Food, undoubtedly, plays a central role in Filipino culture. With each region of the Philippines having its own specialty dish, wouldn’t it be nice to have the different flavors of the country showcased in just one place? That’s the concept, and what Fiesta Bahia at SM MOA seeks to achieve. This by no means is a small undertaking and the question that begs to be answered is, “Are they able to fulfill this goal?”
Fiesta Bahia Schedule:
Fridays to Sundays
from 4 pm to 3 am
Fiesta Bahia Location:
SM by the bay, SM Mall of Asia (MOA)
They set up tent near the fountain area, just across The Music Hall.
Fiesta Bahia at MOA is the latest project from the same group that brought us Mercato Centrale in Taguig City. You may visit their facebook page for more information.
The Philippines has been playing catch up with the rest of its Asian neighbors in terms of night food market. Fiesta Bahia at MOA took this concept of serving street food within a confined, clean area and stepped it up by serving not just local dishes around the metro, but that of the entire country. Marketing itself as a Philippine culinary tour in just one place, one cannot help but have grand ideas of what to expect.
There are some regional food like bagnet and sisig; though most, almost half, of the stalls are selling ihaw-ihaw (barbecue). Instead of kakanin (sweet delicacies often made with rice or root crops), there were cheesecakes. There’s a Korean food stall and one that sells baby back ribs and other southern comfort food. Fiesta Bahia at MOA didn’t feel (taste) like taking a culinary tour around the Philippines.
As expected, there aren’t enough seats to accommodate the large number of diners at Fiesta Bahia at MOA. The tables being set in the middle of the tent, between the food stalls, plus the queue of diners waiting to be served their orders equate to a cramp, humid atmosphere. Almost comparable to a rush hour trip in the MRT.
There is also the issue of waste disposal. Given the limited seating, several of the patrons consume their food standing, squatting or sitting on the grass/pavement around the tent. Most of the time food containers, cups, utensils, etc. are left lying around after their contents are spent. The organizers of Fiesta Bahia at MOA have assigned people buss tables, but they can only do so much considering the volume of diners. I was not able to find a trash bin around the tent. If there is one, they hid it pretty well.
Free Zumba classes are held at Fiesta Bahia at MOA every 5 pm to 6 pm. No one joins the routine despite the instructor’s fervent appeals to the audience. Still, it’s fun watching them.
I’ve been to several other night food markets, and it seems that the food choices are one and the same. Even those organized by other groups. The seating capacity/layout also needs to be addressed; although, there are several open spaces around for the less discriminating who doesn’t mind dining picnic style.
Having just opened July 2013, Fiesta Bahia at MOA is still fairly young. That said, I’m keeping an optimistic view that Fiesta Bahia will be more true to its concept of a Philippine culinary tour in the days ahead. With the organizers thinking up ideas (Zumba lessons, of all things) to draw in the crowd, the future looks bright, er… appetizing indeed!
25 September 2017 – Fiesta Bahia no longer operates at SM MOA