Food Festivals are increasingly popular attractions around the world. Many people participate in these culinary events simply to enjoy the food, while others go to experience the “story” behind the cuisine or to experience the latest trends in gastronomy. Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Peruvian cuisines are all held in high esteem for their anomalous and complex dishes that give visitors a taste of these unique cultures.
Here is a brief overview of the culinary and food festivals in the regions we cruise at Aqua Expeditions:
Cambodian Cuisine Food Festival (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
Cambodia’s biggest food festival, entices attendees to try a selection of dozens of traditional dishes from 20 provinces. “We pick up dishes that are typical from each of the provinces,” said PSE communications officer Alexis Guyot. Most dishes are Cambodian family recipes, “mother’s” cooking recipes, that have been passed down for generations. From kampot noodles, crab fried rice, sea vegetable salad to palm curry, these native dishes showcase the unique, authentic taste of Cambodian cuisine. The date in which this annual food festival takes place varies, but can be expected to happen in late March or early April.
Vietnam’s Southern Fruit Festival (Saigon, Vietnam)
At Vietnam’s Southern Fruit Festival held annually in Saigon, you can see firsthand, local produce transformed into colorful, three dimensional art. This traditional Vietnamese food festival is held in early June with over 50 stalls, village arts and crafts, a parade, art performances, contests and much more. The Southern Fruit Festival has become one of the most anticipated cultural events in Vietnam, showcasing the variety of local tropical fruits in the country and creatively carving and arranging these into beautiful visual displays. This event also aims to honor achievements in Vietnamese agriculture while promoting specific fruit brands.
Lima Food Week (Lima, Peru)
Lima Food Week is a week of indulgence “just for foodies”, showcasing Peru’s exquisite cuisine in the bustling Peruvian capital. This gastronomic event took place for the first time in March 2015, and hosted twenty-six high profile Peruvian restaurants including Mayta, Malabar, Amaz, Osaka, and La Nacional. Lima Food Week also gave visitors the opportunity to help Banco de Aliments, a non-profit organization supporting hunger relief and donations to the Lima food bank.
Mistura Food Festival (Lima, Peru)
The Mistura Food Festival in Lima is one of the world’s largest food festivals and gives participants the opportunity to explore the many delectable tastes of Peru. Every September, Peruvian restaurants and famous chefs from around the world gather in Lima to celebrate the distinctive cuisine of this Latin American country.
Other Local Festivals Incorporating a Culinary Emphasis
While the Siem Reap Water Festival in Cambodia and the Festival of San Juan in Iquitos, Peru don’t exclusively center around food, the ample importance that is given to cuisine in both of these is reason to include them.
The Siem Reap Water Festival (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
One of the highlights of the Siem Reap Water Festival, in addition to its infamous river races on the Mekong River, is the abundance of delicious food served at the festival in October/ November. Food carts and food stalls, with a variety of menus, border the Mekong’s river banks and fill local parks as mobile vendors make their way throughout the streets in search of a hungry crowd.
Be sure to try the grilled pork skewers, steamed pork buns, pickled fruit, and a refreshing sugar cane juice. And for the more adventurous, try the silk worms, crickets, and baby duck eggs!
The Festival of San Juan (Iquitos, Peru)
Iquito’s biggest party of the year is celebrated in June at the Festival of San Juan with a range of festivities including dance, competitions, and Peruvian cuisine. This celebratory event takes place next to the Amazon River, honoring St. John the Baptist. Local cooks partake in this regional celebration by making some of Iquito’s traditional regional cuisine, including tacaho (baked banana) and juanes (stuffed leaves).