Friday, August 18, 2017

A food fair in Thailand gives us a taste of the future


Foodies from all over the world gathered in Bangkok from May 31 to June 4 for THAIFEX, one of the most anticipated food fair in the ASEAN region.

A stall at this year's THAIFEX. Photo - suppliedA stall at this year's THAIFEX. Photo - supplied

Weekend had the chance to stroll down the aisles of the huge convention centre that hosted the event. Our mission: find the most original product, as innovation was the central theme of this year’s edition.

Quirky design, authentic taste, eccentric ingredients and funny packaging were on display in the fair’s “innovation zone”.

“The zone is there to showcase the latest trends but also to help small and medium businesses,” said Mr Mathias Kuepper, one of the organizers. “A lot of food companies have good products but do not necessarily know how to improve or promote them. This year’s theme is here to inspire them,” he added. 

Myanmar businesses were among the participants. They presented different type of teas, plum and tamarind syrups, as well as ready-to-eat Burmese curries.

They told Weekend that they enjoyed the event and learned a lot from it. “I discovered the different types of food trending in Asia,” said Cho Lei, the founder of Tree Food, a company making traditional palm jaggery. “I now have a better idea of how other countries promote their products,” she added.

But according to her, Burmese traditional food isn’t quite ready to meet the expectations of the connoisseurs, and more preparations must be done if it were to compete internationally.

Among the different products Weekend had the chance to see; two immediately tingled to our taste-buds and intrigued our curiosity.

First, the “Cocogurt” gave us an idea of where vegan cuisine could take Myanmar’s deserts. Advertised as both healthy and mouth-watering, this dairy-free yogurt entirely made of coconut shows us how a combination of the culinary arts and science can mash together to please different tastes and diets.

Up next, a cleverly designed oil spray made us think twice about the way we usually grease our pans.

That is the ‘rice oil spray’ designed by the Italian manufacturer, Compagnia Alimentare Italiana SPA. A simple push of its dispenser can reduce the amount of oil used in the preparation of a dish by up to 90% compared to a traditional bottle of oil – something Myanmar’s kitchens could definitely use as our dishes are mostly oil-based.