It was a weekend of rice power!
What a better way to spend the first day of summer surrounded by an array of delicious dishes from all over the world with one common ingredient – rice! Last Saturday, I attended the Sydney World Rice Festival 2018 held at the Showring Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park, a 2 day event and my tastebuds are is still raving how delicious the offerings were.
Rice, yes please! With my Filipino background, the humble grain is a staple in my diet. I grew up eating rice 3 times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even for dessert, Filipinos love glutinous rice and ‘Biko’ with ‘Latik’ is the ultimate favourite around the archipelago. Very easy to prepare, glutinous rice (biko) cooked with sticky coconut syrup (latik) made from mixing coconut milk and brown sugar. Even for snack or merienda, no one beats the rice crackers and ‘ampao’, a sweet puffed rice ball.
The World Rice Festival is not just another food festival, it’s a celebration of diversity through rice culture. After all, rice is the staple food for more than half of the world’s population. Adding to the colours of this festival were cultural performances from different countries, live music, masterclass and cooking demonstrations.
Here are some of the hits at the festival.
Hoda Kobeissi (Halawa) – Masterchef 2018 contestant. Not only did she showcase some delicious Middle Eastern deserts, she also did a special cooking demonstration. Wait till you try her Halawat El Riz rice pudding served with Ashta (Arabic Cream) drizzled with rosewater sugar syrup, amazing! Instagram: @hodakobeissi
Washoku Lovers – presented some specialty food from Japan wafting with aromatic aromas. Hand baked rice crackers and pan fried Sukiyaki Rice Balls were a crowd pleaser. Instagram: @washokulovers
Ume – Their signature Okinawa Taco Rice is a Japanese take on a taco bowl. I tried their light vegetarian taco rice featuring Koshihikari rice, lettuce, salsa, cheese sour cream and crunchy bits, yum! Instagram: @umeburger
Satay Bros – I’m a big fan of their grilled chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce served on a bed of coconut rice, it is to die for! Instagram: @sataybrothersfoodtruck
Donut Papi – All the irresistible pick me up donuts from their popular varieties alongside a special donut for the festival made from mochiko sweet rice flour. Shhhh I had 4 of their donuts. Instagram: @donutpapi
Kapamilya Eatery – The famous Rockdale Filipino eatery offered some home-cooked pinoy food. It reminds me of the ‘Turo – turo’ style (point point, a way of letting the seller know what you want). My picks were the palabok, pancit, and kaldereta, all packed with familiar flavours!
Some program highlights included a Sake Masterclass by Sydney Sake Society, Japanese Taiko Drumming, Indonesian Rice Harvesting Dance, Thai Rice Planting Dance and Traditional Sri Lankan Dance.
Top chefs showed off their skills during the festival with inspiring cooking demonstrations from Hoda Kobeissi (MasterChef), Chef Tomoyuki (Hana-Ju-Rin), Takumi Kawano (Shiki Restaurant) Janet DeNeefe and the Thai Trade Society.
What a festival of rice, I can’t wait for next year’s Sydney event. Melbourne foodies it’s your turn, 7-9 December! World Rice Festival starts from 5 pm Friday and over the weekend with over 20 food vendors, plus entertainment for the whole family at Birrarung Mar. Win a trip to Bali, snap a pic at the Jetstar Australia (@jetstaraustralia) at the Helloworld Travel (@helloworldau) marquee, post it either in your Instagram feed or stories and make sure you’re following all three accounts including @worldricefest, easy! For details, check out World Rice Festival website.
E_deliciou_S attended as guests
Cover photo credit: First Chapter Agency