photo: A dish prepared in a food festival in Asia 

As the global gastro revolution continues, consumers are exposed to more dining options1. Food festivals are a great platform for fine-dining restaurants and hawkers to display their culinary skills. Through this avenue, they also get to build a loyal customer base amidst the growing competition2. Food festivals allow visitors to sample small portions of a popular dish at a fraction of the usual price3. We take a look at some of the bigger food festivals in Asia.

Taste of Hong Kong aims to bring the ‘World’s Greatest Restaurant Festival’ to Hong Kong4. Held at Central Harbor Front, this four-day gastronomic event features a mix of culinary workshops, chef panels, signature dishes from Hong Kong’s most famous restaurants, and artisanal food products for sale. Tickets start from approximately US$14 for weekday passes and approximately US$18 for weekend passes5. Taste of Hong Kong also offers a premium menu of more than 50 signature dishes, including six exclusive creations available only at the festival6. An example is Tin Lung Heen’s steamed dumpling with egg custard. Other than serving their iconic dish, the double-boiled chicken soup with fish maw in baby coconut, the two-star Michelin Chinese restaurant also has three other dishes prepared for Taste of Hong Kong7. Other than noshing at the delicacies, pass holders will also be able to purchase local food products and artisanal goods at the Gourmet Market, which houses over 60 artisan produces8.

Similar to Taste of Hong Kong, the Epicurean Market in Singapore is a weekend event. It features award-winning celebrity restaurants such as Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay and CUT by Wolfgang Puck9. A new addition to the list of restaurants in 2017 is Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. Making its festival debut before its Singapore outpost next year, Yardbird offers a variety of dishes such as mini Mama’s chicken biscuits and devilled eggs. Their signature dish- the famed Lewellyn’s fried chicken is served with spiced watermelon and savory waffles drenched in smoky Bourbon maple syrup, accompanied with cheddar cheese and chives. The fried chicken dish is made by the chef-owner John Kunkel’s grandmother’s recipe, where the chicken is brined for 27 hours and placed in spiced flour before frying in a pressure fryer10,11.

There are also food festivals for hawker food. Representing the retrospective element of the Singapore Food Festival, the 50 Cents Fest was held at Chinatown Food Street for the second consecutive year12. The two-day event features a myriad of traditional food and games, which mostly costs 50 cents (approximately US$0.40). More than 40 dishes were featured at the festival, including cultural dishes such as red glutinous wine chicken. Another traditional dish is paper-wrapped chicken. Invented and made famous by a chicken farm in 1953, this dish uses the technique of paper wrapping to prevent the aroma and flavorful chicken essence from escaping13.


1 npd. (2017). NPD’s 2017 Outlook – Increasing Consumers’ Appetite For Restaurants. [online] Available at: https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/latest-reports/2016/npds-2017-outlook-increasing-consumers-appetite-for-restaurants/

2 The Straits Times. (2017). Showcase on hawkers here puts succession in spotlight. [online] Available at: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/showcase-on-hawkers-here-puts-succession-in-spotlight?login=true

3 Dine Out. (2017). Here’s why Food Festivals Are Essential For Restaurants. [online] Available at: https://www.dineout.co.in/blog/2017/04/17/3121/

4 Taste of Hong Kong. (2017). Taste of Hong Kong presented by Standard Chartered returns in 2018. [online] Available at: https://hongkong.tastefestivals.com/#PMA1gf8F5eZSkx8g.97

5 Lifestyle Asia. (2016). Tickets are now on sale for the biggest food festival of the year. [online] Available at: http://www.lifestyleasia.com/491270/tickets-are-now-on-sale-for-the-biggest-food-festival-of-the-year/

6 South China Morning Post. (2017). Five fast facts about Taste of Hong Kong 2017, and some of the festival menu highlights. [online] Available at: http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/food-drink/article/2078683/five-fast-facts-about-taste-hong-kong-2017-and-some-festival

7 Taste of Hong Kong. (2017). Tin Lung Heen. [online] Available at: https://hongkong.tastefestivals.com/restaurant/tin-lung-heen/#FToX0kkylMsBp7wc.97

8 Taste of Hong Kong. (2017). The Gourmet Market. [online] Available at: https://hongkong.tastefestivals.com/things/gourmet-market/#kzELTIt3wsPfVcCS.97

9 Marina Bay Sands Singapore. (2017). Who’s at Epicurean Market. [online] Available at: http://www.marinabaysands.com/epicurean-market/participating-vendors.html#uzxrKCLPCCSTemyp.97

10 Today. (2017). A quick guide to this year’s Marina Bay Sands Epicurean Market. [online] Available at: http://www.todayonline.com/lifestyle/food/quick-guide-years-marina-bay-sands-epicurean-market

11 hungrygowhere. (2016). The Epicurean Market 2016 Survival Guide. [online] Available at: http://www.hungrygowhere.com/dining-guide/what-to-eat/the-epicurean-market-2016-survival-guide-*aid-cf8c3101/

12 Chinatown Food Street. (2017). The 50 Cents Fest Returns! [online] Available at: http://chinatownfoodstreet.sg/the-50-cents-fest

13 Chinatown Food Street. (2017). The 50 Cents Fest – Featured Food Items. [online] Available at: http://chinatownfoodstreet.sg/wp-content/themes/heroic/pdf/List-of-food-items-2017.pdf?misc=20170727_044633