Friday, 22 April 2016

WSFC16 World Street Food Congress in Manila - Breathtaking Flying Start on 20 Apr 2016

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20 Apr 2016. Had an inspiring opening day at the World Street Food Congress and Jamboree 2016 held at the open space in front of the iconic Spaceman mural in Bonifacio Global City.

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In his opening remarks, KF Seetoh, Founder of Makansutra and Creator of the World Street Food Congress said that Philippines street cuisine is at the cusp of being the next big thing in the global culinary scene.

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Javier D. Hernandez, Asst. Vice President and Area Head of Ayala Land stressed Ayala Malls' strong advocacy of Philippines street food through it's food courts, fiesta markets and as a partner in the World Street Food Congress 2016.

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Domingo Ramon C. Enerio III, Chief Operating Officer, Tourism Promotions Board Philippines said that the Philippines has one of the most exciting culinary traditions as it melds local flavours with layers of flavours introduced by foreign food cultures through the centuries from China, to Spain, the USA and Japan. The Philippines' neighbours like Indonesia too added tastes to Philippines food culture. 

The theme of WSFC16 is "The Comforting Flavours of Home".

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Seetoh, Hernandez and Enerio III officially launched the World Street Food Congress 2016 by pulling a glass of the traditional Philippines chocolate beverage Tsokolate E each, teh tarik style. Hand pulling the hot beverage gives it a bubbly froth which is the signature of teh terik or "pulled tea".

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The first speaker Anton Diaz, creator of Our Awesome Planet blog, is confident that street food culture is going to boom in the Philippines as the country has a young population (median age 24 years old) which has new found pride in their national cuisine and a huge appetite to experience foreign flavours. This mobile, young demographic is highly connected by social media so their influence is going to be fast and wide.

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Chef Ian Kittichai, Thailand Iron Chef demonstrated the making of Moo Ping, the BBQ pork skewers ubiquitous in the streets of Bangkok.

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Richard Tan, former Director of Singapore National Environment Agency's Hawker Division shared his experience on the government's role in preserving and delivery street food culture in Singapore.

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Chef Xu Jing Yi from Foshan, China demonstrated Zhu Hou chicken, a delicious Foshan chicken dish with a 120 year old history. Chef Xu was supported by Culinary Consultant David Yip as the chef does not speak English.

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Sangeeta Singh, Head of India's National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) spoke about protecting and preserving street vendors' livelihood. Ms Sangeeta is busy now with setting up a street food culinary institute to provide training to existing street vendors and their children.

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Chef Malcolm Lee, owner chef of Candlenut Restaurant in Singapore shared about Peranakan cuisine which fuses Chinese and local cuisines found only in Singapore, parts of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Chef Malcolm also demonstrated the preparation of Singapore laksa based on his grandmother's recipe.

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Woo Wai Leong, MasterChef Asia shared that good food tastes good and brings people closer together. MasterChef Woo also demonstrated his interpretation of the iconic Philippines dessert sapi-sapin.

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Street hawker practitioners shared their personal experiences. My takeaway is good street food takes a lot of passion and commitment from our street food warriors as the traditional recipes and methods take a lot of effort - to assemble the ingredients and to prepare. In this day and age, the temptation to merely resell factory supplied processed food as "street food" is strong as the profit margins are better and it requires less effort.

The Pitch Box session follows, where participants penned down their ideas on the idea board and relevant ideas were presented to the audience for discussion. We had a lively hackaton, reflecting the deep interest in street food matters.

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An example of the interesting ideas pitched during the hackaton was Richard Tan's idea of "street food diplomacy".

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Ulf Tassilo Muech, Founding Member of Street Food Merchants Guild based in Berlin shared how in Germany, mass factory produced processed food is being peddled as "street food" threatening the survival of genuine street food made with traditional techniques.

The Congress proceedings for the day closed, we walked 3 minutes to the Jamboree at the next block.

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We were simply stunned by the overwhelming response. Queues started to form at 3:00pm (one hour before the opening time at 4:00pm).

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The queue to get into the Jamboree.

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Our group of friends dispersed, joined the respective queues, and brought the food back together to share.

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We wolfed down the delicious food fast as there were so many stalls to try :-D Then, we repeated the process :-D

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It had been an eye opening day to the potential of street food in the Philippines.

Come and experience this, if you are in Manila from 20 to 24 Apr 2016.

For more on the World Street Food Congress 2016 <- click

Date: 20 Apr 2016

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I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is the same as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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