MANILA–Foodies don’t have to travel to every Southeast Asia country to taste their authentic cuisines — they can find some of their most delectable dishes in a 1,500-square meter lot in Quezon City.
The first ASEAN Food Festival kicked off Thursday night at the newly-opened Ayala Malls Vertis North, welcoming over 1,000 people who craved for curry, pad thai or even chicken inasal with alugbati jam.
For only Php 50, guests can enter Vertis North’s huge tent at 5 p.m, get a free drink and choose from 25 stalls serving dishes, snacks and products from Southeast Asian countries, some cooked by top chefs in the Philippines including Gene Gonzales, Myke Tatung Sarthou, Rob Pengson.
The four-day festival, which runs until May 14, is a joint effort of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Ayala Malls to hold a culinary festival in celebration of ASEAN’s 50th founding anniversary.
“Because it’s the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, we thought it would be a good venue for us to feature also the Flavors of ASEAN that you can find in the Philippines,” DOT Market Development Group Director Verna Buensuceso told reporters in an interview.
Following the successful staging of Madrid Fusion Manila last month which featured Filipino and Spanish cuisines, Buensuceso said that it was timely to hold another food festival, this time showcasing the best of Southeast Asia.
She said that a number of chefs from the Philippines have done their own take on ASEAN flavors while suppliers from Philippine regions also sell export-quality items to visitors.
Guests can also expect the country’s best artists and bands—including Reese Lansangan, Fraco, SUD—performing while they chow down on their ASEAN dish of choice.
Ayala Land Commercial Business Group Marketing Manager Pivi Ann Diaz said that, in an interview, said that she was surprised by the turnout of the ASEAN Food Festival since it is the first event held in the newly-opened Vertis North.
“We’re actually very surprised because it’s the first event we had in this area,” Diaz said, noting that Ayala was trying to replicate the success of one of its malls, Trinoma, to its newest development.
Diaz said that there would be more to expect in the coming days including celebrity guests and other activities especially on Mother’s Day which falls on a Sunday.
“What we want really is for customers to enjoy the food. We have invited celebrities, personalities to dine with us,” se added.
She also said Ayala was open to the possibility of holding a similar event again next year.
The ASEAN Food Festival runs from May 11 to 14, 5 pm to 2 am or later at the Ayala Malls Vertis North, which is right beside Trinoma.