The International Food Fair is back and I can't wait to get stuck in. There are 140 stalls around Birmingham. It's in town for almost two weeks – plenty of time to visit them all. There will be live music too.
Floozie in the Jacuzzi also known as Victoria square is rife with exotic scents, roasting meats and cooked spices mingling around the stalls, stands, and tents dotted between the old library, the square, and down New Street.
The International Food Fair is called international for a reason - the food stalls include cuisine from every continent. You'll find European, African, Asian, Caribbean and British meals on offer.
I recall my first visit to the food fair, about six years ago now, when I attended with my sister and best friend. As we milled around there was one delicacy that caught all of our attention: Ostrich burgers. The firm favourite that gets mouths watering and tongues wagging are considered a delicacy of Australia, but are actually a popular meat in Europe. Ostrich is one of the highest sources of protein, and one of the lowest fat meats in the world. It doesn't taste too bad either.
I attend at one point every year, and it never fails to impress. It's a foodie's heaven because of the sheer variety and quality of food on offer, and this year, there are two stands featuring my current addiction: churros. The hot, skinny doughnut/waffle-like sticks are coated in sugar, cinnamon and come served with a pot of hot, thick, melted chocolate. I have tried churros countless times, and this version is pretty good. The staff behind the stall in Centenery square are particularly friendly, and they gave us a pot of extra chocolate when we'd polished off the first batch.
Perfect to share, or eat all to yourself, churros, coated with sugar, with a pot of chocolate, or just with a little cinnamon are delicious, but I warn you, they are addictive.
Sugar and cinnamon isn't the only reason you might want to visit the food fair. It's a lively, fun, and safe environment for families, and groups. Security guards police the area, but they won't stop you enjoying yourself.
Over the weekend it will get busier, but during the week, even at peak times (lunch, and evenings), there is still room to move around. We spotted numerous prams, large groups of young students, and various aged people all enjoying the fair - it really is the perfect place for everyone to try different types of food, and broaden their culinary experience.
We stopped at the Woktastic stall for some fresh noodles and chicken katsu curry. The chef cooked the egg noodles fresh and topped with the hot curry sauce, and fried chicken. Seeing the food you're about to eat being cooked right before your eyes always has a certain appeal. Visually pleasing, the meal didn't disappoint in flavour, either.
A box of noodles cost £4.00 from Woktastic, and our carton from the Provencal stall, which is the French tent serving large portions of cheesy, garlic potatoes, and creamy and mustard-soaked, chicken, also cost £4.00.
We hung out on the provided benches, but others were slouched on the monument in Centenery Square, the steps of the art museum, and steps leading up to the old library.
Informal is the dress code; so pull on your easy, loose-fitting pants, and let the mouth-watering scents beguile you. The relaxed festical-like nature of the food fair means everyone is in a jovial mood, and when there's good food to boot, there's no reason not to smile.