Doha, Qatar – From March 29 to April 8, the most awaited Qatar International Food Festival had its 8th year of gastronomic celebration of worldwide cuisine. Hotel Park was the venue for QIFF2017, a good choice for showcasing the diverse food and beverage choices in Qatar.
Aside from traveling, nothing excites me more than the thought of food. So when I learned that QIFF2017 was coming to town, I was ecstatic.
It was also my first time to see the Hotel Park and I must say that it was a good venue for the event, being able to accommodate hundreds of food stalls, entertainment areas, and even Dinner in the Sky!
Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel 〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰 One of the landmarks along Doha's Corniche and West Bay is this pyramid-shaped luxury hotel. Its @hotelparkdoha is the venue for this year's @qiff.qa. A perfect venue for good food, I must say! 👌 Hope to do a staycation at @sheratongranddoha soon! . . . . . . . . #hereisqatar #qatarliving #visitmiddleeast #travelmiddleeast #thisisqatar
READ MORE: 10 FREE THINGS TO DO IN DOHA, QATAR
Qatar International Food Festival 2017
The festival is free entrance and was open from 2 PM to 11 PM/1 AM.
The food grounds was grouped into different zones: Main Zone, Healthy Zone, Hotel Zone, and Cultural Zone.
There were different food booths represented by countries like Qatar, Germany, Philippines, Ethiopia, Turkey, and Italy to name a few. Different hotels and resorts in the country also had their own booths, providing a taste of luxury to the festival-goers. A few small food stalls and food trucks were also present in the area.
There was also a main stage for the entertainment shows and free movie screenings, as well as a separate live cooking theater. For those looking for unique dining experiences, Dinner in the Sky was clearly the star of the festival.
QIFF2017 was not only restrained in the festival area but it was also featured through the participating restaurants and cafe through their special QIFF Menu.
Any excess food was distributed to people in need, all thanks to Wa’hab and Eid Charity. The new Qatar startup aims to lessen food wastage in the country.
QIFF2017: March 31
I had my first visit to the festival with A on its first Friday. He was right that going around 2 PM would be good since it wouldn’t be crowded. If not for the searing heat, it would really have been perfect. Hehe.
The smell of food being cooked, the aroma of coffee, and the sweet smell of chocolate confused my mind on where to go first. So instead, we looked first for a table to sit on, and took turns looking around the booths.
Sweating, I passed on the only stall selling fresh coconuts and got lured by its unique concept. Evergreen Organics had an enticing stall, decorated with natural materials like wood and leaves. The young coconut (25 QAR) was clearly their bestseller, but I opted to try their Vegan Trio (35 QAR) instead.
I chose Raw Tacos, Beetroot Ravioli, and Zaatar Flatbread. The beetroot was the winner for me, with its sweet taste. The other two I enjoyed as well for their unique and fresh taste and texture, but suffice to say that I still won’t be turning vegan soon.
My second and last dish for that day from QIFF2017 was no other than ice cream. Summer was clearly underway and my tastebuds were hankering for something cold and sweet.
The Pistachio ice cream from Forty Fruity was good but it left me wanting more.
QIFF2017: April 7
Visited QIFF again on its last Friday, this time without A. This time, I walked around the whole area first, paying attention to the booth decorations.
My first taste for the day was definitely “for the gram” as it looked better than it tasted. It was overwhelmingly sweet, although I really should have expected that, because I ordered a Nutella-Maltesers waffle cone with Vanilla ice cream. It was fun hanging around the Pick n Shake booth though because of the fried ice cream rolls.
After lots of water, I patiently waited for Ocean Basket to open, choosing to watch their prep until I was served my Lemon Salmon Roll and Fried Prawn California Roll. Freshly-made, all the flavors included were also perfect for summer.
The lemon zest surely added a good tang and a good complement to the salmon. I’m always a fan of fried prawn so it was an easy choice and I savored every bite.
To wash it all down, I tried Mulan Tea’s Cold Jasmine Tea with Mint.
Later in the afternoon, there was also a pumpkin carving contest which made me reminisce my hotelier days. I also enjoyed watching the kids dance to Zumba before calling it a night. Maybe next time I can wait for the fireworks which was scheduled every 8 PM.
My two days of QIFF2017 were certainly a small taste of the whole festival. But it’s definitely enough to make me anticipate excitedly the next one, and probably try a unique dining experience too!
Here’s a short video with the highlights of QIFF2017 from my two days visit:
Do you like attending food festivals too? Let me know your experiences in the comments!