ASEAN Ambassadors and their spouses, led by H.E. Brunei Ambassador Hajah Johariah binti Haji Wahab and Mrs. Louie Barcelon-Locsin wife of Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr., take part in the traditional ASEAN handshake
ASEAN Ambassadors and their spouses, led by H.E. Brunei Ambassador Hajah Johariah binti Haji Wahab and Mrs. Louie Barcelon-Locsin wife of Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr., take part in the traditional ASEAN handshake

Mallgoers had a taste of authentic Southeast Asian cuisine and culture during the recently concluded ASEAN Food Festival at SMX Aura Convention Center in SM Aura Premier.

A joint project of the ASEAN Ladies Foundation (ALF) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in partnership with the 10 Embassies of the ASEAN member states and SM, the event featured traditional dishes and exotic flavors. These included Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The annual cultural event aims to foster unity and cooperation among the ASEAN community.  It also enabled mallgoers to experience the flavors of the Southeast Asia region without having to leave the Philippines.

Mrs. Louie Barcelon Locsin, wife of Secretary of Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr. and Chairperson of the ASEAN Ladies Foundation, together with Her Excellency Hajah Johariah binti Haji Wahab, Ambassador of the Embassy of Brunei in Manila and President of the ASEAN Ladies Foundation, led the opening ceremony.  They were joined by ASEAN Ambassadors and spouses who took part in the traditional ASEAN handshake which commenced the event.

Myanmar's national dish, Mohinga, is a rice noodle in fish soup

Guests enjoyed both traditional and modern dishes prepared by the Embassies and participating restaurants. These included Brunei’s Nasi Katok Ayam or rice and fried chicken served with sambal or chili sauce wrapped in brown paper and Pulut Panggang or rice with a spicy sambal filling; Cambodia’s popular street food delights – Num Krok or coconut rice cake and Num Banh Chok or fish curry noodle;  and Indonesia’s signature stir fried rice or Nasi Goreng and Sate Ayam or grilled chicken served with peanut sauce.

 Lao PDR’s Seensavanh or Beef Jerky and Khaiphaen or dried green algae, Khai; and Malaysia’s Laksa Asam Penang or spicy and sour fish noodles and Teh Tarik or hot milk tea beverage; and Myanmar’s  Mohinga or rice noodle with fish soup and Kaung Nyin Paung orsteamed glutinous rice seasoned with sesame salt, also delighted guests.

Singapore’s famous Laksa or spicy noodle soup and Hainanese Chicken Rice were among the crowd favorites, as well Thailand’s Pad Thai or stir-fried rice noodle dish and Chiang Rai or Thai Milk Tea, and Vietnam’s Nem rán or fried spring roll. The Philippines had an updated version of the iconic sisig, and its own version of a sari-sari store.

Kaung Nying Paung or steamed sticky rice with salted sesame pounder and scrapped coconut
Kaung Nying Paung or steamed sticky rice with salted sesame pounder and scrapped coconut

The one-day event also highlighted rich Southeast Asian culture with fun games and performances for the guests. These included the Cambodian’s had their traditional Lak Kansaeng or hide the scarf game, Indonesia’s Bakiak Race, Lao PDR’s Crown the Seat game, Malaysia’s Coconut Shell Clogs, Philippines’ Balut eating contest, and Singapore’s Giant Snake and Ladders.

Indonesian performers entertained guests with their traditional Pendet Dance, the Myanmar Embassy performed their Shwe Man Taung Yeik Kho dance, and the Thailand Embassy had a performance using a Thai stringed musical instrument.

The ASEAN Food Festival is one of the many exciting cross-cultural events at SMX Aura in SM Aura Premier.

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