Spring ushers in food festivals

The changing season, which puts an end to winter and heralds the beginning of spring, two food festivals in the city beginning tomorrow hold the promise for foodies to explore the season’s lipsmacking flavours.

The second editions of both Asian Hawkers Market (AHM)and Palate MINI promise to be “bigger and spicier” with some of the brand new eateries from across the country bringing their best flavour to town.

AHM which focuses primarily on Pan Asian cuisine from Japan to Indonesia with occasional diversions to the home of Chinjabi cuisine, will see the participation of nearly 35 restaurants and will also have some of the big names from the culinary industry returning to the event.

“We are introducing a lot of young new brands. It is also Valentine’s Day, and young people are at the forefront of the celebration. So, we wanted young entrepreneurs who are below 30,” says Sourish Bhattacharyya, one of the founders of the three-day-long Asian Hawkers Festival to be held at Select City Walk.

Among the impressive slew of debuts that will be showcased by AHM include Mumbai-based restaurant Pa Pa Ya which will have its most sought after dishes on offer. Also, in the thick of action will be Delhi-NCR’s newest Asian restaurants – The Bento Cafe, Honk at Pullman-Novotel and Dimsumbros.

“Hawkers Chowk which is not even out physically will test market its unique range of Sichuan dosas, Chinese bhel and chilli idlis at the festival,” says Bhattacharya.

“We have a good mix of old and new. While there are a lot of new eateries that have come on board, most of our old participants have decided to be back,” he says.

Popular Pan Asian restaurants include Asia7, Chi – The Asian Cookhouse, Fatty Bao, Mamagoto, Berco’s, Jade from The Claridges and Joy Luck Moon, Latest Recipe from Le Meridien Gurgaon, Neung Roi from Radisson Blu Plaza, Social, Wow Momo and Yum Yum Cha.

A number of new partner restaurants like Benihana, Big Fat Sandwich, Big Wong, Dao, Harry’s Bar & Cafe and home delivery services such as Asia Central and Thai Crate have also come on board.

Living up to its name, the food at the AHM is set to be available at the “hawker prices” ranging between Rs 100 and 300.

“We have consciously kept the price range from Rs 100 to 300. Pricing is very important in such food festivals. We tell restaurants that you are here to promote your brand and not to make a lot of money and that’s why they cut down on margins,” says Bhattacharya.

To cater to the sweet cravings of the visitors, Sugarama will have on offer their popular soft-centered pralines and macaroons with unusual flavour combinations. Also on the menu are Hokey Pokey’s hugely popular ice-creams and frozen desserts, besides an exclusive bar by I-Kandy from LeMeridien, Gurgaon who are set to bring in an assortment of concept cocktails.

Palate MINI, on the other hand will cater to varied tastes by bringing over 70 food outlets – a well curated combination of restaurants, Delis and cafes from across the country under one roof at Nehru Park here.

Popular cuisines will include Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Continental and North Indian from restaurants like Elma’s, Fat Lulu’s, Punjab Grill, Royal China among others besides an array of over 40 stalls offering home-made desserts and snacks alone.

The festival will also feature a ‘Market Square’ with over 30 stalls that will promote Indian and International gourmet products besides live music by bands like Farid Kot, Adjustment, Space Cadets and Rock Veda to enthrall audience on all three days of the festival.

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