By Mudassir Raja
From new restaurants opening on every corner to hangouts dedicated to single ingredients and Instagrammable food obsessions, it seems that food has always been so important to Qatar. Qatar Street Food Festival is our proof, a not-to-be-missed culinary festival, recently held at Sheraton Hotel Park in Al Corniche Street. The evident hustle and bustle at the festival speaks volume of the interest of people living in Doha in such sort of activities and events. There were families and children present in a spacious rectangular area where over 50 stalls and kiosks of food have been set up. The 10-day-long food festival has pulled many food outlets setting up stalls for the visitors in the backdrop of skyscrapers of West Bay. The lights hanging over the area presents a picture of a food street in a busy neighbourhood. The festival was thronged by the families as young children ran around and played on the green patches and the grown-ups handpicked the edibles of their choice to enjoy the pleasant November evening.
The festival drew a picture of an international food street where people from across the globe were present with their families to relish the diversity of food available at one place.
The event, organised by different creative-minded people in partnership with The Cooking Academy, was formally inaugurated on Wednesday evening by Aisha al-Tamimi, Management Chef of the festival and known ambassador of Qatari cuisine.
Speaking on the occasion, Mohammad al-Emadi from The Cooking Academy, said, “I welcome you all to the street food festival. Cooking Academy will host different events during the festival. We will soon share calendar of our events. Our main chef is Aisha. She will present some live cooking events at the festival for the visitors. She has been the main face of the Qatari culinary. The event will feature four to five live cooking demonstrations.”
Sharing her views on the festival, Aisha said that she was happy to see different kinds of food outlets in large number at the festival. She said that it was also good to see families and children coming and having fun. She said that the festival provided a good opportunity for young Qatari entrepreneurs, who plan to enter the food and beverage industry. She thanked all the sponsors and participants. She said that the people who are interested in Qatari cuisine can contact Cooking Academy. She asked the visitors to enjoy the variety of food options available.
Talking to Community Mohammad A Malik said, “The organisers of the event are very creative people. They have been able to put together all the main sponsors including different restaurants, chains of food brands and fast food brands. The event is trying to bring something new to Qatar. Trend of food streets is not very common in Qatar. When winter comes, everyone wants to go out for food, so this festival will bring people to the idea of street food.”
“Today is the first day. We have publicised the event only through digital and social media. There is maximum movement with minimum marketing. I think it is successful. We hope to see the number of visitors increasing during the week ends. We also have a special playing area for kids. The children however can run around in the main food street with their parent keeping eyes on them.”
According to the organisers, the street food festival is first of its kind taking place in Doha. It is going to accommodate almost all kinds of cuisines in Qatar. The residents of Qatar are going to have a variety of food options at one place. The organisers have been planning for the festival for four months.
The festival also features stalls offering traditional Qatari food. A group of young people were selling burgers with Qatar majboos and biryani taste. It is a kind of fusion food. At another stall, a group of young Qatari women was selling special fried chicken named Chicktos with a variety of homemade sauces.
Issa al-Lamki is from Oman and works as an executive chef at a restaurant in Msheireb. He said, “I also want to be a part of the festival. I enjoy coming here as a visitor and will enjoy the food available here.”
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