10 global food picks at World Street Food Congress

Text by Joko Magalong, photos by Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Jun 02 2017 01:12 PM | Updated as of Jun 02 2017 01:30 PM

MANILA - There are only two more days of feasting left at the World Street Food Congress (WSFC) Jamboree at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.

For Sunday’s bout, gates will open for lunch at 11 a.m.

With so much food to go through with 32 hawkers selling two to three dishes, here’s a look at international fare that caught our fancy.

1. MARTABAK FROM MR. BUYUNG (INDONESIA)

People consistently line up for this multi-textured sweet treat: a pancake made with glutinous rice over a crispy crepe filled with many toppings and flavors. 

This darling of Instagram posts has cheese, chocolate, red velvet Oreo, green tea Kitkat, and Nutella almond variants. Personal picks include cheese and chocolate.

2. BALINESE BBQ PORK RIBS WITH SALAD FROM WARUNG SUNSET (INDONESIA)

Just like the previous dish, these ribs are returning from last year’s WSFC. They’ve come back for a reason: to let diners know how good pork ribs can be in Bali. 

This dish consists of sweet and salty meat with a delicate flavoring of mysterious Balinese spices. The pickles that it comes with makes the eating experience better, refreshing the palate. Insist on getting this hot.

3. OYSTER OMELET BY CHIAYI CHENJIA (TAIWAN) 

Oyster Omelets are different in many countries. If you’ve never been to Taiwan, the Oyster Omelet from Chiayi Chenjia is as legit as it comes. 

With chewy bits from sweet potato starch, fresh luscious oysters, eggs cooked just right, and flavorful bites with scallions, this dish hits all the best notes especially with that soy sauce-based gravy/sauce.

4. ALOO TIKI BY MANGLA CHAAT (INDIA)

This dish may look like a mess, but the flavors meld and work together. 

Two potato pancakes and flavors like mint and sweet chutney interplay with veggies and yogurt to make an interesting plate. Combine spoonfuls of things and get something new at every bite.

5. COFFEE PORK RIBS BURGER BY KENG ENG KEE (SINGAPORE)

This Coffee Pork Ribs Burger looks glorious. The ribs are wonderfully glazed and gleaming, flecked with sesame seeds. Ribs are taken off the bone, and give way beautifully as you bite. 

Coffee might be a foreign taste to some, but it works in this dish. If you’re looking for something you’ve never tasted before, this should be one of the places you should try.

6. PUTU MAYAM BY EVERGREEN (MALAYSIA) 

Continuing with things I’ve never tasted before, Putu Mayam from Malaysia is another dish that’s quite strange but works. Noodles (string hoppers) are steamed and served with grated coconut, pandan and palm sugar. 

It reminded me of our local kakanin dishes that we dip into sugar, but the string hopper gives it a different texture, sticky and soft at the same time. It is a dessert option for those wanting to control the sweetness of their dish.

7. PORK TROTTERS BLACK BEAN TOSTADAS BY PASILIO DE HUMO (MEXICO)

Grab a beer cup or two (soda will work, too) and order the Pork Trotters Black Bean Tostadas from Mexico. 

You’ve got corn tostadas as a vehicle of porcine goodness—pickled pork trotters, off the bone, soft and gelatinous, saved from being overly rich by fresh flavors from coriander, avocado, and radish, and given more earthy body with black beans. Yum.

8. BEEF BRISKET STEW BY MING'S WAY (CHINA)

Why should you get the Beef Brisket Stew? It’s surprisingly refreshing even when it’s so hot outside.

Think Nilaga but with a sweeter and spicier broth, with nicely balanced flavors of sweet, salt, and heat, and textures from beef, fat, and daikon. Angelica (an herb) is added to the broth, giving it a different, almost fruity, backnote.

9. RICE DUMPLING WITH CANDIED CHRYSANTHEMUM BY BIG BROTHER HONG KONG CUISINE (CHINA)

It is one of the things that K.F. Seetoh was very excited to bring to the Philippines, and it made me sad to see that not a lot of people were lining up for this dish. They should, though! 

One of my favorite experiences so far is biting into this mochi-filled dumpling, delicately swimming in sweet chrysanthemum tea (which I drank all of). Have it a bit warm, it’s delicious!

10. CURRYWURST FROM MEATSMITH AND FRIENDS (GERMANY)

Speaking of delicious things, there is the Currywurst from Germany. I had to wait for these, but these were worth it. 

The sausage was juicy, dotted with fat, and the sauce was sour, spicy, not overly curried and just wonderfully bold flavored. The chewy bread was a bit of a letdown, but I could easily see myself eating this with a plateful of rice.

On a side note, other interesting things on offer that we weren’t able to taste (blame having a human-sized stomach) include the Black Vinegar Trotters served with Rice from China, the Mee Goreng with Lamb and the Lamb Roti from Alhambra Padang Satay (which were sold out when we arrived), and the Kushikatsu from Japan.