At Intern’l food expo, first-timer Norteneans showcase array of food products

A northern province vibrant in gastronomic activities, Ilocos Norte has joined for the very first time the 2015 International Food Expo, the country’s famed food trade show being held May 21- 24 at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Metro Manila.

Governor Imee Marcos said it is a great opportunity for the distinct Ilocano food heritage to be extensively presented to the rest of the country and the world.

As a biennial event, IFEX 2015 offers an ideal trading platform for the country’s food, ingredients and raw materials. It will be featuring country pavilions, celebrated chefs, product presentations and cooking demonstrations. Exhibitors will not only come from the Philippines but also from the stronghold member-economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

The rich and diverse homegrown food products of Ilocos Norte will be showcased in the exhibit.

Ilocos Norte is famous for its bawang (garlic) dubbed as the Ilocos white gold being sold in the national market at a stunning 69 percent. It could rival the garlic bulbs of Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia; and the homegrown chili similar to that of Thai pepper variety and lasona (onion) or red baby shallot.

Locals and tourists alike also relish the fried products such as chichacorn, cornick, bagnet, empanada and several indigenous food akin to the world’s best gastronomic Mecca, Noma; Abu-os (larvae of large red ants on trees), tokak (farm frog) and bisukol (ricefield snail meat).

Meanwhile, over 700 local and international exhibitors are gathered under one roof in this year’s IFEX to promote local products and realize their potentials to be exported abroad.
At llocos Norte’s pavilion, about 14 groups such as the Mango Growers Association, Namnama’s Food Product, Nana Rosa’s Chichacorn, Glomy’s Empanada, Association of Garlic Growers and Processors of Ilocos Norte, Banana Blend Food Products among others are displaying their local food products.

The Nortenean’s exhibit is set next to the booths of the cities of Dagupan, Pasig, Taguig, Quezon City and the Province of Negros Occidental. They present their heritage foods and beverages, traditional recipes, exotic regional delicacies with an emphasis on the innovative food products of small and medium enterprises.

International exhibitors come from United States, China, Taiwan, New Zealand, Thailand, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Through the years, Governor Marcos has been supportive to the gastronomic tourism and food trade and industry in the north. In fact, she initiated the Ilocos Norte Food and Trade Expo (INFOTEX) that has become an avenue of promoting products of local food entrepreneurs and helps in making them to be of top-quality and export-ready.

In addition, the province became a national breadbasket being an outstanding exporter of both high-quality rice and corn. Ilocos mangoes, the “golden fruit” of the north and saniata dragon fruits are abundant in the province.

The event is organized by the Department of Trade & Industry’s export promotions arm, the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture – Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (DA-AMAS).—(John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO)