Pig’s Blood Popsicles: Solo at The NYC Food Film Festival
Tracey is our food and wine editor. You can follow Tracey on Twitter where she is known as @gastrotraveler.
Every year, I seek out exciting food- and drink-related experiences at home and away. Every year, I seek out interesting, sometimes obscure films from near and far. This year, I discovered an event that combines both passions: The New York City Food Film Festival.
Following my own advice for planning food adventures (How to Travel Alone: Planning for Food and Wine Fun) I happened upon the website for the NYC Food Film Festival while casting about online for culinary events that would be taking place during a planned trip to New York.
And what an event! The idea is simple: watch films about food; eat the food. The execution is actually a little more complex and layered than it sounds.
Take, for instance, Brad Farmerie’s Southeast Asian Street Food Market. Held at the Astor Center (I will definitely go back to check out their wine tastings and cooking classes) this event featured films about street food from Malaysia, Taipei and Hong Kong. The venue was transformed into an atmospheric night market. As music played and strings of lights twinkled in the dark room, attendees wandered around feasting on remarkable renditions of typical street food, created by local chefs. In one room, I tasted squid chips which were being prepared and served hot out of the fryer in paper cones. Strikingly black from the addition of the ink, these were highly addictive. They also worked very nicely with the exotic cocktails being mixed by candlelight. In another room, I tried Beerlao, the national beer of Laos, to wash down the delicious ginger beef balls.
Following some serious and varied tastings, it was time for the show. A series of short films were screened, most showcasing foods that we had all either just eaten, or hoped we would still have room to try after the viewing. Amazing films by and about people who are absolutely passionate about their food. I was able to see exactly how my much-loved squid chips came to be. Some of the filmmakers were in attendance, including a couple who had traveled 27 hours to be there.
Then came the film about the dish that I had so far avoided. I had been thinking about it since the first day that I read about the festival: the Pig’s Blood Popsicle. I had been contemplating how strange and awful it sounded, what an unusual combination of form and content it seemed to be, and whether or not I would actually be able to consume it. But this is the unique and compelling aspect of this festival: the films place the food into context, and the food brings the films to life. And so it was that I found myself in Manhattan (or was it Taipei?), on a steamy night in June, noshing on a pig’s blood popsicle…and enjoying every single bite!
For more information about the New York City Food Film Festival see www.nycfoodfilmfestival.com . Now in its fourth year, the festival will be expanding to Chicago this September. I feel another trip coming on…