Dubai, United Arab Emirates – The Filipino community celebrates Eid Al-Adha celebrations with a food festival at 12 restaurants, mostly in Dubai, showcasing traditional Filipino cuisine that locals as well as other expats, living in the setup multicultural of this international city, have grown to love.
Eid Al-Adha, which in Arabic means âFeast of the Sacrificeâ, is the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, in obedience to God’s command. Instead, God stopped him and provided a lamb for the sacrifice. This has also been mentioned in the Bible.
Eid Al-Adha is a three-day event, which began on Tuesday, July 20. It will last a whole week since Friday and Saturday are non-working days.
Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha with a special dish made from lamb, but Filipinos give it a twist. At the food festival, there will be delicious Filipino dishes like Kare-Kare, stewed oxtail or oxtail, with a rich and thick peanut sauce; and Bulalo, a broth made by boiling huge beef shanks with vegetables, corn on the cob, green onions, onions, garlic and ginger.
Interestingly, historians say that Kare Kare was introduced to the Philippines by Arab traders around the 13th century.
The Philippines is a predominantly Christian country with a large Muslim population mainly in the south, which is why the Philippine community in the UAE is made up of both Muslims and Christians.
“PINASarap in the United Arab Emirates”
The food festival is nicknamed “PINASarap in the United Arab Emirates”.
“PINASarap” is a portmanteau of the Filipino words “Pilipinas”, the vernacular equivalent of Philippines; and “sarap”, which means tasty in English.
“During the ‘PINASArap in the United Arab Emirates’ campaign, the 12 Filipino-owned restaurants will open their doors to all overseas Filipinos, local Arabs and other nationalities to visit and find out about our offerings,” said Gina Valbuena, president of the League of Food and Beverage Entrepreneurs (LFBE), which spearheads the event.
âThe ongoing food festival also gives expats the chance to explore and enjoy Filipino cuisine and delicacies. We have seen a growing presence of expats dining at Filipino restaurants, endorsing our local dishes like Kare-Kare, Tapsilog and Bulalo, among others, âValbuena, which also has one of the participating restaurants, Kubyertos Cuisine, added.
Tapsilog is a “combination meal (combo)” of fried beef, fried rice, and fried eggs – a fast food meal popular among Filipinos.
Also to be discovered in another participating restaurant – Face CafÃ© – the Bibingka, a sticky rice cake cooked in a traditional clay pot covered with banana leaves with heat below and above.
And as the bubble milk tea associated with Shawarma is all the rage these days, the food festival also boasts of a few innovative presentations by a participating restaurant, Joy Bubble.
âApart from Filipino cuisine, some of the outlets pride themselves on presenting food and drink offerings with an international, Chinese, Japanese and Asian orientation. This gives our Filipino entrepreneurs exposure to a broader customer base, âsaid Valbuena.
Among them is Vangie Asiyah Monjardin, owner of Desert Wok, yet another participating restaurant, who said their offerings are all focused on âChinese cuisine with a twistâ.
âThis is how we created our fusion of Indo-Chinese cuisine that fits the multicultural context of Dubai,â said Monjardin.
“The combination of spices and Asian ingredients suits the palates of our international clientele as well as that of our fellow Filipinos, whose love for food makes them the best clients for a dining experience,” a- she added.
There’s also the ‘seafood fight’ at Off the Hook, where patrons dine with their bare hands in plastic gloves, tapping into a sumptuous mix of fresh seafood – a growing Filipino dining concept. popular among local Arabs and expats alike as the restaurant step shows.
âWe believe eating should be a fun experience where people come together and share happy thoughts, bringing with them stories to share about their dining experience,â said Rolly Brucales, who operates the restaurant chain.
In the meantime, Valbuena said that diners at the gastronomic feasts will not only have the opportunity to indulge in the unique cuisine of the Filipinos, but also the opportunity to win prizes such as round-trip air tickets for them. Philippines, packages from project partners as well as vouchers for LFBE restaurants and businesses.
“The 12 official members will issue these ‘dining passports’ to interested customers – Filipinos and other foreign nationals – who can then qualify for the draw by having their ‘passports’ stamped by all participating restaurants,” Valbuena explained.
Valbuena said completed passports can be submitted to any of the LFBE members. The draw will take place on September 3, 2021, she said.
In the meantime, apart from Kubyertos Cuisine, Face CafÃ© and Joy Bubble, the other participating restaurants are: Agemono Grill Restaurant LLC; Cafe around the corner of the draft; Seafood restaurant off the hook; Ounce; Paluto Restaurant; Panadero pastry shop; Japanese restaurant Shokuji Sushi; The Wok of the Desert and the Zutto Suki.
The LFBE is a sub-committee of the Philippine Business Council – Dubai & Northern Emirates (PBC-DNE) and is under the auspices of the Consulate General of the Philippines (PCG) in Dubai and in collaboration with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Dubai .
The PBC-DNE is the only Philippine organization accredited by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is part of the ASEAN Business Council Alliance (ABCA).
The LFBE was launched on April 18, 2021 in Dubai.
– LA, GMA News