Cultura Festival 2015

Cultura Festival 2015

I first heard about Cultura 3 years ago, when a friend told me about this fantastic Malaysian murtabak, that was being sold at this Friday night festival in North York. I ended seeing this vendor (and murtabak vendors) around town at various food festivals, and is now a regular on the food fest circuit.

Now in its sixth year, the Cultura Festival is great North York event that takes place every Friday Night in July. Attendees can look forward to musical performances, buskers (proceeds going to local charities), free movies, as well as very multicultural food!

The crowd at Cultura is very manageable — lively, but not packed or overbearing. There were roughly 10-12 vendors, with about 6 tents on each side of the promenade.

mel_lastman

Tonight’s busker was a magician, contorting his body to escape his chained straitjacket. All proceeds from his busking goes toward a local charity, which was a wonderful idea from the Cultura organizers.

magician

Zimbabwean-style Pies from Mnandi (www.mnandipies.com) looked really delicious, but we didn’t have any space for these. We will definitely be trying these on a future visit. They can be found at a few other farmer’s markets around town.

mnandi_stand

mnandi_pie

It’s been a while since we’ve had dosa, so we jumped at the opportunity to have Saag Paneer Dosa ($8) from Banajara Indian Cuisine. They have a store down near Bloor/Christie, so I was a bit surprised to see them trek so far north for this event. A lot of other patrons opted for the Butter Chicken Dosa, which looked pretty great as well.

banjara_sign

dosa_grill_1

dosa_grill_2

dosa_sauces

We found the dosa to be just “okay”. The Saag Paneer didn’t taste enough like spinach — it was non-descript savory/salty, which we found unfortunate. The Paneer itself was good, with large satisfying cubes. The dosa wasn’t as thin as the paper dosas I usually order, and the dough doesn’t have the slight sour tang to it. The masala potatos were fine, but the white coconut chutney tastes a tiny bit off/stale. Definitely not the best dosa I’ve had, but it was alright for a food festival stall.

dosa

The murtabak ($9, or $10 w/ 2 drinks) at Malaysian Murtabak was good as always. I’ve featured them before in other posts (Night It Up, Taste of Lawrence). The dough is freshly pulled and stretched onto the griddle, meat (chicken or beef) scooped into the center, with an egg cracked in and mixed. The egg makes all the difference, keeping the meat stay moist. The self-serve chutneys can easily be skipped though.

malaysian_murtabak

Caplansky’s had a few sliders and sandwiches on their menu.

caplansky_sign

caplansky_sample

Taco Fusion had Tacos, Burritos, and Quesadillas filled with Jerk Chicken, Korean BBQ Beef, and Vegetarian filling. Definitely very fusion and different.

fusion_taco

Gushi had their signature Chicken Karaage, as well as Takoyaki. It wasn’t very busy though, compared to Gushi’s usual line-ups at other events. I think the Takoyaki are prepared in advance, and deepfried on site.

gushi_stand

There was also another Takoyaki stand, making fresh takoyaki on their grill.

takoyaki_grill

All in all, Cultura is definitely worth checking out, especially consider how wonderful the weather has been this summer on Friday evenings. If you’re in North York, and don’t care to trek too far downtown, this is a good option for a comfortable Friday night out.

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