The diverse culinary and entertainment offerings at the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) 2017 have proved to be a crowd puller, attracting a large number of residents and visitors until Friday when the event completed its tenth and penultimate day. QIFF, organised by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Katara Hospitality, also expects to draw a huge crowd on its concluding day Saturday at the scenic Hotel Park.
A QTA official expressed optimism that the annual festival will exceed its previous record of 200,000 visitors and reach 240,000 this year.
Osama Amari, who lives in Saudi Arabia, told Gulf Times that he visits the festival every year, spending the spring break with his family in Qatar.
"I love Thai and Indian food, as well as other international dishes, and I find the servings here at QIFF very authentic and delicious," he said.
Amari noted that the festival this year is fascinating and timely, giving residents in the region and in Qatar to enjoy and experience unique offering in a new setting and venue.
He added that he likes to see Qatar in a festive mood with all the cultural performances, entertainment shows, and attractions such as the fireworks and with a huge crowd.
The past 10 days of QIFF 2017 saw a large number of visitors, mostly families, savouring the various local and international food such as Thai, Mexican, Filipino, Japanese, and German food, among others, as they watch the performances on stage at the Cultural Zone. Bernard David , a long-time Filipino expatriate in Dubai who often visits Doha, said he was fascinated to see a huge number of compatriots at the festival, enjoying authentic Filipino and other cuisines at a number of stalls.
"Arabic, Oriental and Western food, you name it, all the food we want to eat are here and at reasonable prices," he noted, adding that he will surely return in the next edition with his friends.
Nicole T, a Sri Lankan expatriate in Qatar, said she enjoyed not only the kebabs and the sweets such as churos and crepes, but also the different activities, performances and the family-friendly environment at the festival. While lauding the previous editions of QIFF, she noted that besides the delectable food, the location provides several areas and zones for families and children to enjoy.
"I believe it is expanding every year and this year, there are a lot of offerings to choose from. Stalls are everywhere and the venue is really amazing, it provides enough parking slots for motorists like us," she stressed.
"You can sit and relax uphill while enjoying your snacks or meals with friends, families and colleagues, and this is something that residents and visitors are anticipating every year," Nicole added.
Performing bands on the main stage also enthralled spectators, in addition to the live-cooking demonstrations at the Cooking Theatre with local and international chefs. The fountain area has become a popular play area for young children, who enjoy running and crossing the dancing waters. The queues at the Healthy Zone remained long due to the raw and fresh vegetable and fruit juices it offers.