Couple BJ and JD Sulit learned how to make a mean pad thai while backpacking through Thailand and they’re sharing culinary learnings from their Southeast Asian travels at the ongoing Food.ISH Food Festival inside the Cebu Business Park.
During weekends this November and daily on December, the Sulits’ Banana Pancake Trail (BPT) Cebu food stall opens to orders for such cuisine as chicken satay with peanut sauce of Melaka, Malaysia; banh mi sandwich of Saigon, Vietnam; chori burger of Boracay, Philippines; and even such exotic cuisine as deep-fried crickets and worms.
(Note: The organizers have informed us that they will be transferring to the park in front of UCC cafe and Belo Medical Group clinic inside the Ayala Center Cebu starting December 4. They will open during mall hours and until midnight.)
Items in the BPT menu are affordable and you can have a filling meal of Thailand’s stir-fried noodle dish for only P95 or a Vietnamese sandwich for P85. BJ said they loved to eat at the marketplaces of the countries they’ve been too and learned how to prepare the dishes from locals.
Beside BPT is the Lion’s Den food stall of best friends Mari Noelle Lim and Tessa Juanillo where you can choose from a combination of Filipino and foreign dishes with a new twist. Chorizo and chicken cordon bleu are served as meatballs and pesto pasta comes with sausage slices.
If you’re a fan of Indian food, The Spice resto in Banilad has joined the festival, selling the popular fare samosa for only P120 at four pieces per order.
Unique dining experience
An initiative of Chavial Productions, a company put up by three friends, the Food.ISH Food Festival aims to provide a different dining place for locals and tourists.
“The food here has its own uniqueness, it’s not the usual fare we encounter. Add to that the view and ambiance and we have a place where people can relax as well as enjoy the good food and great music,” said Vernon Villareal, one of the brains behind the culinary showcase.
Chavial has made use of the vacant Linear Park between the Cebu Holdings, Inc. (CHI) building and City Sports Club as venue for the event. It has set aside 56 of the 63 stalls for food displays and these are mostly filled up. The common dining places, placed in the center, are covered with clear plastic-roofed tents to allow diners an unobstructed view of the night sky.
Food tents in one strip serve authentic international cuisine such as Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Singaporean, Indian, and Italian. Tents on the other side serve lechon, barbecue and other top homegrown food brands.
Villareal said they were overwhelmed by the number of people that showed up when they opened on November 13, a Friday. “They tell us we have a nice set-up and they’re happy with what we’re doing here. It’s very heartwarming,” Villareal further said.
The festival is open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday of November. By December 1, the food stalls will start serving at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on weekends.
Cebuano comfort food
The festival also features the full range of Cebuano comfort and street food, from lechon to meat barbecues to chicharong bulaklak.
Kuzina Guadalupe carries Cebuano favorite lechon belly and even sells roasted turkey at its main branch in Banawa, Cebu City. Contact them at 0917-6317837 or 0923-5884424 for inquiries and orders.
Choobi Choobi, Apron Strings, Barbecue 14, and Yakski join the action with roasted and grilled meat and seafood dishes.
The Food.ISH Food Festival also has your desserts covered. There’s gelato in 25 flavors by Sheldon’s Dessert Factory, ice cream sandwiches by Frostbites, Belgian waffles, and Briquito Silvanas.
Year-long food festival
Villareal said another goal of the event is to help promising chefs, individuals with culinary expertise, and food establishments get their menu out to a bigger audience.
The company said in a press statement that they plan to make the Food.ISH a year-long festival with themed months. They said they want it to become “Cebu’s own version of the very successful weekend food bazaars in Manila, examples of which are the ones in Mercato and Salcedo Village”
“We hope to invite not only local and international food merchants of Cebu but in other cities as well, such as Davao, Manila, Cagayan, or perhaps the nearby islands such as Bohol, Iloilo and Dumaguete,” said Food.ISH marketing director Franco Alvarez in the statement.