A restaurant in Dubai offering Philippine dishes | Contributed Photo
Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — The Philippines invites the UAE’s diverse community of 200 nationalities to prepare their palates for a delightful new generation of Filipino cuisine in the country’s grandest food fiesta to date – the Philippines Food Festival.
Coinciding with the Expo 2020 Dubai, the Philippines Food Festival marks the most significant engagement of the country in presenting its food in a new light, with the opportunity to travel the Philippines’ kitchens and explore the country’s cuisine at one table.
UAE residents curious about contemporary Filipino food will taste generations of recipes handed down to families, where authenticity remains at the heart of every dish served.
Rosvi C. Gaetos, the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (PDTI) Assistant Secretary and the Philippines Expo 2020 Dubai Alternate Commissioner-General, highlighted the Philippine Food Festival’s potential. He said this would spotlight the distinctiveness of Filipino food concepts, which sets it apart from the rest of Southeast Asia.
“Traditional Filipino kitchen has interwoven different culinary experiences from our interactions with different countries within our history that spans 4,000 years back. Fast forward to today, the Philippine Food Festival brings to light this amalgamation of cooking techniques applied on these specially-curated menu items, each given a modern-day twist by some of our finest Filipino chefs based here in the UAE,” said Gaetos.
Running from December 2021 to March 2022, the Philippines Food Festival will collaborate with dozens of restaurants, hotels, leading supermarkets, and grocery stores, as well as the Bangkóta Philippines Pavilion’s very own ‘Mangrove Café. This event aims to entice global citizens to savor the culinary flavors of the Philippines through delicious Filipino dishes and iconic food products shipped from the Philippines.
Maria Anthonette C. Velasco-Allones, CEO of the Philippine Tourism Promotions Board, hopes this holistic approach will serve as the country platform. It will showcase some of the most popular dishes that the global community will savor.
“We are bringing authentic Filipino food from the kitchens of the Philippines directly to your tables here in Dubai and the rest of the UAE, in our efforts to establish the Philippines as the culinary centre of Southeast Asia. Our dedicated chefs from the Philippines who have mastered the art of giving traditional dishes a spark of innovative food craftsmanship without losing the same comforting taste will signal the beginning of an exciting new phase for Filipino cuisine,” said Velasco-Allones.
The Philippines Food Festival has partnered with three hotels in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. They expect these hotels to host peak guests worldwide during this holiday and winter seasons. And by offering Philippine dishes, either as part of their buffet or in a set menu, they can link the palates of foreign tourists to the plates of Philippine kitchens.
Partner hotels will serve specially curated menus by internationally-renowned and award-winning Filipino chef John Buenaventura, together with a group of Filipino culinary artists or siñeros, all working in the UAE’s hospitality industry.
In addition, Filipino-owned restaurants across the UAE will be concocting their special ‘Bangkóta’ menu out of their regular offerings. It will highlight their best Filipino dishes cooked with creativity and innovation to recreate traditional recipes passed down across several generations of Filipino ancestry.
The Philippines Food Festival, alongside the country’s annual participation in the UAE’s Gulfood exhibition, has also tapped leading supermarkets and grocery stores to feature ingredients and products shipped from the Philippines. This initiative encourages the public to create delicious, homemade Filipino food.
The Mangrove Café located at the Philippines Pavilion will engage Expo 2020 Dubai visitors through a series of activities that will explore the distinct flavors of the country.
Participants and visitors of the Philippines Food Festival will get a chance to win exciting prizes, including a trip to some of the best destinations in the Philippines.