'Food is what gathers us together': Filipino food fest serves up culture, competition

The event is about sharing Filipino food and culture.

The Food Trip Filipino Food Festival is happening this weekend

Lourdes Federis is one of the organizers of the Food Trip festival. ( Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

At a Winnipeg festival running this weekend, food might be what brings people together — but it's also the source of fierce competition.

The Food Trip Filipino Food Festival, running Saturday and Sunday, is a biannual event that brings food trucks and hungry crowds to Tyndall Park Community Centre. One of the event's organizers, Lourdes Federis, said the event is about sharing Filipino food and culture with people in Winnipeg. 

A festivalgoer at Food Trip Filipino Food Festival at Tyndall Park Community Centre in Winnipeg. ( Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

"It's about sharing that moment with our families who didn't grow up in the Philippines and our new friends and families," Federis said.

"We really wanted [Winnipeg] to be our home, so we wanted to bring a piece of home here."

But the event is also, for some, about eating as much as you possibly can.

Staff at Hot Rod's Filipino Grill barbecue meat skewers at the festival. ( Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

On Saturday there were two eating competitions. One challenge involved eating balut — a developing bird embryo that is boiled and eaten from the shell —which Federis said is mostly a challenge for people who aren't Filipino.

"It's a delicacy at home but maybe not to people here. That's why we're challenging our non-Filipino friends to try it," Federis said.

"It's very good. The only trick is to close your eyes."

There was also an all-you-can eat challenge called "boodle fight," in which people eat with their hands out of a giant banana leaf.

The winners of the boodle fight competition. ( Jeff Stapleton/CBC )

The winners of Saturday's boodle fight took home a gift card (and scored a free meal).

John Lalota was on the winning team.

While it's usually not advisable to skip breakfast, Lalota said in this case, that's what gave him the competition-winning edge.

The Food Trip Filipino Food Festival runs until Sunday. It will return again in early September.