Gianyar, Bali (ANTARA) - Culinary enthusiasts as well as domestic and foreign tourists thronged the 2024 Ubud Food Festival (UFF), where local and global culinary figures showed up to showcase their expertise.

This year's UFF, themed "Take it to the Streets," was an exploration of the flavors of street food in Indonesia, where every bite reflected the rich tradition, innovation, and sheer happiness derived from food.

Foodies at the festival were spoilt for choice in terms of the plethora of Indonesian street food and had the opportunity to meet the finest culinary figures of Asia.

The 2024 Ubud Food Festival provided a space for business owners and culinary brands, both local and foreign, to promote their products to culinary lovers and visitors.

At the event, local and global culinary brands associated themselves with top chefs, restaurant owners, academics, and culinary entrepreneurs, creating a colorful culinary collaboration.

UFF founder and director Janet DeNeefe said she was happy to invite local and foreign visitors to experience the richness of Indonesian cuisine, which ranged from traditional to new-fangled culinary creations.

Visitors could savor Indonesian meatballs, Indonesian pancakes "martabak" that were nothing short of a feast for the taste buds, the legendary culinary delicacy of babi guling, and vegan snacks that can be consumed without guilt. The event was held to ensure satisfied faces and full bellies.

Food For Thought, an interesting discussion session to explore insights, became a platform for producers and consumers to share stories with one another, build networking, and realize a dynamic and sustainable culinary industry. This is in line with the UFF goal to celebrate street food in Indonesia and the richness of gastronomy.

Indonesian gastronomy has come under the spotlight owing to its plethora of foods prepared with abundant spices and are emblematic of cultural philosophies.

Entering its sixth year, the latest edition of the festival was held on May 31, 2024, which kicked off with a press conference and the opening of food booths. It was held until June 2, 2024, with a variety of programs that presented new and prominent culinary talents from Indonesia along with Asia's best chefs and Michelin star award recipients.

This year, the festival opened its doors as wide as possible by offering free admission. The festival officially opened at Titik Dua, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali, on Thursday, May 29, 2024, with the launch of an exhibition of mural works in collaboration with this year's festival committee.

The festival offered a platform for local culinary business players to promote themselves. Visitors could find a variety of local authentic specialties.

The 2024 UFF was an opportunity to introduce and praise the rich culinary arts of Indonesia. With a blend of culinary tourism, education, and community empowerment, the 2024 UFF was a must-visit agenda in Bali.

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Culinary paradise and entertainment

One of the highlights of the festival this year were fermented dishes and drinks that are typical of Indonesia. Visitors could sample various fermented drinks, such as Balinese wine, that were accompanied by insights provided about the history and manufacturing process.

At least 70 culinary booths presented Nusantara's authentic flavors from various regions: sour fish soup, Raja Ampat special crab, drinks made of fermented coffee fruits, and Balinese lilit satay. Global dishes from Vietnam and Mexico, as well as alcoholic beverages, tea, and coffee brands, were also showcased at this festival.

Balinese Keroncong music and Kecak dance further enlivened the event. Keroncong is one of the music genres born from the fusion of western and eastern cultures. This genre includes string, woodwind, or flute, and vocal musical instruments.

Kecak Dance features a blend of drama and dance, where male dancers seated in a circle vociferously keep saying the word "cak" and raising both their arms. The "cak" sounds became the musical background of the performance.

This festival provided a thorough exploration of the global food scene in addition to being a foodie's paradise. Visitors could partake in cooking workshops, witness live cooking demonstrations by renowned chefs, or undertake a culinary tour to explore the authentic flavors of the archipelago.

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About UFF
Launched in 2015 by the Mudra Swari Saraswati Foundation, the UFF aims to showcase the rich culinary traditions of Indonesia on a global stage.

The festival celebrates the diversity of food and invites young Indonesians to improve their skills through culinary masterclasses and cooking demos. There, their opportunity to network is wide open. In this program, the festival organizer also included important discussions on global issues, such as the environment, sustainability, and food systems.

A living legend from Bali, Ni Wayan Murni, was named the recipient of the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award. Warung Ni Wayan Murni, which was founded in 1974, has become a top destination for travelers, both from within and outside the country.

At the festival, sustainability advocates can look forward to participating in sustainability-related discussions, while coffee lovers can take part in workshops about coffee. The festival also pampers foodies with mouth-watering cooking demonstrations and authentic cuisines.

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Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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