The 10th edition of the much-loved Eat Festival took place this past weekend in Islamabad, and it was everything the highly anticipated event represents- food and bringing people together. The festival began with the objective of reclaiming public spaces and providing the general population with quality, wholesome entertainment for the entire family.
More than sixty eateries participated in this year’s Eat Festival in Islamabad. There was a wide variety of options, with something for every palette. There was Chinese, Continental, and Kashmiri cuisine, desi staples such as barbeques and biryanis, street food, pasta and noodles, and fast food, all down to desserts, gelatos, and beverages. The free-spirited people of Islamabad overwhelmed us with their encouragement and support.
The Eat Festival has been a family day event from Day-One. Apart from the festival’s no-stags policy that minimizes chances of disruption, it was heartening to see families come together, make the most of the pleasant weather, and indulge in quality leisure time on a Sunday. People were sitting together and having conversations. There was no sense of haste in checking off stalls from a list. Instead, everyone enjoyed the festival in their own ways.
Due to security reasons, as advised by authorities, musical performances were called off on the second and third days of the festival. Host Ahmed Godil was present on ground during the second and third days of the event. He played his own playlist to add music to the event’s festivities. As the music played, people began dancing to it, which continued through the night. It became a moment of entertainment that was pure and unabashed. People took their time to become a part of the festival and enjoy it thoroughly, which has always been the objective of the Eat Festival Islamabad since day one.
The festival has always been a platform to empower women while giving them a chance to showcase their culinary skills and entrepreneurial abilities. This year, more than fifteen stalls at the festival were run and operated by women foodpreneurs who had brought their brands and delicacies. These inspiring women include Masooma Khan of the Tiffin Stories stall serving authentic Kashmiri food, Gigi’s Kitchen, a foodpanda home chef, Laila’s Gelato Stand, another foodpanda home chef, Cakery by Maryam, The Khausa Shop, and Basil Pantry to name a few.
This year, foodpanda took over a section of 10 stalls at the festival. These stalls were run and operated by some of the city’s best home chefs and concept-based brands. Each was a small-time home-based eatery looking to make an income at the Eat Festival 2023. People at the festival purchased food from these stalls and won tickets to Islamabad United matches and panda plushies.
Medical and first-aid facilities were on standby during the festival’s three days to cater to unfortunate emergencies. Nevertheless, the festival was an incredible community-building event that allowed the people of the capital city to relax, unwind, and have an enjoyable time with their loved ones over delicious food. Here’s hoping the festival continues to grow and gets better with time. The next edition of Eat Festival will take place in Lahore from March 3rd-5th! Follow their socials for more updates.