Episode 89: A taste of the world’s best street food

Street food is a well-ingrained part of society. It’s all about casual dining enjoyed anytime with the best flavors at the most affordable prices. Being able to see, smell, and taste the best in street food is a unique experience, and what fitting way to do so than in one of the world’s best food destinations, the Philippines.

The World Street Food Congress Jamboree, which opened at Bonifacio Global City, offers everyone a chance to savor street food from around the world.

Twenty-five food stalls from the US and Asia (including the Philippines) are showcasing various snack dishes, rice meals, barbecues, and desserts, all for as low as P200. The venue is jam-packed as early as the first day, but with all the buzz and scents around, you’ll never get tired waiting in line. This is definitely one place where you can have local cuisine that’s no-frills, no-extenders, all-flavor, and worth every centavo.

By now many have recommended dozens of their favorites from the jamboree, but that’s not stopping me from sharing my own recommendations. They’re a bit pricy but worth every centavo.

Pasta Bicolandia, Bicolano Wellington, Level 1 Chili Ice Cream (Philippines)
Savor the legendary spiciness that makes Bicol Region famous in one plate. Start the fiery palate flamenco with the Bicolano Wellington, stuffed chunks of Bicol Express. Kick up the tempo with the Pasta Bicolandia, creamy pasta with meaty chunks and chili bits. The chili ice cream puts a sweet finish into this set.

Penang Laksa by Wan Dao Tou Penang Assam Laksa (Malaysia)
Tamarind, hae ko (sweet prawn paste), chili, ginger, and mint leaves bring a salvo of flavors into this Malaysian noodle dish. The fish flakes and the savory broth complete the dish, giving diners at taste of how authentic laksa is like. (Lee Ee Quen, the owner of Wan Dao Tou, was crowned the Champion in the Assam Laksa category in the Battle of Penang Hawkers 2011.)
Braised Zhu Hou Chicken by Xu Jing Ye (China)
Chef Xu Jing Ye brings to the Philippines this representative dish from Guangdong, China. The vendors say it’s similar to Hainanese chicken, but there’s a stronger salty-fatty-savory kick in this chicken dish. This is topped with Foshan specialty sauce, made from a combination of soy bean, salt, sugar, sesame seed and light soy sauce, to add balance.
Ayam Taliwang by Ayam Taliwang Bersuda (Indonesia)
Ayam Taliwang is a grilled chicken dish from Lombok, Indonesia. The chicken is marinated with bird’s eye chili, and served with a pelecing (water spinach) salad and sticks of satay. The smoky, roasty aroma of this chicken is enough to awaken an appetite. Be warned, though: the Ayam Taliwang is dangerously spicy!
Smoked Chili Grilled Tofu Bao by The Cinnamon Snail (USA)
Healthy flavors have a special place in the street food jamboree with this vegetarian bun stuffed with sautéed kimchi pickled basil and onion, and sambal alek cream.  Vegetarians will enjoy this mildly strong yet calming snack.

There’s much to look forward to at the street food jamboree this year. One can marvel at how rich each country’s food culture is, given the local ingredients they make do with, and the kinds of dishes they come up with at homes, on the streets, or any place where it’s comfortable to eat. It plainly shows that everyone at every place around the world has a unique way of showing how much they love their food.


The World Street Food Congress Jamboree runs until April 24, at Federacion Drive corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, from 4pm to 11pm until Friday, 12pm to 11pm on Saturday, and 12pm to 9pm on Sunday.

For more information, visit their website at: http://wsfcongress.com/