Taste your way through Asia at these fantastic food festivals

Are you a self-proclaimed foodie? Then you need to check out these food festivals in Asia. Source: Shutterstock.

IT goes without saying that food is a big part of travel because what better way to get to know local customs than through savoring new cuisines and flavors?

Besides, culinary travel is a thriving trend, having grown rapidly in popularity in the past decade thanks to foodies’ pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences, and travelers’ growing collection of #foodporn on social media.

Traveling for food allows you to capture the best of all that travel has to offer: sights, sounds, and tastes. And there is something for everyone in the food tourism industry.

Asia promises an ultimate food adventure as the region boasts a melting pot of cultures and several major cuisines: East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, Central Asian, and Middle Eastern/Western Asian. It is often the highlight of many Asian vacations, from fine dining in fancy restaurants to the snacks sold at carts and stalls lining busy streets.

In fact, food is so celebrated in Asia that festivals are held annually, promising mouthwatering treats, good vibes, and a chock-full of fun.

So ditch your diets, jump on the culinary travel bandwagon, and have a taste of one of these fantastic food festivals in Asia this year:

Bali, Indonesia: Ubud Food Festival

Founded in 2015, the Ubud Food Festival (UFF) is a three-day culinary adventure with Indonesian food as the star. In its four years, it has grown into Southeast Asia’s leading culinary event.

Foodies from across Indonesia and the globe will be treated to a tantalizing program of cooking demonstrations, workshops, special events, food forums, markets, food tours, film screenings and much, much more.

Bebek, a classic Balinese ceremonial dish consisting of fried duck, rice, greens, and hot sambal (spicy sauce). Source: Shutterstock.

Showcasing Indonesia’s diverse cuisines, extraordinary local produce, and culinary heroes both emerging and established, UFF celebrates the archipelago’s rich culinary heritage and the exciting future of its food industry.

When: April.

Hong Kong: Dumpling Festival

The dumpling festival, held in conjunction with the Dragon Boat Festival, is usually celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth Chinese lunar month, near the summer solstice.

Originating from China, the festival features dragon boat racing which sees thousands of the world’s top dragon boat athletes battle it out over an intense three-day race which fills Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour with activity.

The other highlight of the festival is the making and eating of zongzi  (glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in leaves of reed, lotus, or banana) because it is considered a symbol of luck.

Zongzi is a traditional Chinese rice dish made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in leaves.

Various types of zongzi, from sweet or dessert-styled zongzi with bean paste, dates, and nuts as fillings or savory zongzi with marinated pork belly, sausage, and salted duck eggs can be found at just about every nook and cranny in Hong Kong during the festival.

When: June.

Lopburi, Thailand: Monkey Buffet Festival

Every year, Thailand holds the Monkey Buffet Festival in Lopburi, about 150km northeast of its capital Bangkok. Unlike what its bizarre name suggests, it is not a festival dedicated to a buffet of our closest living relatives.

During the festival, buffet spreads of fruit salads, fruit carvings, mixed greens, sticky white rice, and traditional Thai desserts are laid out in front of all the temples and long-tailed macaques are spoiled with an abundance of food.

Just when you thought Thailand can’t get any more amazing, they go and hold an annual monkey festival. Source: Shutterstock.

Aside from a show of monkeys going wild and binging on treats, the festival also has live performances and dances, and vendors and food stalls providing food for human visitors.

When: November.

Delhi, India: National Street Food Festival

India is arguably one of the best destinations in Asia to visit if you are a fan of tantalizing your taste buds with spices and flavors that you are not used to. In particular, Delhi, India’s capital territory, which is famous for its street food.

And if you want to taste all of Delhi’s street food, from the sweet imarti to the aromatic Malabari biryani, then the National Street Food Festival in Delhi is the place to be.

Biryani is a mixed rice dish made with Indian spices, rice, meat (chicken, goat, beef, prawn, or fish), vegetables or eggs. Source: Shutterstock.

The delicious, three-day feast will feature more than a thousand vendors peddling their best recipes and mouthwatering street delicacies from various Indian states.

When: December.