Philippine Food Festival at the Grace Hotel

In cooperation with the Philippine Department of Tourism and Philippine Airlines, Grace Hotel Sydney held the recently concluded Philippine Food Festival.  

Sydney food lovers were delighted to see a tantalizing buffet featuring three courses of well-loved Filipino dishes, including a carving station, live cooking demonstrations and delectable desserts.

For three weeks, guests at the Grace Hotel indulged in a sumptuous spread of dishes skillfully prepared by Chefs Dimatera, Pring and Zabala from Via Mare (Philippines).

My husband and I learned about this event last year and luckily found the time to try and enjoy authentic Filipino cuisine this year.

On a Thursday night we were privileged to meet and chat with the Chefs from Via Mare.  It was wonderful to learn about their cooking experience here.  According to them, most of their time was spent inside the kitchen as they were the only ones who really cooked all the dishes served during the festival.

I was mighty proud to see how hard working they were  when it came to serving sumptuous foods for the festival.  I was also amazed of how down-to-earth they were after just a few minutes chatting with me and my Husband.

I wasn’t too excited to go to Grace Hotel because I cooked  Filipino dishes almost everyday. However, I looked forward to be surrounded by dishes I didn’t prepare for a change.

We were not disappointed as they served San Miguel Beer and fresh coconut Juice straight from the coconut shell.

Drinks are extra charge from the dinner fare of AUD$48.00. A glass of San Miguel Beer costs us AUD$8.50 (definitely not cheap) and the fresh coconut juice, AUD$6.50.

We both enjoyed our drinks immensely because San Miguel beer is not easily available in Filipino restaurants nowadays and the coconut juice was very sweet and refreshing.

They served pan de sal, Sinigang na Hipon and Ensaladang Mangga with Itlog na Maalat (Green Mango Salad with Salted Egg).  It was a first  for me to see Green Mangoes served into perfect juliennes and  the dish looked enticing.  The fusion of the sour green mangoes with the salty egg was amazing.  Other salads I liked were the Ensaladang Ubod at Tahong, Adobong Kabute, Steamed Kangkong, Okra & Sitaw with Vinaigrette.

For the mains, I loved their crispy and juicy Lechong Kawali, with the usual sauce for Lechon or Bagoong (Shrimp Paste) or  do-it-yourself Binagoongan.  Other mains were Adobo, Chiken Inasal, Morcon, Bam-I Guisado and  Tiyan ng Bangus Asado.

To accompany the mains, they prepared Adobo Rice. Mouthwatering treats and desserts were Leche Flan, Sapin-Sapin, Maja Blanca and an assortment of fruits.  What I loved most was the Halo-Halo. All the ingredients were available at the counter  and a “do-it-yourself.”

This  was over-all a good foodie experience.  I felt proud seeing non-Filipinos getting to know our food and enjoying it too.  It was great  to support a Filipino event such as this and wished Grace Hotel will sponsor a much bigger Philippine Food Festival next year.

Ibyang Sanchez is a food and lifestyle blogger.  She writes about her food finds and kitchen adventures at “A Wife’s Charmed Life”

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