To join the region in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Novotel Manila Araneta Center is currently running its highly successful Asian Street Food Festival. Launched on August 17 at the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant Food Exchange Manila, crowds have not let up enjoying the spread.
With the food fest, the need to travel this time of year to Asian foodie destinations can be put on hold, what with authentic offerings from nine Asian countries at the buffet, namely from Thailand, India, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, China, and of course the Philippines.
“Asian street food is highly popular these days and their cuisine is so diverse,” Novotel Manila’s Executive Chef Michael Schauss explained to The Manila Times on this visit. “One reason that Asian street food is popular is because of low expense and because their ingredients are easily available. More importantly, you have so many people in Asia with endless ideas when it comes to food, which makes the flavors so exciting.”
The Accor branded hotel invited a host of noted Asian chefs to design the food festival, and thereby guarantee each dish’s authenticity.
Thai Chef Aof Suwannalert is praised for his Pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodle with scrambled eggs, Napa and red cabbage, citrus, peanuts, Asian sprouts, green onions and cilantro); Kha Moo Palo (pata tim or the all-time favorite Thai favorite pork stew with eggs and mushrooms); Tong Muan Sod (Thai fried crepe); Tom Yum Goong (a popular Thai hot and sour soup with shrimp and prawns) among other dishes.
For Korean street food, Chef Michael Cheng whips popular delicacies like Soe-GalbiJin, a mouthwatering beef stew with mushrooms, radish, carrots and Gingko nut; Jjimdak, a popular Korean braised chicken, originating from the city of Andong, Korea; Braised Mackarel with Kimchi; and Japchae, the popular Korean festive dish made of stir-fried glass noodle with meat and vegetables.
Celebrity Chef Sau Del Rosario’s Singaporean, Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisine, on the other hand, serves up Penang Rojak, Vietnamese Fresh-Spring Rolls, Gado-Gado with Spicy Peanut Sauce, Laksa, Bakuteh, Beef Rendang Padang, Hainanese Chicken, Telur Goreng, Char KwayTeow, and Bami Goreng among a seemingly endless menu.
Indian Chef Rajan expertly spotlights his Lamb curry on Vegetable Biryani—a rich dish of lamb stewed until tender with a thick gravy and served on fragrant yellow rice.
The Japanese station, meanwhile, led by chef CJ Takajama offers freshly made takoyaki, pork katsudon and tofu steak with teriyaki sauce on the buffet.
Chef Alan Meng of China showcases his very own recipes of stir-fry chicken with cashew and chilies; and steamed fish with ginger soya sauce. A Chinese dimsum cart also makes its way around the tables to offer pork siomai, siopao, hakao, chicken feet, and more.
Filipino chefs Edwin Infante and Del Rosario finally bring out their best with little twists to the Philippines’ most-loved street food with sisig paella, beef kaldereta, pork kare-kare, fried fish balls and kikiam. For the sweet tooth, they serve palamig, polvoron, leche flan, and various takes on ube (cake and roll), buko pandan, meringue, sapin-sapin and halo-halo.
“We are exchanging culinary cultures here at Novotel’s Food Exchange Manila. The authentic menus are from chefs from different backgrounds but with all of them sharing the same passion for food. It is amazing to see that when a chef from one country whips up a dish, all the other chefs surround that person to learn. They’ve established a very good foundation in putting together this food festival,” Schauss told The Manila Times.
Asian Street Food Festival at Food Exchange Manila is available throughout the week until September 3.
“It is nice that Novotel offers this kind of festival. Some hotels do promotions like these but they increase the price. We did the opposite and made our rates more affordable than other hotels so that diners can come more often,” he added.
As a special treat for the Asean anniversary celebrations, diners partaking of the food festival are entitled to raffle tickets, which may win them a three-night stay in participating AccorHotels’ Asian properties such as Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay, Novotel Saigon Center, Novotel Bangkok Platinum Pratunam, Mercure Tokyo Ginza, Novotel Ambassador Seoul Gangnam and Novotel Manila Araneta Center.