It’s March that means not only “March Madness”, but also the Qatar International Food Festival. I headed down there on the opening day to scope out the tastiest stalls and have my hit list for where you should be spending your hard earned cash.
A quick couple of thoughts before I head into the “meat and potatoes” of this post.
- Although this is the biggest year in terms of stalls, I found the variety a little lacking. and uninspired. Maybe this will change as the week progresses, as the energy builds and more offerings pop up, but I felt it needed a little more oomph.
- I loved the “Farm to Table” section with the smaller vendors from Torba Famers Market and this helped give the set up a bit more depth than last year.
- More vendors have card machines which is a nice change.
- The celebrity chef offering this year is stellar with Wolfgang Puck, Chef Morimoto and Anna Olson.
- Again – few places to sit and enjoy. The serpentine nature of the set up also does not lend well to big picnic style dinners.
- The “coffee corner” is stacked with some local startups us not only Instagrammable but stuffed with little gems. Do explore this area and brave the crowds.
But you want to know about the food right? These are my top picks:
The hotel is featuring its excellent dining outlets at the festival. Yesterday I sampled the steaming hot shrimp wantons from Elements, but in coming days they will also feature Nobu and their new outlet, The Pier. They have an “in stand” DJ and a fun vibe this year, so worth a visit.
The fun ladies at this stall are serving up chicken pho, fresh rolls and stuffed baguettes. Affiliated with the Vietnam Embassy in Doha, the food is authentic, fresh and served with love. I could have eaten the entire menu…but you know, we just met.
Try the chicken rolls – they may not be the most instagrammable dish on ground, but certainly one of the tastiest. stuffed full of minced chicken and veggies, with three fat rolls in a serve, it’s the perfect way to kick off your food journey.
Well knock me down with a spring roll, the food at this stall was a stunner. Not usually on my dining roster, this hotel chain has been saving the best until the festival. Order the bao buns and you get a trio of the soft rolls stuffed with shredded beef swimming in a spicy sweet sauce. Bought on a whim and for me, one of the best of ground.
A cult favorite, this sushi powerhouse is showing everyone how its done. You can’t go past their maki rolls, but for me the star of the show is their spicy shrimp. The creamy sauce has the right kick and the prawns are perfectly cooked.
The bolter of last year’s festival, this year their pear and pineapple burger promises to be the talk of the foodie brigade.
Sadly this wasn’t ready when I shuffled through, but the menu and sharing table concept looks promising. And who can argue with local sourced lamb and other ingredients. Worth a revisit for me just to try this.
People know I love this place, and their festival stall does not disappoint. Serving Malaysian classics, I headed home with a tasty Nasi Lemak. They are tucked away in a corner but worth seeking out.
So there is is my quick and dirty look at the most interesting and best bets for the food festival. Of course, it’s all subjective. And I think the festival will gather steam over the next few days, so I will return with more!
In the meantime, happy eating!