Toronto's First Every Halal Food Festival
This past weekend was Toronto's first every Halal Food Fest! This is an event we have been looking forward to since it was announced...finally a food festival where we can eat everything!!!! Overall we enjoyed the food festival and thought it was well done. There was a good variety of cuisine. Marketing for the food festival was excellent. Being the first time of course there will be some bumps in the road. Unfortunately I forgot my camera at home so no pictures in this post....
It was a 2 day event. I knew that it was going to be mega busy so we decided we would go Saturday as soon as it opened at 10 am. With 2 little kids I knew going during a busy time would have been insane and it really is too much to ask my kids to wait in a 2 hour line. When we arrived we had to wait till 10:30 to get in which we didn't mind. While we waited we walked up the street and had the boys watch some planes take off.
But what we were expecting when we walked in is exactly what happened...the food wasn't ready. We walked around for awhile thinking the non-food vendors would be open but quite a few were closed. Slowly the food started coming. We tried Gourmet Burger Co. and loved the burgers. Since not much was open we ended up have a bunch of those. There was a cheese sampling which was great and got to find out some Halal cheeses. A few of the food vendors were waiting until 12 to open so we were disappointed with that. One thing we noticed was there wasn't any consistency in the samples. One vendor gave so much for 1 ticket while another gave hardly anything for 2 tickets. Next year it would be nice if it was more consistent. I also feel that if the vendor serves meat in their restaurant then they should be serving meat dishes. I'm not looking to eat chips and dip or cheese quesadillas. The main reason we don't go to other food festivals is that we can't eat the meat so that is what we are most looking forward to.
I think the food vendors should be better prepared next year and open at 10 am. They need to be better prepared to handle the rush. We missed out on some of the places we wanted to try. We had left around 1 pm on Saturday and there was still some vendors who hadn't opened. But we were happy to try some places that we have never been too, especially the restaurants that are in Mississauga.
I loved that they had a nursing and diaper change area....there was obviously a mom on the organizing committee :) Although I'm passed that stage with my boys it is something I know all moms appreciate. I liked how it was very clear which vendors use hand-slaughtered meat and which use machine-slaughtered. There was also a Kids Zone and an outdoor area where you could buy a full meal. Unfortunately the outdoor area wasn't ready when we arrived.
Oh....and two of my recipes made it into the guide after entering The Ultimate Foodie Contest. Check it out!
All in all I think the organizers did a great job for the first Halal Food Fest. Looking forward to the next food festival!