The 2013 Philippine Fiesta – Melbourne Showgrounds 23rd-24th November
Last weekend was the annual Philippine Fiesta and this year it was again held at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Anticipating Melbourne’s unpredictable weather, all the stalls, stages and exhibits were held undercover in the Exhibition Pavilion. We visited on the 2nd day of the fiesta and as always there was a festive vibe with singers and dancers lighting up the stage and the smell of bbq calling us over to the food stalls – Filipinos love to sing, dance and eat! It was great to see the newly launched Cafe Rende serving up smooth coffee using beans from Benguet in the Philippines.
We devoured at least a dozen sticks of bbq and at 4 for $10 it was a pretty good deal compared to the Night Noodle Markets we attended recently! The skewers from soon-to-be-opened Jasmine’s Cafe and Restaurant were tasty and tender and we also tried halo halo (crushed ice dessert with a variety of fillings) from two different stalls at $5.50 and $8 each, the difference being one had ice cream and leche flan (a Filipino creme caramel) and the other didn’t.
Filipino dishes are not really known for their appetizing appearance but give it a go and I’m sure you will get hooked on dishes such as sisig (chopped pork pieces seasoned with calamansi and chilli), kare kare (a stew with ox tail and peanuts) and lechon paksiw (pork and vinegar stew).
The Philippine Fiesta is in its 31st year and even though there was a cheerful atmosphere when we arrived I did notice that there was a drop in numbers – both in the number of patrons and the number of stallholders that were present at the fiesta this year. It was pretty sad to see this and maybe the car park and entrance fee along with other issues have slowly deterred many people from showing their support year by year. Were you there this year? What did you think?