We were quite the fortunate ones this year, as the World Street Food Congress decided to host their annual event here in Manila, Philippines. The highlight of the event you might ask? - My mum’s idol – Anthony Bourdain was one of the special guests! Yippee!
They decided to host this event at the Mall of Asia concert grounds, spreading out over 4 days. Hawkers from all over the world (minus a few countries which surprised me) came to showcase their speciality dishes. We are talking diverse dishes from all over the Philippines, to Vietnam, Hong Kong, to Germany, to USA, to Malaysia, to Singapore, to Japan, to India… the list goes on. All under one big tent.
Living in Manila, one knows how excited Pinoys get over food. Needless to say, we chose to go on the second day which was a Thursday, to avoid the crowds. Fewer crowds = Quicker access to food.
There was so much food to try, my ma was getting a major case of the FOMO (Fear of missing out). At these street food events, you know you may have to spend quite some time queuing up for the more popular dishes. Which in turn can take away some momentum from the enjoyment of sampling.
Since I was getting impatient, because of the humidity, and the crowds, my ma did a quick run around to see what would I would like best. A few laps later, she rushed back with a Sisig Paella, and Pork Monggo (with a twist). For those of you who do not know what Sisig is, it’s a sizzling dish made out of parts of a pig’s head and liver. It has a little bit of a crunchy texture, and is more commonly eaten with a few bottles of San Miguel. Although It might sound funky, it works great with Paella. The crunchiness adds texture, and the meat adds flavor.
Another dish I tried, was Duterte’s all time favourite - Pork Monggo, from Thrunks Carinderia in his hometown of Davao. This is a warm comforting dish, made of monggo beans, eggplant, squash, bokchoy and pork. It doesn’t look the most attractive. But it was tasty and certainly better enjoyed during a rainy and cooler day.
Meanwhile on the other side of the tent, Lola found some beef brisket soup from one of the Chinese stands, that she wanted to try. But her bad, because it was too spicy for her. Whoops! If you know my Lola, she cannot handle anything remotely spicy!
Have you guys tried Bandung? Bandung made my mouth water just by looking at it. It was my favorite beverage because of its pretty pink color. I found out that it is a popular drink in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei. It is also made from evaporated milk and a rose flavored cordial syrup to give it the bright color. Lola kept this all to herself though. She said it was too sweet for me, so Ma and I shared the Sugar Cane juice. This was actually more refreshing.
The longer we stayed, the busier it got. We decided to go home shortly after Anthony Bourdain gave his speech on stage. Did I mention that my ma was chasing him down the tent like a crazed fan girl?! Seriously, I can’t take her anywhere!! Lola realized who he was from TV, and she wouldn’t stop staring at him. Then later asked why his hair was grey? I hope I don’t end up like them when I’m older!
Anyways friends, I hope you enjoy the photos. I wanted to return for the last day but sadly we couldn’t make it. Looking forward to my next food adventure! What was your best food experience and where?
Thanks for reading, as always!
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