Food Safari a big success - Nov 24, 2008 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Food Safari a big success

SPH subdiary Sphere, together with exhibitors, welcomed 255,000 visitors.

By Rebecca Lynne Tan
Nov 24, 2008
The Straits Times

Crowds thronged the African chapati booth at last weekend's Food Safari, eager for a taste of the spicy chicken wrap.

Business was so good that the Nairobi-born owner, Mr Hezron Nyabola Nyagela, is now thinking of opening an African restaurant.

This is one of the success stories that have come out of the three-day food event held at the Suntec Convention Centre from Nov 14 to 16.

The food carnival and home electronics event, which also featured cooking demonstrations by Sunday Times food writers, was Singapore Press Holdings subsidiary Sphere Exhibits' first event.

The 255,000 visitors had their pick of over 100 food stalls, and both organisers and exhibitors are calling it a success.

Mr Nyagela, 37, managing director of African artefacts company Art Africa, who set up the African chapati stall for the first time, says: 'I couldn't tell how many people were queuing up, but I just kept getting orders to make chapatis.'

They are rolled up flatbreads filled with cabbage, grapes, tomato and chicken marinated with a Kenyan blend of herbs and spices.

He says he first came up with the idea of selling the traditional festive snack when he noticed the big crowds at the Turkish kebab store at a pasar malam in Geylang Serai earlier this year.

Spanish Iberico ham distributor Solymer Asia says it sold all its 200 packets of pre-packaged ham by Sunday.

Major electronics retailer Audio House also fared well at the event. The company is still tallying its sales figures from the event but its spokesman says the fair drew a 'tremendous crowd'.

Cameras and LCD television sets were among the best-selling items at the event.

The spokesman adds: 'Audio House typically only joins pure electronics fairs, but the response at this first food and electronics fair was just as good.'

The feedback from visitors is also promising. Account manager Sherli Lim, 28, says: 'There was just so much to see and so much food to try - I could barely soak everything in.'

Mr Chua Wee Phong, 48, executive director of Sphere Exhibits, says: 'We thought it was very encouraging to see so many people at the first show.' The crowd exceeded their target of 150,000 visitors.

Mr Chua adds that Sphere is looking into adding more seating between stalls to make the food areas less congested.