One of the major food trade shows in the Asia food and beverage arena, the Food&HotelAsia (FHA) returns this year with a dizzying array of the food products, produce, drinks and tipples from all corners of the globe.
A mesmerising melting pot of 3,500 international food and hospitality exhibitors spanning more than 70 countries placed their best food forward and showcased the latest trends and developments in the industry. Countries making their debut in the United Nations-esque food assembly for the first time are Qatar and Armenia.
The biennial trade show, which debuted in 1978, saw tens of thousands of food and beverage professionals, chefs, businessmen and members of the government show up in full force for the opening of the four-day event. Trade professionals are slated to have a sourcing budget of US$11 billion at the mammoth event. The FHA 2018 is on till this Friday (27 April) at the two venues: Singapore Expo (food & drinks, hospitality, pastry and spirits) and Suntec Singapore (food service and equipment).
Here are five interesting things at FHA that stopped us in our tracks at the Expo:
Myanmar Restaurant Association (Hall 5; Booth: 5C2-14)Feel peckish from all the walking? Refuel at this booth which has a cosy table filled with platters of food. The pickled tea salad with rice is nutty and vegetal with a liberal amount of nuts, herbs and spices tossed in the salad. Slurp up the Mohinga (fish paste noodles) and pile up on the fragrant turmeric-scented sticky rice. While eating, you can pick up Myanmar travel tips from the Tourism officials too.
Armenia Pavilion (Hall 5, Booth: 5J3-10)A first-time exhibitor at FHA is Armenia, which is located in the mountainous Caucasus region between Asia and Europe. Expect products such as pine cone syrup, a natural remedy used to strengthen the immune system against flu and cough. Making use of the rich harvest from the fertile Caucasus mountains are fruit and vegetable preserves from Agrar Armavir. Tea lovers should look out for wild herbal teas made with aromatic herbs from the Armenian forests.
Asian Pastry Cup (Hall 1)One of the major pastry competitions in the region, the Asian Pastry Cup, which started in 2006, sees 12 teams from countries such as Singapore, Syria, Maldives, Korea and Sri Lanka pit against each other’s pastry-making skills to come up with whimsical creations. Each team needs to concoct chocolate and sugar showpieces, 18 plated desserts and three chocolate cakes. Some of the stunning plated desserts include Team Taiwan’s orange chocolate cake that is modelled after a casino roulette and Team Australia’s sun-inspired dessert.
The winning team gets to represent Asia at the World Finals in France next January. How well will reigning champion, Team Singapore, fare this time? Other culinary challenges taking place at Expo include the Asian Gelato Cup and FHA Culinary Challenge.
Mr Popiah (Hall 6, Booth: 6H1-05)Vending machines that dish out hot and savoury foods are so common these days that we hardly bat an eyelid when we found out about Mr Popiah’s vending machine. It dispenses ready-to-eat popiah wraps in flavours such as chocolate banana, salted egg prawn and chicken cheese. The Mr Popiah vending machines are at 10 locations including IMM Giant Supermarket.
Oh Chef Self-Cooking Vending Machine (Hall 6, Booth: 6L2-08)This instant noodles vending machine is a hit in Korea and a common sight in convenience shops. Here’s a more interactive way of cooking your instant noodles instead of pouring piping hot water into the cup. Place the noodles and seasonings in a specially-coated insulated paper container, scan the barcode, and the machine registers the amount of water to dispense, cooking time and temperature of the induction hot plate, stir and cook the noodles, and finally, slurp them up pronto. The sides of the containers are surprisingly not too hot as they are well-insulated.
Food&Hotel Asia 2018 is on till this Friday (27 April), 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is at Suntec Singapore Level 4 & 6 and Singapore Expo Halls 1 to 9.