Here’s what to expect from the new free-flow food festival, FEAST

Antonio Oviedo of Relish demonstrates the making of his Wagyu tongue with smoked mackerel and pickled Nashi pear dish. <i>Photos: Vicky Wong</i>
Antonio Oviedo of Relish demonstrates the making of his Wagyu tongue with smoked mackerel and pickled Nashi pear dish. Photos: Vicky Wong

Italian-American food, Middle Eastern bites, and Michelin-starred Cantonese fare are just some of the cuisines that can sampled at FEAST, a new food festival taking place at PMQ this week.

The event, organized by Pyjama and Magnetic Asia, the latter of which also puts together music festival Clockenflap, will serve food from eight different restaurants from across town.

Attendees will be able to get up close with the chefs from these restaurants, each of which will have its own live cooking station set up, not unlike a live cooking theater of sorts, so that guests can watch them prepare signature dishes before they get doled out to the public. There will be shared tables, live music, and the food and drinks will be free-flow.

Coconuts HK went to visit two of the eateries — Yat Tung Heen and Relish — to get a preview of the dishes they’ll be serving up at FEAST.

Tam Tung, the executive chef of Eaton HK’s Cantonese dining establishment Yat Tung Heen, will be keeping it simple with tiger prawns made two ways: one served with sweet and sour sauce, the other sautéed. The chef has three consecutive Michelin-star designations under its belt, and you’re not likely to be disappointed with the very juicy — and exceptionally large — tiger prawns that he’s got planned for the event.

The sweet and sour prawn is deep-fried in a light batter and then quickly coated in some sweet and sour sauce. The consistency of the sauce was perfect, sticky, not too thick and lumpy.

King prawn cooked two ways by Yat Tung Heen. Photo by Vicky Wong.
King prawn cooked two ways by Yat Tung Heen. Photo: Vicky Wong

The sautéed tiger prawn, on the other hand, had been salted and seasoned, then washed with water and lightly fried in oil before being dished up in a rosette shape. The result is a prawn that is juicy, tender, and not oily. This dish is typically priced at HK$438 on the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menus, so it’s availability at FEAST this weekend is definitely a steal.

wagyu tongue with smoked mackerel and pickled nashi pear made with edible flowers and Kyoho grapes. Photo by Vicky Wong.
Wagyu tongue with smoked mackerel and pickled Nashi pear made with edible flowers and Kyoho grapes. Photo: Vicky Wong

The next dish we got to try out was Relish’s Wagyu tongue with smoked mackerel and pickled Nashi pear made with edible flowers and Kyoho grapes. This dish is typically served as a starter or snack, and would cost HK$150 per dish.

Unlike the other eateries taking part in FEAST, Relish is a catering company with a “nose-to-tail dining philosophy” and a focus on sustainable dining — well, as much as that’s possible, anyway — and on using ingredients that are ethically sourced.

Here, fresh mackerel is smoked over a bed of oak chips that have been been set alight with a blowtorch, then set aside as chef Antonio Oviedo — who lived in Spain before heading to Singapore and Hong Kong to work the culinary circuits — seasons Wagyu ox tongue and grills it over charcoal.

The result is a dish that combines a lot of textures and flavors: You have the slightly sweet and crunchy pears, with the tender and umami factors of that Wagyu ox tongue.

The smoked mackerel is served as a smooth paste, which doesn’t taste overwhelmingly fishy, but adds a nice bit of saltiness that complements the pear and tongue.

From what we can see, the cost of admission, at HK$680 per person, may be a little steep for a one-off event, but the fact that it’s free-flow (we repeat: FREE! FLOW!) food of this caliber makes it pretty worth it — in our humble opinion, anyway. Unlike a lot of food festivals that feature snacks or street food that’s pretty straight-forwarded to serve at high quantities, this festival is churning out restaurant-quality food from the chefs on-site. That’s pretty sweet.

Restaurants and eateries taking part in FEAST this year are:

WHEN: Sept. 7 to 8. 12:30pm to 4:30pm.
WHERE: PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
COST: HK$680 (adult, day entry) HK$380 (child, aged 3-11, day entry)
HOW: Tickets are available here.

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