Halal Food Fest Toronto 2014: Event Review

Last weekend was indeed a treat for lovers of halal food as the Halal Food Fest Toronto returned to the International Centre in Mississauga after it’s huge success last year.

I was privileged to get a media pass as well as two VIP tickets for the event which meant that my family and I could enter through the Speakers’ Entrance. However, I was glad to see that even though the crowd was huge there were no line ups at the Main Entrance this year.

  As I attended the media walk-through with Salima Jivraj, Founder and Marketing Director of Halal Food Fest, I was informed that there were more than 30,000 attendees last year and the numbers were sure to be much larger this year. With over 150,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor fun, the venue was almost double the size of last year’s event with wider aisles and over 200 vendors.
Salima Jivraj
Salima Jivraj, Founder and Marketing Director of Halal Food Fest

Two days of food, live demonstrations, seminars, cooking competitions, performances and more were enjoyed over seven festival areas: Sample City, Shops, Community Kitchen Stage, The Food Court, Main Stage, Street Fest and Kids Zone.

The event was a perfect showcase of the diversity of Canadian Muslims. After attending the media walk through I joined my family to tour Sample City where over 100 vendors were offering samples of sweet and savoury items from different cuisines.

My family’s favourite item in Sample City was the liquid nitrogen ice cream by Extreme Cream which was made from fresh ingredients right in front of our eyes. As soon as liquid nitrogen was added to the ingredients it created an interesting smoky effect and the ice cream froze in less than 20 seconds. Popcorn made with liquid nitrogen was also being served. It was amusing to see smoke coming out of everyone’s noses after eating the popcorn.

Halal Food Fest Toronto
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

Being a baking addict, I was attracted to the Redpath Sugar booth where they were handing out free sugar cookies and demonstrating dessert recipes with a halal twist.

Halal Food Fest Toronto
Redpath Sugar booth

My sweet tooth also led me to the tastefully decorated booth of Blossom and Bean which offers  marshmallows, gummies, s’more kits and vanilla extract, all halal of course. I found it hard to stop eating the pillow-soft vanilla marshmallows while asking my girls to stop munching on the gummies.

Halal Food Fest Toronto
Blossom and Bean booth

After that it was time for the Welcome address on the Main Stage where prominent politicians, entrepreneurs and Islamic scholars rubbed shoulders with sports icon Nazem Kadri who plays for Toronto Maple Leafs.

Halal Food Fest Toronto
Nazem Kadri with prominent politicians,entrepreneurs and scholars

Apart from food vendors, there were a large number of vendors selling items such as modest clothing, Islamic books, home decor, handmade soaps to name a few. My sister in law and I were glad to find some trendy jilbabs at one of the booths.

Halal Food Fest Toronto

All the shopping and browsing made us hungry again and we headed to the outdoor BBQ area a.k.a Street Fest offering ribs, burgers, steaks and a variety of other grilled delicacies. We feasted on some roasted lamb from Berbician and ribs from Daddy’s Halal Ribs, one of the most popular booths in the Street Fest area.

Halal Food Fest Toronto
Berbician roasted lamb


Halal Food Fest Toronto
Daddy’s Halal Ribs

Food trucks were a new addition to the festival this year. They were offering all kinds of delicacies such as grilled corn, shawarmas, cupcakes and sea food.

Halal Food Fest Toronto
Food Trucks

Since grilling season is here, people flocked to watch Chef Ahmed Baig demonstrating how to grill the perfect steak on the Outdoor Stage.

Halal Food Fest Toronto
Steak Grilling Demo by Chef Ahmed Baig

No festival can be complete without a Kids’ Area. My daughters couldn’t have enough of the bouncy castles even though the sun was blazing.

Halal Food Fest Toronto
Kids’ Area

After having a wonderful time on the first day I was yearning to visit it again on the second day but unfortunately my other commitments did not allow me to do so. Incidentally, my article on DIY eco-friendly cleaning products was published in Halal Foodie magazine which was distributed on the second day of the festival.

Halal Foodie Magazine
My article in Halal Foodie

The organisers had clearly worked very hard to overcome the flaws that the event experienced in it’s debut year. This year it was much bigger and better in every aspect. It was a great way to bring the community together and spread awareness about halal food. I am already looking forward to next year’s event.

Halal Food Fest Toronto
Street Fest

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