Sharjah Food Festival serves up history, cooking and fun

The 9th annual Sharjah Food Festival kicks off on Wednesday, March 25, in four locations. We have the low-down on what to expect.

 Al Majaz Waterfront will have 15 food trucks and pop-up restaurants. Courtesy Sharjah Food Festival
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The ninth annual Sharjah Food Festival opens on Wednesday, March 25, at four locations across the emirate with a range of cuisines, competitions and entertainment.

Al Qasba

In years past, the entire food festival was held in Al Qasba, but this year, it’s just one of four locations. Al Qasba will host 20 food stalls cooking up different cuisines from around the world. Highlights include the Battle of the BBQ to crown the king and queen of barbecue; the Pizarro Academy, where young chefs can test their pizza-making skills; and lectures on diet, healthy eating and cooking.

Al Majaz Waterfront

Fifteen food trucks and pop-up restaurants will set up at Al Majaz Waterfront. Highlights include a daily 90-minute cookery demonstration by local and regional chefs. There will also be fruit-carving competitions among the chefs as well as cake-decorating and ice-sculpting contests. But it’s not all about the chefs. Each day, contestants from the audience will compete as they prepare dishes from their home countries. Or, visitors can try their hand at the Wow Burger Challenge, where the best burger will be judged on taste and presentation.

Al Montazah Park

Throughout the festival, most of the entertainment will be at this venue (but there will still be plenty of tasty bites available). Expect to see live musicians, jugglers and street artists, plus performances by the actor and mime Diego Spano, famous for his portrayal of Charlie Chaplin. You’ll also be able to catch Doctor Bucketman, a renowned street drummer from Spain, who makes music with empty paint buckets, pots and pans.

Heart of Sharjah

Sharjah’s cultural centre has made it its mission to take visitors back to the Sharjah of the 1950s. The venue will reflect the emirate’s Islamic traditions and will include a traditional souq from the era. There will also be a Bedouin majlis, a traditional food corner and a chance for visitors to learn how to prepare Emirati dishes and coffee. Entertainment includes folklore bands, an oud player and raffle draws.

The chefs

Chefs to watch for include: Marc Abed, executive chef consultant at Shawarma Factory; the Kuwaiti chef Hussein Al Ali, owner of Concept Cuisine in Kuwait; Akshay Nayyar, executive chef at Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor in Abu Dhabi; Silvena Rowe, celebrity chef and owner of Omnia Gourmet in Dubai; and the Egyptian chef Youssef Darwish, executive chef at Taj Palace Hotel, Dubai.

The details

Sharjah Food Festival runs from Wednesday, March 25, until April 4; Sundays to Wednesdays from 5pm to 10pm; and on Thursdays and Fridays from 5pm to 11pm. Entry is free.