How long has it been since I went to a food show? I only get to read about events like these in newspapers and the Internet, but all I find are reviews and photos. Most of them are already over by then, and the guests are big names from the upper crust of society, which is kinda intimidating.
So when I visited the 4th Manila Food and Beverage Exposition (MAFBEX 2010) a few days ago, I knew this would be a good chance for a simple food lover like me to visit such a major event. I mean, who’d not be delighted by the sights and scents of food and cold drinks, and desserts from all parts of the world, assembled in one event? Anyone should know a show like this is a foodie’s wonderland.
I learned about MAFBEX 2010 only from the Internet about a week earlier, and I was instantly enticed to go there. Food shows such as this are kinda rare, some of them are not really well advertised (unless you look in the right places, but I digress), but are really interesting for anyone who wants to know the good stuff they ought to have their stomachs stuffed with.
MAFBEX featured exhibitors from the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, the US, and other countries. The exhibitors had all sorts of stuff like food and drinks, household items, T-shirts, toys, cookware and kitchenware, books, even cosmetics and factory equipment.
Also as interesting are the exhibits by student chefs and HRM interns, which range from cake decorations to table setting and food preparations. Budding entrepreneurs were also welcome, as suppliers and franchise holders entertain and and entice those who’d like to take a shot at the food industry. Seminars for those who want to learn about the food industry were also available.
Just near the lobby, various caterers have set up a gallery of table arrangements at the WTC lobby. (If I ever get married, I’ll pick one of those caterers for my reception; they’re prettty good at setting the mood. But that’s another story) A few stalls nearby had liquor on exhibit, as well as what looked like a cooking show-esque stage with seats for spectators. Wok With Yan, much?
The first to greet me in the exhibit hall was a wide collection of cookware and food processing equipment. Hey, if you wanted to start a business or even has a state of the art kitchen where you can whip out your food fantasies, you might as well have good tools for them, right?
True enough, the exhibitors have some of the most delicious-looking stuff I’ve ever encountered on sale (and for show), such as the brewed coffee, milk and juices, snacks, cooking ingredients, even stuff that you won’t easy get from your regular supermarket, such as…
One of the stuff I came across in the food show was the Taiwanese shabu-shabu, squid balls, beef balls, and fish cake on a stick boiled and served with hot sauce. It helps that the stuff is served hot off the pot, and the scent of the boiling broth alone is appetizing enough to want the whole package.
Then there were other free samples being given away, such the mashed potato with cream of mushroom soup, noodles, and the takoyaki (classic favorite). I think I saw some roasted duck or chicken and lots of different kinds of drinks on sale in most of the booths, along with the usual franchise contract endorser hanging around them while looking for a client.
Special mention goes to that stall that sold super-spicy Bicol Express and Laing. Mmmm~. If only I had rice or brought some of those home, it would be a blast.
MAFBEX mentioned something about El Buono Pizza, which allegedly serves the world’s largest pizza (36 inches to be exact) participating in the event. Their booth, however, was located far off to the side of the exhibit hall. I was not disappointed by what they had in store. Saying their pizza is large is an understatement.
To be fair, when El Buono called their pizza “Asia’s finest and largest,” they weren’t kidding. The dang slice is so heavy and filling, and it helps that they warm the pizza slice before serving it to you, making the resulting scent the start of a delightful experience with pizza.
In any case, the pizza was so damn good, I was shamelessly walking around the hall while eating the pizza, not minding everyone who’s OMIGOSH CESAR MONTANO IS TOURING WITH HIS FAMILY AT MAFBEX? @_@
Now what’s a food show without desserts? Heck, there were lots of dessert shops at MAFBEX, which sell cakes and pastries, ice cream and shaved ice, candies and sweets… My favorite there so far would be the pistachio gelato. Someone I know is salivating already. (snicker)
There were lots of imported and local liquor on sale too, and some of the stalls even gave away samples. Yum, yum. Most of the alcohol sold are discounted, so wine lovers would have a good time stocking up. I regret not buying a bottle of red wine; I hear drinking some of those is good for the heart.
Speaking of booze, I came across this flairtender showing off his moves (not sure if he’s from De La Salle – College of St. Benilde, since their booth was just nearby). Haven’t seen one of these guys in a while.
Of course there were other non-food stuff at MAFBEX, such as the ovens, stoves, and coffee makers. Of course their target market would be restaurants, food shops, cooking schools and bakeries who’d need highly advanced cooking equipment for their needs. No takoyaki grill?
There were a lot of things I saw around MAFBEX that I definitely could not squeeze into one post, such as the other food I discovered along the way, or the travel agencies advertising resorts and tourist destinations offering me tickets for raffles for free tours and accommodations (seriously, are they even real promos or something?), and even the occasional beauty treatment package.
There was one booth in the expo that I was not able to avoid: this booth which was offering health supplements and a free blood pressure reading featuring a digital sphygmomanometer.
“Is it all right for me to have my blood pressure read after eating?” I asked.
The nurse in the booth said yes, but the sphygmomanometer thought otherwise, because machine gave out error messages thrice as it squeezed my left arm until it numbed. Eventually, the dang thing read my blood pressure…
“170 over 140? Man, that’s high!” the nurse said.
Great, I just had to be reminded that I have a heart ailment and I can’t eat the way I do before. Jeez, thank you for validating my chance for an instant death.
Kero-chan, stop playing on that machine; I don’t want to risk you getting shipped back to Japan.