qatar international food festival 2018

Qatar International Food Festival 2018 (QIFF2018) Highlights

This year’s Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF2018) is definitely bigger and better than last year! The annual festival, which has been running for 9 years now, still runs for 11 days this year but this time, they have even more in store for visitors. Here are the highlights for this year:




See Also: What I tried and enjoyed at QIFF 2017

Celebrity Chefs Galore and Cooking Theatre Food Highlights

This year, the event is even more star-studded with the appearances of Wolfgang Puck, Masaharu Morimoto, Christine Ha, and Anna Olson to start with. They did live cooking sessions for the crowd as well as private cooking classes for the paying customers.

The Cooking Theatre runs every day during the festival and highlights one food item per day. A lot of foodies enjoyed seeing featured chefs prepare, cook, and plate their chosen dishes. Visitors watching also got the chance to taste these dishes after the demo.

wolfgang puck qiff cooking theatre demo

Chef Wolfgang Puck demonstrating how to cook Seafood Risotto and Chinois Lamb Chops

I got to see Wolfgang Puck and Masaharu Morimoto do their cooking demo during the first 2 days of the festival. Morimoto was definitely entertaining and was amazing to watch. He cut up a whole 81.4 kg tuna on his tuna sashimi demo and ended up making more than just a simple tuna sashimi. He even asked few from the crowd to try making one of his sushi rolls on stage. He even broke into a song acapella before he thanked the crowd.

masaharu morimoto cooking theatre qiff 2018

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto brought tuna to turn into sashimi and sushi

QIFF COOKING THEATRE SCHEDULE

15 Mar – International Cuisine Day

16 Mar – Seafood Day

17 Mar – Chicken Day

18 Mar – Beef Day

19 Mar – Dough/Pasta Day

20 Mar – Veggie Day

21 Mar – Arabic Cuisine Day

22 Mar – Organic Cuisine Day

23 Mar – Dessert Day

24 Mar – Leguminous Day

25 Mar – Seasoning Day

Click here to see the more detailed Cooking Theatre Schedule.

qatari performance qiff 2018

Eat and Travel

As they say, one of the best ways to get to know a country is through its food. With this year’s QIFF, there are even more food stalls to choose from, offering cuisine from around the world. Aside from restaurants, cafes, hotels, and other food establishments, different embassies also put up their own stall showcasing the best their country has to offer. Some I passed are Ethiopia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Lebanon.

qiff food stalls 2018

This year, there are 177 stalls including food trucks! Talk about the paradox of choice! These can be enjoyed on the 80,000 sqm venue which was filled with festival-goers on its second day. One caveat, I still think the tables and chairs aren’t enough. Good thing there are plenty of grass to sit on.

Last year, the event started at 2 PM and was done during the last week of March through the first week of April. This year’s dates and opening hours are better weather-wise because the nights are still pleasant and not as hot as last year. QiIFF2018 opens from 4 PM to midnight (from Sat-Wed) and until 1 AM (Thu-Fri). Prices of food and drinks don’t exceed QAR40.

qatar international food festival

Coffee and Organic Zone + a Farmers Market

Like last year, there is a special zone for the health conscious and those who rely on a plant-based diet. Stalls include Evergreen Organics, Raw Me, Ideal Diet, Greenola, and a few more.

torba farmers market qiff 2018

The seasonal market, Torba Farmers Market is also a new showcase in the food festival. Aside from a small fruit and vegetable market, you can also order from their From Farm to Table stall as well as dine in their wooden cabana surrounded by hay bales. Home businesses selling in the said market also set up their own stalls in the area showcasing their local and homemade products.

farm to table qiff 2018

This year’s QIFF also saw the addition of a Coffee Zone showcasing different coffee shops, most of which are startups selling artisan coffee and other specialty beverages.

coffee zone qiff 2018

For the Kids

The festival not only caters to adults, but to children too. Aside from the special kids menu in the food stalls, there are plenty of activities to keep your kids occupied. There is a Mini Zoo (with entrance fee), play and activity areas, game booths, art stalls, water fountain, roving mascots, and kid-friendly shows and performances near the cooking theatre.

kids playground qiff 2018

game booths qiff 2018

Entertainment for everybody

Aside from the daily fireworks (8 PM) and the cooking demonstrations at the Cooking Theatre, there are plenty of entertainment to watch especially at the festival stage near the Coffee and Organic Zone. There are cultural shows as well as musical performances from different countries. Doha Film Institute also offers film screenings.

qiff 2018 fireworks sheraton doha qatar

qiff donut mascots

QIFF Menu

Participating restaurants offer a separate menu in their respective establishments, available during the festival duration. Prices depend on the restaurant, cafe, or hotel. Set menu can start at 49 QR or 99 QR.

Related: Where and What to Eat in Doha



Food and drinks we tried

*Note: this will be updated until the end of the festival so keep checking back for more of feedback on the food and drinks!

As of QIFF day 3, I have tried the following drinks:

  • Tamarindo from Viva Mexico – QAR 10 – Sweet and sour with a slight hint of bitterness from the tamarind. Perfect pair with the Nachos I bought.
  • Teh Tahrik from Holiday Villa – QAR 5 – Best drink and worth your money! Especially if you’re a fan of milk tea. This makes me nostalgic for my travels in Malaysia.
  • Hibiscus Tea from Holiday Villa – QAR 10 – Sweet and flowery. Something new and refreshing to try.
  • Blue Matcha from Engine – QAR 30 – Definitely instagrammable and unique but I don’t think the taste is worth the price. For me, it failed to taste like matcha and tasted more like a milk with a hint of powdered tea.
  • Horchata from Viva Mexico – QAR 10 – One of the popular drinks of Mexico and Latin America. It was my first time to try this drink.
  • Taho from Kulinarya Qatar (Philippine Embassy) – QAR 10 – Not exactly a drink but its packaging treats it as one. It’s a comfort food/snack in the Philippines made from silken tofu, sago pearls, and sugar syrup. Also, a childhood favorite of mine so I was happy to get a taste of it again.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgd5jhQHhbQ/?taken-by=pointandshooteats

For the food, here is what we have tried so far:

  • Peking Duck Dumplings from Holiday Villa – Served in 4 pieces and sweet & sour sauce, it lacks that Peking Duck sauce but good enough if you’re craving for Peking Duck.
  • Japanese cheesecake from W Hotel – Best dessert so far! And priced at only QAR 15. At first, I thought it looked small, but it is packed with flavor and creaminess! Plus points on the beautiful and sturdy packaging and presentation. The Kumquat compote and Passion meringue are also packaged separately.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgiylxrnE5m/?taken-by=pointandshooteats

  • Nachos from Viva Mexico – QAR 25 – Definitely grab this for sharing. Best eaten while you’re people watching in the festival or watching one of the entertainment shows.
  • Takoyaki and Doha Roll Maki from Oishi Sushi – These are the most expensive food I’ve tried so far, priced at QAR 39 and QAR 30 consecutively. It is definitely overpriced in terms of the taste but oh well, I was craving so bad for takoyaki and maki that time. Both are a little salty already so you can skip on the soy sauce.
  • Shrimp Tempura and Sushi from Ramada Encore – both QAR 15 – Where can you find QAR 15 tempura and maki? So I tried it and can say that it’s worth it for its price. Not the best you’ll get out there but good for the pocket. They didn’t scrimp on the shrimp. The ratio of batter and shrimp is just proportional. Sushi rolls are sliced thinly so compared to others it’s still a steal for its price.
  • Fresh and fried spring rolls from Vietnamese Embassy – QAR 5 each – I loved the fried spring roll but for the fresh, I can definitely say that it’s not the best one I had in my life. It’s very nutritious though.
  • Ice cream scoop from The Circle – QAR 3 – Probably the cheapest food item in the festival! I got one scoop of Chocolate Mint Ice Cream.
  • Original Churros from Churro Mia – QAR 12 for 3 pcs – When I ordered, I asked for dark chocolate syrup which costs QAR3. When I finally got my order, they informed me there’s no more dark chocolate. Also, the churros were over-fried.
  • Smoked Salmon and Shrimp Tempura Roll from Nobu at Four Seasons – QAR 25 each – For its price, both were worth it. Although after eating both, I was still hungry. Haha.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgvgh20ggaF/?taken-by=pointandshooteats

  • Shrimp Thermidor from Cafe DeLord – QAR 40 – I was only persuaded by one of the staff because he said it’s priced QAR 170 at their store. It is quite good though, although slightly disappointed with how little lobster meat I got. It is served in a bed of risotto with saffron, mushroom, and cheese.
  • Um Ali from Sheraton – QAR 20 – Said to be the best Um Ali in Doha, it is indeed very creamy and full of good things inside. Definitely the best Um Ali I’ve had so far.

Photos to be updated soon! In the meantime, you can check out my QIFF stories on my Highlights on INSTAGRAM.COM/POINTANDSHOOTEATS!


qiff 2018 food stalls

Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love. – Giada de Laurentiis

Qatar International Food Festival 2018 Quick Guide:

WHEN: 15 – 25 March 2018

OPENING HOURS: 4 PM-midnight (Saturday to Wednesday); 4 PM – 1 AM (Thursday to Friday)

FEES: Free Entrance; Food and drink prices from QAR 5 to 40

VENUE: Hotel Park

Facilities available: Washroom/toilet, Chargello (free use of power banks, just leave your QID), VIP Area, First Aid, Missing Children


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and photos are my own and reflect my experience during the days I was at the festival. 

Darlene is currently on the road again and traveling full-time after being an expat/overseas Filipino worker in Qatar. She's rediscovering what it means to travel solo and in her 30s while working on her blogs.

Comments

  • Sophia Grace

    Nice post with amazing highlights of Qatar International Food Festival.

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