Good Food, Food Science and History Make for a Satisfying Weekender at the DOST-NCR and Megaworld Food Festival

Author: Aurora Marcelo Published: May. 29, 2023

What happens when you put some of the more popular foods in Metro Manila in a bazaar, add a healthy serving of the science behind those foods, and put in a dash of history? You get a food festival that is a treat for both the mind and the senses!

This is what visitors got at the Kain Tayo sa Science Food Festival, jointly organized by the Department of Science and Technology-National Capital Region and Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, which ran from May 26-28, 2023, at the Eastwood Central Plaza in Quezon City.

A signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the DOST-NCR Regional Director Engr. Romelen Tresvalles and Megaworld Deputy General Manager Ms. Ritchie G. Pascual kicked off the start of the 3-day event. The MOA signified the partnership between the public and private sectors in the promotion of science and technology, with the DOST-NCR holding its Science Food Festival at the Eastwood Mall, integrating with Megaworld’s campaign of “Tara Na, Pasyal Na”.

A Bazaar for a Cause

A total of 30 food sellers and manufacturers from the four corners of the NCR participated in the bazaar. These exhibitors are adoptors and beneficiaries of DOST’s major programs, namely: the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) program, and the Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines (iFWD PH).

The three programs offer hope and a better life or business for different sectors of society. SETUP, for example, is a nationwide program that aims to boost and sustain the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by identifying specific problem areas in the company and addressing such concerns through comprehensive technical assistance that includes the acquisition of the appropriate technologies/equipment and the provision of technical consultancies.

CEST aims to transform depressed communities into productive, resilient, and empowered players in society by providing livelihood training, as well as technical interventions in key problem areas. iFWD PH, on the other hand, provides a fresh start for returning OFWs that have been displaced by the pandemic by providing them with the skills and enabling support to establish their own technology-based businesses.

An Educational and Culinary Treat

Rather than just having a showcase of tummy fillers, the Kain Tayo sa Science Food Festival provided an educational and culinary treat with its goal of Exploring the Science Behind Pinoy Food in the Metro.

Each seller’s stall had a poster that provided little known trivia and science facts about the product. Science behind the ingredients, or process of making the products were highlighted per stall. There were also DOST-NCR food experts on hand to explain how certain ingredients work together, and how DOST-NCRs technical interventions have significantly changed the company’s or community’s products for the better.

DOST-NCR Regional Director, Engr. Romelen T. Tresvalles explained that the DOST-NCR first identifies a company’s specific problem area and then looks to its partner Higher Education Institutions and DOST’s Research and Development Institutes (RDIs) for solutions. DOST Undersecretary for Scientific and Technical Services, Ms. Maridon O. Sahagun further talked about the services of DOST’s RDIs, and the science behind the technical assistance provided to ensure that Filipino companies stay competitive in the constantly changing domestic and foreign food markets.

But the real treat for food enthusiasts came in the afternoon through the Agham sa Hapag portion.

Famous Tiktok personalities, Mr. Roberto Villar Cabral and Ms. Beatriz Gomez Vera of The Lost Filipino Cookbook, who discuss in their channel the history and other little-known facts behind some of the more famous foods like the pandesal and halo halo, gave a demonstration of a re-imagined food, in this case, the famous balut of Pateros. Balut is one of those polarizing foods, with some praising the balut’s nutritive value while others simply cannot stand the sight, much less the thought of consuming Pateros’ delicacy. But who can resist balut re-imagined as balut pate or balut pastel?

Chef JR Royol, host of “Farm to Table” on GMA Life TV, continued the homage to the lowly balut with his own signature creations. Chef Royol, who prides himself as a chef with a rustic and technical style, introduced three novel dishes to a very appreciative crowd: balut terrine topped with fried soybean curd, Marikina’s “everlasting” made into turon wrapped in puff pastry, and kare-kareng lechon simmered in honey mead wine topped with fried mushroom chips.

Events scheduled for Saturday and Sunday were Science in a Bottle, a crash course on bottled food products; Food Bitz Clinic on regulatory and licensing requirements and a free consultation session for MSMEs with DOST-NCR’s food experts; Snack Smart, a forum on the importance of opting for healthier snack choices; and Siyensayaw, a Zumba session to burn off all those calories from indulging in the treats in the 3-day food festival.

This year’s DOST-NCR’s Kain Tayo sa Science Food Festival is the second installation of the Science Food Fest, which started last year still in partnership with Megaworld Lifestyle Malls.

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