I love Food Expos. Telling me that there’s a food expo is like telling a fashion fiend that Fashion Week is on. So last weekend, we found ourselves at the Manila Food and Beverage Expo, purses full, stomachs empty and senses all ready to take in the sights, scents, and flavors.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been to a food expo, we’re regular visitors of the World Food Expo (WOFEX) so I had vague expectations about what the event would be like. At a glance, it seemed smaller than the World Food Expo. Still, there was a lot to be seen, tasted, and purchased.
Going through the schedules, I became painfully aware of all that I was missing. The schedules were loaded with a lot of seminars, demonstrations, and contests that I would’ve loved to participate in or watch. But we were there to shop, and focusing on the events would’ve eaten up our precious shopping time.
On to the shopping. It was definitely geared more towards people in the food business, rather than the casual foodie. Suppliers, whether for food or restaurant paraphernalia where there in full force. Serving dishes and warmers, heavy-duty kitchen fixtures, even restaurant tables and chairs.
One of the first booths visited was Gourdos. While they usually stock a lot of interesting kitchenware in their stores, their Expo booth was bedecked with baking supplies. Cake decorating sets and silicon bakeware dominated their display. They set aside a table for microplanes (I WANT ONE!) but overall, it was more bake-centric. I loved the Silly Feet silicon cupcake molds. It’s a cupcake! With feet!
My first purchase of the day was a bunch of Takoyaki! There was a takoyaki booth there, called Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki which was selling some freshly made ones. Now, I’ve never been to Japan, so I don’t know what real takoyaki’s like.
Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki had a thin layer of light batter around a veggie-filled center. Unlike Hatchin’s Takoyaki which is bready with large chunks of Octopus ♥, Kuya Chito’s reminded me more of Okonomiyaki, rather than Takoyaki. Not that it’s a bad thing, I enjoyed eating mine. The veggies added a nice crunch and the sauce never overpowered the takoyaki. Plus having a choice between pork, chicken, and fish toppings (I assume it’s some sort of mahu / floss) was nice.
A food booth that piqued my interest was the one with the Smoked Tea Ducks. I wanted to taste it but missed out, what with all the booth hopping we were doing. Wondering though, do Tea Ducks grow from Tea Eggs? 😛
Oishi, a local manufacturer of snack food and drinks had a booth as always. Because they’re launching a new powdered Iced Tea drink, they had a bigger booth than usual, all for sampling. While there wasn’t anything new, I can’t help but love their booth with the spinning snack boxes. It definitely appealed to my imagination. Imagine, having that at home!
One thing that got me squealing was a box of tattooed Fuji apples! According to the seller, these apples were made with a special light that not only imprinted the fruit, it also sterilized it. He added that these characters were lucky ones and that these apples were intended for gift-giving. Imagine, using the same technology for corporate giveaways! Intel logos on Macintosh apples, anyone?
A lot of retailers / importers also had booths which were fashioned like a mini-grocery. I was jumping with joy at a Chinese goods booth because they had my favorite Mine Shine Milk Tea in bulk! They’re the blue bottles to the left.
Proof that Filipinos love rice is this booth. They sold the most delicious Jasponica rice which was like a cross between Jasmine and Japanese Koshihikari. It was so fragrant, with a nice texture that was slightly sticky, yet wasn’t mushy. Aside from white, it was also available as brown rice. It was interesting to note that this booth was infront of the Guyong booth which was sampling their canned goods. People would get a small cup of Jasponica rice then get some of the fried luncheon meat from Guyong. Now that’s mutualistic positioning!
And what’s a food expo without food tasting? Here’s the Eng Bee Tin booth with the looping jingle which will stick to brain like sticky buchi (Chinese sesame balls).
There was also an assortment of contests: a wedding cake designing contest, an artistic bread competition, and a fruit carving contest.
Was I satisfied? Yes. I loved the competitions, we spent some time gawking at the artistic cakes, bread and fruit. And I enjoyed poking through the booths, trying to uncover new food gems. Plus, I did get my token “Kao with a giant Mascot Shot (which I shall not be posting here. HA!)”
Was I deliriously happy? Not quite. Judging by our combined haul, we didnâ€™t spend as much as we usually do at the WOFEX. Most of our haul was made up of stuff you can get at retail outlets, albeit at higher prices. Pretty drab compared to our haul from other fairs when we’d come home with new products and old expo-only favorites. However, I think it’s probably unfair to compare MAFBEX with WOFEX since the later has been around for years already and is probably THE food expo of the year.
But, will I be going to the next MAFBEX? Of course, and gladly! Wild horses won’t keep me away.