Lanka. The local audience’s unwavering love for music and food is palpable, and the “Coke Kottu Beat Party” brilliantly creates an atmosphere of excitement that brings hundreds of thousands of families and friends together.

Sharing their thoughts on this unique event, a renowned Master Chef and a judge of the Coke Kottu Battle said, “This is a unique experience in my several years of being a chef. The vibe and the atmosphere are unmatched, and the Kottu stalls bring the perfect experience to families. We look forward to Coca-Cola’s journey in taking this phenomenon to the next level.”

Further, a Kottu Stall Owner and one of the winners of the iconic Coke Kottu Battle said, “It’s been an exciting journey. We run a small shop with only a few customers, but now thanks to Coca-Cola, we’ve had the chance to show our skills to thousands of people. We’ve gained new customers who heard about our victory at the Coke Kottu Beat Party! We’re really thankful to Coca-Cola for this opportunity.”

Sustaining the legacy, the “Coke Kottu Beat Party” is set to be upgraded to version 2.0 in 2024, promising a fusion of sustainability with excitement. The future holds unique new dishes, an experience zone showcasing sustainable products, and a commitment to making a positive impact among the waste-collector communities. Coca-Cola’s vision for culinary events includes bridging cultures through the shared love for food and music.

In essence, the “Coke Kottu Beat Party” celebrates the vibrant tapestry of Sri Lankan culture, bringing people together through the magic of music, local flavors, and a sense of community. It is an invitation to savor the real magic of Sri Lankan culture.

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