A festival! All about food! What kind of insane food blogger would I be if I didn’t go?
So I toddled off to Taste of Dubai 2011 on the first day (3rd March) to check out the foodie delights that I hoped awaited within.
After making it past the entertainment and rides for the kiddies, I hit the mother lode. FOOD STALLS.
I was in a hurry though; I knew Chef Vineet Bhatia was going to host a cooking demo soon and I wanted to be there, as I’d already interviewed him a few days ago (interview will be up soon!).
I found the cooking demo area and I perched myself right in front. When Vineet Bhatia asked for two volunteers, it only took a quick moment to get me up on stage. And there I was, up on the cooking demo stage, whisking away. It was a pretty interactive demo, which is how it should be, with the ever-so-humble Michelin starred chef (two time winner!) involving the crowd. Inventive with a capital I, he made a chicken dish with kadi and pink upma (yes pink!), which was quite delicious. You could taste the spices he’d used with a single bite. At the end of the half-hour demo, I went over and said hello and he was super-friendly, as I’d found on the phone as well.
After my assistant phase was over, I wandered around a bit more. I hadn’t had food all day (in preparation of the event), so naturally, back to the food stalls I went. I got the chicken lettuce wraps from P.F. Changs, and a hummous plate from Al Nafoorah. Not satisfied, I promptly ordered a cheese manakish from there as well.
I liked the lettuce wraps. They were decent eats and I think, based on them, I’d like to try PF Chang’s again. I did enjoy the taste of the hummous, as well as the cheese manakish. Al Nafoorah is definitely on my list of restaurants I want to frequent in the future.
After that, I walked around some more…here are some displays that caught my eye:
I somehow managed to get talked into standing in front of the Lurpak stand and babbling on camera about how much I love food (And I got a free butter knife for my efforts). I have proof by way of a video, but it’s so pathetic it’s definitely not for public viewing! Since I didn’t get a call the next day, I’m assuming someone who was more inventive won!
Then I bumped into Arva from I Live in a Frying Pan, who was fish taco-ing it from Maya by Richard Sandoval (she has her own strong opinions about the fish taco…link at the bottom of this post!) and shared it with me because she said she was quite stuffed We tried the guacamole from there as well. I’m a fussy fish eater. I rarely ever eat fish unless it’s fried, or if my Mom makes something at home. And I never, ever, ever, eat prawns. Anyway, my fish issues aside, I like hammour. So I wasn’t too bothered about the choice of fish in the taco. But the guacamole I didn’t really take to, so that wasn’t high on my list of things-I-want-to-eat-again.
Walked around some more! And thought, hey I need to have dessert. I picked the lemon tart with lemon meringue and mint sorbet from The Rib Room, mostly because it sounded so different from the normal cheesecake, cake, pudding, etc. The mint sorbet was not to my liking, I’ll be honest. The tart itself was average but it was annoying because the plastic spoon was unable to chop through the tart’s sides.
I’d eaten enough, I thought. Stuffed, I left.
And then returned, on the last day (5th March) with my mother. This time, I had a clear action plan of what I wanted to taste. And so it began.
First, the chicken pastilla from Almaz by Momo’s. I’d read reports that it was pretty good, and boy was that true! I loved the crunchy taste, and the sprinkled sugar on top. Plus I got it piping hot, which added to my love for it.
Then we hit the Choco Banana spring rolls from Chi’Zen. I was thinking, chocolate and banana fried in a spring roll? Could it be any good? I liked it. It’s definitely a different thing to have, but the gooey chocolate went well with the fried outer pastry. A thumbs-up from me.
I had to try the bread dipped in the white truffle oil at GourmetPoint (again I might add; I’d already sampled it the first day), so off we went in that direction. This time, we bought something! The brownie mix bottle. Apparently, we just need to add eggs and butter, and voila, the mix is done. When we bought this bottle (for AED 60/-), the lovely person serving us threw in a bottle of almond oil for free. Will try both out and blog about the results!
After we sampled some fresh fruits from UniFrutti, we wandered over to have sticky toffee pudding from Rhodes Twenty10. My mother seemed to like it, but I’m not a sticky toffee pudding person so I didn’t take to it so much.
The first day I’d passed the RAW Coffee Company, admired their couch and walked off, thinking I needed to come back to try their coffee. So this time, I bought a cappuccino, while inhaling in the orgasmic smell of coffee beans (yes I love coffee). Then I sipped the cappuccino. And I could see stars in my eyes, bells ringing. Oh RAW Coffee Company…where have you been all my life?! Why have I never sipped from your hallowed cups of coffee before? Why has destiny kept us apart for so long?! Can you tell I’m in love with them? Seriously, their coffee is G-O-O-D. The RAW Coffee Company is my number one find of the festival!
After talking loudly to my mother and anyone who could overhear my exhortations on the amazing coffee I’d just had, we left, sated and satisfied.
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This was the first Taste of Dubai that I’ve attended. I’m quite pleased to say it’s something I would definitely like to try out next year. I think it gives us a chance to try out food from places we might not normally frequent, and in my case, show me some gems I’d definitely like to try out more often (Example, RAW Coffee Company, Al Nafoorah, Chi’Zen and PF Changs are places I’ve tried here and would want to go back to). I regret not being able to sample more food, but then…there’s always next year!
Happy eating everyone!
Note: On the first day of the event I went in with complimentary passes given to food bloggers by the PR company. On the third day, I paid for a ticket. My views here are my own.