Don’t miss your chance to jump out of your culinary comfort zone and try a new dish like Bosnian Cevapi or Vietnamese Bun Bow at this weekend’s fourth annual World Food Festival.
Thirty vendors, or "cultural cafes," will dish up homemade fare, and many are mom-and-pop kitchens preparing cuisines you won't find on Des Moines' restaurant scene. For example, the Ethiopian Association of Iowa will serve Wot (stew) and Tibs (grilled meat), a Korean vendor will sell Beef and Kim Chee (fermented cabbage) and Mi Ecuador will sell Hornado (roasted pig).
Each dish sells for less than $5, and each vendor offers $1 taste samples. Organizer Amy Eaton, of the Downtown Events Group, said the $1 items were a huge success last year. Each vendor will also hand out recipe cards that guests can compile into a festival cookbook.
The event, originally designed to kick off World Food Prize events, also features a full slate of cooking demonstrations by local chefs like Darin Sturgill of Sbrocco, Tag Grandgeorge of Le Jardin and Scott Stroud of Dos Rios.
A high-energy Celtic rock band, Needfire, will provide entertainment Friday night while bluesy Lady Blue performs Saturday. A lineup of bands and strolling entertainment will also perform throughout the weekend. Browse marketplace vendors and check out booths from local non-profits.
The festival usually draws about 25,000 people to the East Village. So bring your appetite, an open mind and a few bucks, and as "Bizarre Foods" host Andrew Zimmern says, if it looks good, eat it.
Cuisines to try
Korean: Beef and Kim Chee with steamed rice, Curry with chicken or pork, Bubble Tea
Vietnamese: Bun Bow, Banh Thit Nuong
Ethiopian: Tibs, Wot and Atkilt, Ethiopian coffee
Louisiana Creole: Shrimp Etoufee, Gumbo, Red Beans and Rice
Indian: Beef Vindaloo, Butter Chicken, Samosa, Vegetable Chaat, Masala Chai, Goolab Jamoon, Shahi Tookray, Poorun, Naan, Chicken Makhani, Navrttan Korma, Tandoori Chicken
Filipino: Pancit noodles, Pork or chicken Siomai, Steamed Bun
Mexican/Venezuelan: Tostone, Empanada, Flan
Ecuadorian: Arroz con Pollo, Hornado, Bolas de Verde, Arroz con Leche
Laotian: Pad Thai, BBQ Chicken on a Stick, Fried plantain, Taro
Bosnian: Cevapi, Sarma, Vurek, Sirnica, Gulas
El Salvadorian: Pupusa, Canoa, Tamale, Rice Pudding
Mexican: Al Pastor, Carne Asada, Cochinita Pibil, Churros, Mexcian Chocolate, Horchata
Greek: Gyros, Baklava