Hey, guys! Here's anentry on my gastronomic experience last weekend, which I almost missed! Eat The World Dubai -- "A street food festival like no other".
Our company offered discounted tickets for employees, but I missed it; I completely forgot. Surprise surprise! And on the last day (when I remembered and decided to go), it rained. Just a little background to help you understand:
Eat the World DXB is an outdoor foodie event with food trucks and food stands/stalls from cuisines around the world, as the event name implies, plus other fun activities. The people behind it also have the same event happening annually in Singapore, UK and US.
Also, in more than two (2) years that I've been living here in Dubai, it only rained once or twice a year; but lately it's been raining on and off for a month. So naturally I got a bit discouraged to go, but I'm glad I took a hoodie and went anyway. Sorry about the quality of the photos, it was a very gloomy, wet day.
So, yeah, the three-day annual event, which happened this year on 23-25 February at the Burj Park, Downtown Dubai got rained on, but I was happily surprised by the number of people who, like me, still went anyway. I took that as a sign that food was so good that people who weren't used to wet weather were actually going; so I, from a tropical country who's used to monsoon rains, definitely had no complaints.
I love how it was a family-oriented event where kids were blowing bubbles and running around, families and friends got together and spent a nice weekend where there were concerts from various artists, henna tattooing at Bedouin tents, and even live cooking demos for those who love to get busy in the kitchen. It was as bit pricey for a 50AED entrance fee, but because it was a yearly event all about food plus an opportunity to bond with friends -- it was time and money well spent in my book.
Aside from spending time with my friends and seeing our my old team from the Vida Food Truck, there are two (2) highlights for me:
1. I got to see HRH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum the Crown Prince of Dubai. Although I follow (stalk!) him on Instagram, I didn't know he was going to be there. I really loved the fact that when most of us were running to the tents when it began to rain again, he just walked leisurely with his entourage and sat down, waited patiently for their food, and served the children first before he ate. It doesn't hurt that he seems genuinely kind and very handsome to boot. On top of that, he is an accomplished equestrian, sky diver, poet (who's writing under the pen name Faz'za), and importantly, an admirable humanitarian. He is also the brilliant mind behind some of Dubai's innovative projects.
2. My friends and I also got to see a falcon up close. Falconry is an integral part of Emirati and Arab culture (thus the emblem and coat of arms of the UAE). In 2012, UNESCO even added falconry to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. On a personal note, I have fallen in love with local birds while living in my area where there are doves, common swallows, parakeets, crows, hoopoes, and mynas. That's why it was such a treat to see a magnificent falcon up close. The one-of-a-kind albeit quick experience reminds me of our majestic Philippine Eagle back home.
All in all, it was a good decision to go despite the dreary weather. It's really good to listen to your gut feel. You might just see a charming Prince and a majestic bird while your tummy's popping out from too much good food and laughter. For me, that counts as a happy ending; at least, of a great weekend.