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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, June 3: The excitement surrounding Kuching Food Festival 2023 has reached new heights as the response from vendors increased by more than 50 per cent compared to last year.
With stall applications closed on May 31, Kuching South City Council Mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng said the number of vendor applications for the festival had exceeded expectations.
“In 2022, there were 330 stalls with over 520 applications. This year, the festival will feature 345 stalls, and we have received 809 applications.
“There is a substantial rise in interest as the number of applications this year has exceeded last year’s figures,” he shared during today’s ShallWeeTalk online session with the community.
Wee pointed out that the Council will start reviewing all the applications next week and meticulously select vendors who offer innovative, creative, and standout cuisines and delicacies.
“This is a food festival and not a ‘pasar malam’ (night market), so we want to ensure that the festival showcases a diverse range of gastronomic delights, cultural diversity, and outstanding hospitality,” he explained.
To ensure the highest standards of food safety, hygiene, and customer service, Wee emphasised that all vendors, their staff, as well as hired servers will have to undergo health checks, safety and hygiene training, and a hospitality course.
“The hospitality course aims to enhance further vendors’ skills in serving food and providing exceptional customer experiences.
“The entire course benefits the participants during the festival and equips them with valuable certification that will facilitate their future applications in the food and beverage (F&B) sector or setting up stalls at hawker centres,” he said.
Wee also welcome and encourage school and college students to join the course to upgrade their knowledge in the F&B and hospitality industry.
The course is currently in its finalisation stage and will commence once the vendor selection process is completed.
The Council is also in the process of finalising participants, including representatives from Kuching’s friendship cities like China and South Korea, who will participate in cultural performances at the festival. This collaboration will enrich the festival, foster cultural exchange, and strengthen ties between Kuching and its international partners.
Kuching Food Festival 2023 is set to return to MBKS grounds from July 28 to Aug 20. — DayakDaily