The now undistinguishable smell that taints my clothing is reminiscent of my world tour at the Heritage Festival on Sunday evening. Arriving at Hawrelak Park at 7pm, with only two hours at hand, my coworkers and I quickly gathered our money and purchased 18 food tickets for $15, an amount we thought sufficient for the evening.
With our handy country booth guide in hand we decided to head to the Congo food station. Unsure of the food items we decided to dive in and try the spinach and peanut butter dish. It was surprisingly delightful although the girls and I by common consent decided that it would have be best paired with another dish like rice to balance the rich flavour.
While allowing the food to digest, we stopped by a few stages where dancers entertained the crowds of people. I was particularly impressed by India who took traditional Indian dancing to a new level by sandwiching break dancing within traditional steps. It was refreshing to see that tradition can be tastefully challenged and reinvented. The girls were also wearing beautiful garments and jewelry.
While Elaire savoured her coconut rice with mangoes, I admired the young Laotian girls dancing.
As we passed by one of the Latin American booths we could hear a man calling out to anyone who was willing to salsa on stage for a free sample of their food. I was very tempted to undertake this challenge but with the time dwindling quickly and plenty of tickets remaining we returned to our search for something interesting to eat.
We found the French pavilion and ordered chocolate crepes. They were absolutely delectable.
Craving a rice or noodle combo I flew over to Thailand where for 6 tickets I received a generous portion of Pad Thai. Purchasing the meal near closing time was a bad choice on my part seeing as it seemed to have been sitting for a bit too long. It was not longer warm and the flavouring had begun to crust up onto the noodles and vegetables.
With five minutes left and with 5 tickets still in hand our stroll turned into a speed walk as our eyes darted around the sight for any sign of an open booth. A brisk wind picked up as if to warn the food lovers that the evening was coming to an end. With the breeze blowing through my hair I made it on time for a chocolate covered banana from Peru. What a sweet end to the festival.
Reflecting now, I realize that I would have probably tasted a bigger variety of foods had I gone during the day. Two hours was not long enough. It was stressful knowing that we were short of time and some of the food tasted as though it had been sitting too long. Now I know for next year. Although I am slightly disappointed by my experience I will without hesitation be returning next year. I will surely have to thoroughly study the festival menu prior to attending the festival and decide what I want to eat beforehand. This will give me more time to enjoy the festival.