Kuching Food Fair: High prices, lack of variety behind low attendance?

Visitors to Kuching Festival 2023. – Photograph: Galileo Petingi

KUCHING (August 17): High prices, lack of variety and parking issues are among the main reasons why many city folks say they haven’t revisited this year’s Kuching Festival Food Fair.

As for food prices, many visitors find it quite expensive compared to last year’s edition.

“I plan to go there just one more time before the festival is over. “I can’t go many times because the food is expensive,” said 27-year-old Victor Chong. Borneo PostHe said he only went to the food fair last week – a little over two weeks after the official opening.

“For the Kuching Food Festival, most people can only afford to go maybe once. Depending on how much you want to spend, it will be three times the maximum.

“I understand why vendors have to raise prices because they have invested so much to pay the machine rent. Raw material prices have also increased,” he said.

Victor Chong

Still, Victor was pleasantly surprised to find that some interesting items were included, including authentic Chinese cuisine.

“Unlike the dinners I’ve attended in the past years, I can surprisingly see more Chinese cuisine like ‘scented tofu’ this year. French pastries such as croissants are also available.

“Before that, there was a lot of Korean food you could get cheaper outside of the festival,” he said.

When asked about his potential interest in attending the event next year, he said he would consider going if unique and exotic cuisines were included in the festival.

“I would love to go if exotic foods like those served in Thailand and Japan are included!” said.

Recently, Kuching South mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng reportedly said that this year’s total attendance exceeded 621,000 as of Aug.

Entering the final days of the festival, the mayor expressed his hope that the total number of visitors could exceed one million.

Another name participating in the festival is Perseus Giter, a 32-year-old food and beverage business owner, who said that he visited the festival on the first day of its opening.

As an annual goer, this time she has revealed her mixed feelings towards the festival and observed that most of the dishes remain unchanged – just rebranded and served by different vendors.

“I believe the food is largely similar to previous editions,” he said.

Perseus Guitar

Regarding food prices at the festival, Perseus believes vendors were forced to raise their prices due to inflationary pressures.

“I understand why some foods can be a little pricey. As an F&B business owner, I’m also impressed. Some can afford it, some can’t.

“For example, the most I spent in last year’s edition was RM50. I spent around RM 80 for just one night at the festival this year.

I was also told that (stop) rental prices have increased,” he said.

When asked if he will go again, Perseus says he plans to bring his children just before the food fair ends.

“Shortly before it was over, I decided to go a second time because finding a parking space is quite a hassle. I also don’t find it necessary to go many times, maybe two or three times is enough – unless you want to blow your wallet,” he joked.

Perseus said he hopes next year’s edition will feature more international vendors offering real cuisines.

“While foreign food options are available, the majority are prepared by local vendors and adapted to suit local preferences through fusion.

“I tend to attend the festival next year if they consider inviting foreign vendors who can offer real renditions of their dishes. I hope that such a regulation will be taken into consideration,” he said.

A hopeful participant who had never attended the festival before shared the excitement of finally being able to go to the festival for the first time.

“I have never attended a festival before. “This will be my first time,” said 20-year-old Christopher Seloan. Borneo Post.

“I was living outside the city. Now that I’m staying with my relatives in the city, this is my chance to go.”

When asked where he learned about the festival, he said he first heard about it from a relative.

“I noticed that there was a public event at the MBKS field and asked my relatives. That’s when I learned that it was the Kuching Festival Food Fair,” he said.

Christopher Seloan

She shared the excitement of finally having time to go, as she plans to attend with her cousins.

“Since I learned that it was the festival, I wanted to go very much, but I could not attend due to time constraints. I hope to participate this week and I am actually very excited.”

The Kuching Festival Food Fair ends on August 20.

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