Surrey Fusion Festival 2019 – Multicultural Food Event
2 days. 50 countries. Thousands of people. Concerts and performances throughout. And the opportunity to gorge on foods from regions as far-flung as Kazakhstan and Togo. You bet your milky buns Surrey Eats was all over Fusion Festival to bring you the incredible edible action!
The crowds were as diverse as the tents, everybody soaking up the 31 degree sun and enjoying the vibrant cultures that make Surrey such an exciting place to live, work and play.
We started the festivities with a sample from the friendly family at the Algerian tent. They were offering healthy sweets like fruit-and-pistachio-crusted dates and maple-candied nuts. Both were sublime but…
THIS was where Algeria really shined. I think the Algerian Merguez ($8) was my favourite food item from the entire Fusion Festival. This “sandwich” was made up of natural lamb sausage sheathed in lambskin for your pleasure, loaded with fragrant cumin and smothered in a mixture of spicy Algerian sauce and thyme-and-basil Mediterranean sauce with a hidden underbelly of cooked onion and garlic tucked under the sausage.
Quite possibly the best hot dog I’ve ever had, the creators of this delicacy used to run Fez on Robson St. and continue to supply their merguez to high-end restaurants in the city. They’re currently trying to get these lamb-skinned wonders into Costco, so keep an eye out and both fingers crossed!
I was badly in need of a pick-me-upper and a cool down, so what better way to satisfy my urges than with some of Taiwan’s finest bubble tea! Although as is often the case I forgot to ask for Half Sweet. The Black Tea with Pearls was $5.
And I guess with these I forgot to ask for Full Stink. The Deep Fried Stinky Tofu ($6) didn’t give me the usual throat-punch of sweaty sock taste I was looking for, in fact the pickled cabbage salad was stinkier than the tofu. Give this a pass next year, they’ve obviously dumbed down the recipe for Surrey Fusion Festival, perhaps so as to not overwhelm the other tents with their deliciously repugnant stench.
Craig wisely passed on the stinky tofu but wanted to try these Wheelcakes (3 for $5) which were new to both of us.
We had custard, Oreo, and Nutella. Craig scarfed all the custard before I got to try but I will say the Nutella was pretty delish. The fluffy pancake covering kept the creamy Nutella nice and warm inside even though we saved it for last. The Oreo was soft not crunchy. I’m not a big fan of Oreos but I prefer this to the cookie for sure.
Next on our Fusion Festival rounds was the El Salvador tent run by the folks at El Cocal catering. Craig chose the Chicken Tamale ($5). There was just no way to make this look pretty, sorry guys! Smears of brown hotsauce, clumpy curtido (cabbage salad), and a squished up tamale were served up on a banana leaf.
There was a big chunk or two of chicken inside the tamale, chunky potato, chickpeas, and olives WITH PITS! C’mon guys, are you inviting a lawsuit? How about a heads up, we definitely weren’t expecting that in a soft tamale!
I was excited to try the Traditional Pupusa ($6) after hearing how polarizing the main ingredient is. Loroco flower is apparently quite perfume-y, and I heard that people really love it or hate it. Also it’s supposedly quite hard to come by in Canada so I jumped at the opportunity.
Unfortunately they either didn’t use enough or got their hands on a bad batch because there was definitely nothing offensive about this pupusa, I could only taste the cheese and didn’t detect even a hint of fragrance.
The Elotes Locos ($5) was a step up from the last two rather bland offerings. The sweet succulent corn was a great showcase for El Cocal’s homemade hotsauce and the butter and parmesan brought the salt. Perfect eats for the hot summer weather of Surrey Fusion Festival.
We’re just getting totally cray cray today with all this “loco” business. If you thought the corn was crazy wait til you see what these vatos do with a mango. Chili powder, salt, and lemon juice. Yup, call the ambulance and bring out the straitjackets. Actually Mangos Locos ($6) is quite popular across Latin America and with good reason. The flavours blend seamlessly together to create a well-rounded taste experience.
I get this every year, but just remember to watch out when you turn to leave the tent with your plate of insanity… The mangoes are slippery and the ground in front of the tent was littered with casualties. CRAAAAZY!!
CRAZY NOODLE BURRITO! Yeah if anything’s a little nuts it’s this Indo Mie Noodle Burrito ($5), courtesy of the folks at Surrey Fusion Festival’s Indonesia tent. It came with a free packet of instant noodles which was a nice touch. Chicken, purple cabbage and carrots, fried and fresh onion. Not as terrible as you might think, but nothing here that’s going to wow anyone either.
Alfajores de Maicena ($2) are a soft and crumbly buttery cookie made from corn starch and filled with dulce de leche and crusted with coconut. Super sweet but small, about three bites worth. Alfajores have a rich tradition dating back to 16th century Spain and come in a variety of styles, with Uruguay having a distinctly separate recipe from its honey, flour and almond-based Spanish counterpart.
The lineups just did not let up for the German tent and it’s rows upon rows of rotating pork hocks. No matter how many they served up they just could not keep up with the hordes of hog-loving Surrey Fusion Festival goers.
The Half Hock ($10) was definitely worth the wait though, and the golden brown glistening pork lit up and luminescent in the midday sun was the stuff of poetic reverie. We slathered ours up with mustard and barbecue sauce, which dripped down onto the hearty slice of multigrain bread hidden beneath. The sauerkraut was strong and pungent and this was probably the most filling meal and despite the price, possibly most bang for your buck at the fest.
We had just enough time and tickets left for one last dessert at the Surrey Fusion Fest, so I picked this Milky Bun ($5) to go out with a bang. This disgustingly decadent dessert features a frosted donut sliced in half, dolloped with a scoop of ice cream in the middle (cookies and cream was recommended to me without a moment’s hesitation by the girl manning the tent), TOASTED and topped with even more sickly sweet toppings.
I chose cookie crumble to go with the theme and caramel drizzle to make the ice cream scoop in the center sundae-style. If you could freebase sugar this would be the feel I’m sure. If you dare to order this best to warn your friends in advance that you may be acting a little strange for the next couple hours…
And yes they use a special panini press to toast the doughnut without melting the ice cream. It’s called a Waring PreGel and the thought immediately crossed my mind that I NEED ONE OF THESE!! Unfortunately they retail for over $500 US.
If you’ve been following Surrey Eats lately you know what time it is, check out the pics below and see if you’ve been featured! Til next time Surrey.