Fair, Food, Festival: Tong Tong Fair’s 63rd edition in The Hague

From 31 August – 10 September

Tong Tong Fair returns in September with a bigger Eetwijk and a new Asian style Food Court
The  Hague, 4 August 2023 — Tong Tong Fair, the Eurasian festival in an archipelago of tents, returns with its 63rd edition from 31 August to 10 September at Malieveld in The Hague. This year, the Tong Tong Fair introduces the Food Court where visitors can enjoy dishes from a variety of different food stands in an inviting central seating area. More good news for food lovers is that there are more food stands this year than during previous editions. As is tradition, the Tong Tong Fair boasts a wide range of culture, culinary delights, entertainment, and activities. Tickets are already on sale.

Asian style Food Court
A staple in Southeast Asia, but new at this year’s Tong Tong Fair: The Food Court. For Tong Tong Fair’s 63rd edition, the festival organisation decided to create an Asian-style Foodcourt in the restaurant area, called ‘De Eetwijk’. Tong Tong Fair Director Siem Boon explains: “The past few years, food stand exhibitors struggled more and more with finding restaurant staff. This had to be addressed, which is why we are introducing the Food Court this year. Visitors can now order from a food stand of their choice and then take a seat anywhere in the Food Court to enjoy their meal. As a result, exhibitors no longer have to take care of their own seating area, so they can completely focus on creating delicious dishes. Plus, visitors can now all order from a different restaurant and still eat together! The exhibitors are very happy that we decided to use this set-up, and it shows because we see an increase in participation from restaurants this year.”

Ticket sales
True to tradition, people can go on a journey of discovery through Southeast Asia at the Tong Tong Fair. The organisers have noticed that there is growing enthusiasm for attending the festival. Boon continues: “Last year, during the 62nd edition of the Tong Tong Fair, last year 3 of the 11 days of the festival were sold out. So we want to urge our visitors to buy tickets online ahead of their visit to the Tong Tong Fair in order to avoid disappointment at the box office. That being said, this year’s Tong Tong Fair does have a different set-up with more capacity.”

Programme highlights
Once again, this year’s edition of the Tong Tong Fair packs a diverse programme. A special highlight is the participation of Didik Nini Thowok. Didik will perform traditional women’s dances from Java and Bali with his dancers from 3 to 5 September; this form of cross-dressing is also an old tradition, which Didik wants to keep alive. Also, Monica Akihary will take the stage with Boi Akih and guest musicians on Thursday 7 September. Akihary is this year’s recipient of the Boy Edgar Prize, the most prestigious jazz award in the Netherlands. There will also be performances by Massada, Nusantara Beat, Erwin van Ligten, the Crazy Rockers, Music Road Pilots and JazzmasterMania, among others. From Indonesia, the dance and music groups Sumbar Talenta (West Sumatra) and Yayasan Anging Mammiri (South Sulawesi) will perform, among others. In addition, the Kooktheater will host various cooking demonstrations by famous chefs such as Jaimie van Heije (sous chef Ron Blaauw) and Friso van Amerongen (head chef Rijks); Marc Pieplenbosch (owner of Sayah Spekkoeklikeur and Bandoeng’22 Pandan Liqueur) will serve Friday afternoon drinks.

In the Indonesia Pavilion there are dozens of exhibitors who travel to the Netherlands especially for the Tong Tong Fair with special merchandise. And in the large midnight-blue tent of the Grand Pasar, there will be exhibitors from Vietnam, India, Nepal and other countries. In the Entrance, you will find the Pasar Boekoe, a specialised bookshop (powered by Paagman, the independent bookseller in The Hague) with a huge, carefully selected selection of novels, cookbooks, history books, children’s books, and much more. There is also a large collection of second-hand books available. Also English-language!

Biggest Eurasian fair in the world
The Tong Tong Fair (1959) in The Hague is the biggest Eurasian fair in the world. The event is a sensory stimulating blend of cultural festival, exhibition and food fest rolled into one, held in an archipelago of tents and stands. One of the biggest attractions is the Tong Tong Festival, with hundreds of performances spread over 11 days. The daily entry ticket for the Tong Tong Fair also includes a theatre pass for the Tong Tong Festival. So, if you don’t have the time or money to travel all the way to Southeast Asia, come to the Tong Tong Fair in The Hague and imagine that you are in the East.

August 31st up to and including September 10th, 2023
Malieveld, Koningskade 1, The Hague (a five minutes’ walk from The Hague Central Station)