Demand for ‘Pinoy’ food and restaurants have “significantly increased” since the inception of ‘Kulinarya Qatar’, an initiative launched by the Philippine embassy in 2015 to promote Filipino culture and tourism through cuisine, an official has said.
Aside from events like the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), Filipino cuisine has made its way to hotel restaurants in Doha, which are now staging ‘boodle fights’ – a Filipino term used to describe the tradition of eating together in a large dining table, as well as buffets and “special days” for different types of Pinoy foods.
“Demand for Filipino cuisine has increased significantly through the years in Doha,” according to Dahlia Agbanlog, the founder and chairperson of Kulinarya Qatar, which organised the annual ‘Family Day’, held from August 22 to 24 at the Qatar Sports Club.
Kulinarya Qatar’s three-day event also featured an ‘Asian Food Festival’, which showcased not only Filipino food but also a gastronomic array of cuisine from other countries in Asia, Agbanlog told Gulf Times on Friday.

Students from MusicHouse render a song during the event. PICTURE: Peter Alagos.

Kulinarya Qatar founder and chairperson Dahlia Agbanlog. PICTURE courtesy of Kulinarya Qatar.

The event not only showcased food but was also highlighted by other fun-filled, family-oriented activities such as talent competitions, art and drawing contests, and musical performances by young students of ‘MusicHouse’.
Agbanlog noted that since Kulinarya Qatar’s inception in 2015, the organisation has been staging annual food festivals and has attracted thousands of visitors, both overseas Filipinos and other expatriate communities.
Kulinarya Qatar was initiated by the Philippine embassy during the term of then ambassador Wilfredo Santos with the objective to promote Filipino cooking traditions, tourism, and culture through food festivals, she said.
Initially, Agbanlog’s concept for Kulinarya Qatar was to gather all Qatar-based overseas Filipino entrepreneurs in a ‘Pinoy Souq’ where they could showcase all their products and services in a single location.
But while looking for a suitable location, the organisation decided to launch the initiative through restaurants since “Filipino food has a strong following” among many expatriate communities in Doha, Agbanlog continued.
“So, in July 2015, I gathered other Filipino restaurant owners, companies, and vendors to organise the first Kulinarya Qatar food festival in Doha to promote their products and services. The event was largely received by many visitors both Filipinos and other nationalities. The four-day event attracted more than 15,000 visitors,” she said.
Agbanlog said Kulinarya Qatar also helped encourage and promote the culture of business and entrepreneurship among Filipinos based in Qatar, adding that “Filipino food has a huge potential to attract an international market.”
“In fact, our food festivals had encouraged and inspired many other overseas Filipinos to establish food-related businesses and small restaurants in Doha, including the likes of larger franchises like Gerry’s Grill and Max’s Restaurant,” she added.
Related Story