Food, Oh Glorious Food! by Neria Nidea-Soliman

Aptly named, Fiesta Kultura 2018 was a festivity of culture indeed. Philippine Culture was once again at its best last 1st October 2018 at The Fairfield Showground in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Sydney Grand Philippine Fiesta Kultura.

The aromatic scent of barbeque in skewers in the air, our native bibingka, halo-halo, fresh buco and green mango with bagóong (shrimp paste) brought memories of home sweet home Philippines!

l was assigned the task of making a review of the various food stalls in this year’s Fiesta Kultura. It was an interesting experience to witness the uniqueness of Filipino cuisine. I saw the authentic bibingka and fresh buco at Adrian Food Stall. They had arroz caldo selling fast for only $7 before lunchtime. The criteria for my review were Food Handling Sanitation, Popularity, Palatability, Variety of dishes and Presentation i.e. usage of correct serving utensils, hot dishes served hot and cold dishes served cold.

The most popular was Panlasang Pinoy. They were very generous because they gave another serving after you have consumed food on your plate and there was no additional fee. Prices were very reasonable. Sisig, one of the most saleable dish cost only $7 compared to Aunty Lo’s Stall where they charged $12. Other stalls charged $10 with rice.

Aunty Lo’s food stall, aside from being expensive did not pass my sanitation standards. Food handlers acted as cashier holding paper notes and coins. I bought take away Sisig which was half full in the container at $12.00. I paid by giving a $50.00 note just to check how she would give me the change. She acted both cashier and food handler which is a NO-NO to food handling sanitation. SR SISIG was the most popular Sisig stall but they ran out of stuff in the late afternoon.

Another popular stall was The Best Philippine Street Foods which boast of a budget meal of [only] $10.00. Teresa’s Catering and Lutong Bahay was just as popular. Teresa’s combo meal of 2 choices with rice was $10.00 while all the rest were selling combo meal at $15.00. The people liked the gimmick of Teresa’s Siopao which gave vouchers of 50% discount on Halo-Halo Special.

I noted that the price of the most-loved Pinoy Barbecue was standardized at $5.00 unlike the previous years when the price went up to $7.00 per stick. As expected almost all the stalls sold this popular and most loved Pinoy street food in their menu. Rocky’s BarbeSkew was very popular, because of the sweet aroma from the marinated pork chunks grilled in live coal.

Few stalls sold lechon kawali and lechon horno. Sydney Cebu Lechon sold chopped lechon with rice for $15. They had the Mang Tomas liver sauce to the delight of the Lechon lovers. Sadly, there was no whole roast pig displayed.

In my first book entitled Bicol and Philippine Recipes, I wrote: “The undisputed star in the Bicol Fiesta is not the guest of honour but the Lechon or Roast Pig. Its crisp skin is pinched off by guests until the pig is all but denuded.”

Other Food stalls that supported Fiesta Kultura were Divine Dishes, Churros, Kalayenne Thai Cuisine, Kapamilya, Green Peppercorn, Filipiniana Food Mart, Burger Mate, Ice Cream and Pizza stall. All showcased clean and neat presentation of their items in the menu. What impressed me most were the 2 stalls called the Volunteer’s Corner. Thanks to Danny Garcia and Moises del Mundo for organizing these stalls for the volunteers working behind the scene. They invited me to try the tasty Lechon Paksiw and Pinakbet.

MABUHAY! Philippine Australia Sports and Culture (PASC) Inc. for showcasing our country’s rich cultural Food Legacy! Congratulations to the officers, President Marivic Flores, Vice President External Josie Musa and chair of Fiesta Kultura 2018. More power to the Board of Directors and Projects and Events Coordinators.

Updated: 2018-11-02 — 20:03:26