Grand Philippine Fiesta 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

For the first time ever, I went along to the Grand Fiesta which was held this year at Rosehill Racecourse.

The first thing you notice coming into the event is...the smell of Filipino barbeque. Almost every food stall offered BBQ and a smoky haze permeated Rosehill form about 9am to well after 6pm. I went around the stalls twice to scope out the BBQ and fishballs on sticks, and I wasn't disappointed.

I have to say, though, that my Dad makes better fishball sauce. His home-made sauce has a slight kick of chilli, whereas most Filipino fishball sauces are invariably too sweet for my liking.

I was manning the Australian Filipina Magazine booth, so I didn't get much time to take food photos, but I did manage to snag me some BBQ and honest to goodness bibingka cooked in traditional charcoal ovens.

Charcoal ovens (check out the trashy romance novels nearby)

The stall was manned by these cute ladies, whose uniform reminded me of the Pink Ladies in Grease.Traditional bibingka is pretty rare in these parts and the line to get one was HUGE. When we arrived in the morning, I bypassed the stall because there were about 10 people in line. By lunchtime, the line was so long, I was told there would be at least a half hour wait.

Luckily, wandergurl volunteered to line up for me. She was there for about an hour and a half. Talk about dedication.

A family friend was also lined up at one stage, until he heard a woman order 28 bibingkas, whereupon he threw in the towel and headed off to find some BBQ instead.

The verdict? Meh. It was so-so. But since I hadn't had real bibingka since forever, I scoffed it down like a drowning woman. At $8 each, I reckon it was a bargain for labour alone. The charcoally flavour is something you just can't replicate using bibingka mix and a normal oven. I was disappointed to find that they didn't use salted egg as a garnish. Even though I normally pick these out, I like the lingering taste and contrast they contribute to the bibingka.

Sadly, I couldn't find any fresh kutsinta. That's definitely one Filipino dessert I have to learn to make from scratch.

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