Browsing 'Qatar International Food Festival' News

All photos by Chantelle D’mello

From fine dining in the sky to hot-fried churros and freshly prepared shellfish, the sixth annual Qatar International Food Festival, which opened Tuesday, has so far drawn several thousand people to the Museum of Islamic Art Park.

The event, a celebration of both street food and gourmet cuisine in Qatar, is spread over several zones, each serving different types of food and hosting various activities.

Qatar International Food Fest 2015

Chantelle D'mello

Qatar International Food Fest 2015

There are two entertainment zones at opposite ends of the park, encompassing a stage where acrobatic and dance performances take place at intervals, and a kids’ play zone with playground rides and inflatables.

Interspersed between the two zones, and bordering a large tabled seating area, are booths of several of Qatar’s most prestigious and popular hotels.

Residents can choose from fresh pasta and sushi prepared by the Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels to fresh seafood by the newly-renovated Sheraton Doha Hotel booth, or an Asian-fusion inspired spread by the Doha Marriott chefs, at discounted rates of between QR10 to QR25 a dish.

New additions

Elsewhere, a new “Instagram zone” showcases a handful of predominantly Qatar-inspired treats by emerging female chefs running small businesses.

For many of these owners, the festival has given them access to a much broader audience, beyond those who place orders on Instagram.

Fireworks at Qatar International Food Fest 2015

KN Morada/Flickr

Fireworks at Qatar International Food Fest 2015

In addition to food, several of the stalls are also selling merchandise like mugs, phone covers, and other small trinkets.

There are several new additions to this year’s festival, including a double-decked high tea lounge by one of Doha’s newest hotels – the Kempinski Marsa Malaz, which recently opened at the Pearl-Qatar.

Elsewhere, festival first-timer Mr. Taco is offering authentic Mexican delicacies like freshly prepared empanadas and a Qatari-inspired taco-shawarma hybrid at its seafront stall.

For the first time, there are also daily firework shows, which will be held at 8:30pm on Thursday and Friday and 9:30pm on Saturday.

Hot spots

Other popular attractions include a large live cooking station and a water zone, where people can dine in inflatable “donuts” or eat while cruising in a dhow.

For those looking for healthier options, Raw ME, a new juice and smoothie based detox company provides a nutritious palate-cleanser between courses.

Near the kids’ zone, the Sahtak Awalan initiative by the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar also offers several healthy recipes at their food truck, complete with plant beds and an exercise selfie station.

Qatar International Food Fest 2015

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

Qatar International Food Fest 2015

Several internationally certified organic vegetables are also on sale at the Al Safwa Farm station, while bee pollen, a substance dubbed a new “superfood,” is available at reduced prices at the Bosaif Cafe’s stall.

Residents can also get traditional Indian lac bangles made at the Royal Tandoor stall, where Mohammed Aslam Maniyar, a popular bangle-maker and Souq Waqif staple is stationed.

The weather does get a bit chilly as the sun goes down, so bring a shawl along to cover up against the cool seaside breeze. Meteorologists are also forecasting rain tonight and tomorrow morning, so consider bringing an umbrella.

The festival runs from 1 to 10:30pm daily through Saturday, March 28. For more information about parking and other details, visit our festival guide here.

Who’s going? Thoughts?

2013 International Food Festival

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

2013 International Food Festival

The annual Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) is scheduled to kick off tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at the Museum of Islamic Art Park and run through Saturday, March 28.

Now in its sixth year, the focus will still be on food, but organizers are also hoping to draw large crowds with a range of performances, events, fireworks and other offerings.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of this year’s festival:

Hours and parking

The food festival officially opens at 5pm tomorrow and runs through 10:30pm. From Wednesday, March 25 until Saturday, March 28, the venue will be open from 1pm to 10:30pm.

Parking at MIA is reserved for VIP attendees and media only. MIA will close its parking lot to the public tomorrow at 5pm for the duration of the festival, an organizer told Doha News.

A park-and-ride service is being offered at the Marriott Doha hotel on the Corniche and at the old airport arrivals terminal. Free shuttles buses will take visitors from these parking locations to the MIA.

Qatar International Food Fest 2015 parking

QIFF

Parking map

For those who prefer not to ride the bus, private cars will offer rides from each parking area to the festival venue for QR35 each way.

Attendees can also park nearby at the recently opened Souq Waqif carpark, but this is not a QIFF designated parking area and no shuttles will be available from there to MIA, organizers said.

For those who don’t want to worry about parking, Uber is offering two free rides – worth up to QR80 each – to and from the MIA. However, the offer is for new users only, using the promo code QIFF2015.

Fireworks and shows

The festival will hold daily firework shows at 6pm on March 24; 8:30pm on March 25, 26 and 27; and at 9:30pm on the March 28, the last day of the festival.

For illustrative purposes only.

Antony Satheesh/Flickr

For illustrative purposes only.

A variety of performances will be held each day, including performances by Lebanese singer/songwriter Tarek Sidani, who songs are a mix of pop and rock.

There will also be Arda dances – a traditional sword dance usually performed in weddings and on special national occasions in Qatar.

Meanwhile, a number of professional musicians will play traditional tunes and perform original folk music using pipe instruments. And there will also be several dance performances representing different cultures and countries, including a solo breakdancing show.

Live cooking

Chefs from different hotels around Qatar are invited to take a free cooking course to learn how to prepare traditional and innovative Qatari and Gulf dishes from 2pm to 4pm, starting on Wednesday.

Qatar International Food Festival 2014

Omar Chatriwala

Qatar International Food Festival 2014

The initiative is part of a Qatar Tourism Authority effort to guarantee hotels across the country include Qatari cuisine on their menus.

Various professional chefs will also host live cooking demonstrations for audiences, giving out free samples of food to those in attendance.

The Live Cooking Zone, which seats about 100 people, will also host celebrity chefs from around the world, including those from the “Fatafeat” food channel.

From March 25-28, there will also be pizza “freestyle acrobatic shows.” And on Thursday, ice-carving artists will demonstrate their skills in front of a live audience from 7pm onwards.

Photo competition

To get people involved and excited about food, QIFF has announced a cooking competition for Gulf and Qatar residents. Participants 18 years and older should share a photograph of themselves on social media (QIFF is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) while cooking with their families, and include the #QIFF2015 hashtag.

Contest

QIFF/Facebook

Contest

Entries are being accepted until March 27, and the winners will be announced on March 28.

Winners from the GCC countries will win two airplane tickets to Qatar and a 5-star hotel accommodation during their stay. Qatar residents will win four vouchers to dine in the sky during the festival.

Finer dining

Dozens of food stalls will be set around the MIA Park venue, including from many 5-star hotels that offer dishes for QR10 to QR25. This year, all stalls will accept cash, instead of relying on a voucher system that had left many confused during past QIFF iterations.

This year, the festival will also include a dedicated zone for celebrating Qatar-Turkey Year of Culture 2015, hosting both Qatari and Turkish chefs.

Turkish food

QIFF

Turkish food

For those looking for something different – and willing to pay for it – there’s a “high-Flying cuisine” option where diners are served a five main-course meal some 60m above the ground.

Tickets are QR500 per person and available at a booth onsite from 5pm on Tuesday. The cuisine is provided by Qatar Airways and is available from Wednesday through Saturday from 1pm to 10pm.

Those who prefer to eat seaside can dine onboard a “BBQ Donut” or one of Qatar’s traditional wooden dhows.

The donut seats eight people and includes afternoon tea from Wednesday through Saturday from 1pm to 5pm for QR50 a person. Dinner is from 5pm to 10pm for QR250 a person. Diners can either barbecue by themselves or have trained staff grill for you. The cruise is offered by the Diplomatic Club.

The dhow takes a “tea cruise” every 30 minutes from 2pm to 5pm, for QR25 per person. There is also a dinner cruise that includes BBQ dishes from 6:30pm to 8:30pm for QR70 per person. This service is provided by Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels.

And finally, there will be a high tea tent hosted by the newly opened Marsa Malaz Kempinski – The Pearl Doha.

Do you plan to attend QIFF this year? Thoughts?

All photos by Omar Chatriwala

The fifth annual Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) at the Museum of Islamic Art park opened last night to a large crowd amid high hopes from officials that it would be the “biggest and best” edition yet.

In terms of offerings, there are 55 food stalls, several kiosks and a “Qatar/Brazil Year of Culture” zone, which serves cuisine from those countries.

Notably, cash is accepted at each booth this year, as organizers have done away with the voucher system. In previous years, visitors had to queue in long lines to purchase tickets before buy food from restaurant booths. This caused some confusion about what to do with leftover vouchers.

There is also a renewed emphasis on entertainment this year. Last night, Brazilian and Korean bands kicked off the performances, in an opening ceremony attended by the Minister of Culture and the heads of the Qatar Tourism Authority and Qatar Airways.

Residents expressed satisfaction with the food offerings and organization of the event last night, though there was some confusion over parking.

Parking map

QIFF

There is no parking onsite. Visitors to the festival must park at one of two lots near the MIA (Lot A at the Ministry of Interior building on the Corniche, and Lot B by Sharq Village), and take a shuttle to the venue.

The festival will be open from 2pm to 11pm tonight; and from 2pm to 10pm on Saturday and Sunday. Shuttles begin operating half an hour before the festival opens for the day.

Are you planning to go to QIFF this year? Thoughts?