The US is making great play of its culinary theatre, Far Eastern promise comes from Hong Kong and the exotic from nearly everyone A truly global show, SIAL 2000 will have strong international participation from more than 90 countries, with 70% (3,500) exhibitors coming from overseas. It presents a unique opportunity for buyers to see and sample a vast array of products from across the world. To make visiting international participants easier, the national pavilions are being grouped by continent for the first time. - Halls 1 and 2 ­ Europe. - Hall 3 ­ rest of the world. - Hall 5 ­ regions of France This year marks the largest US national stand that SIAL has ever hosted, with 150 exhibitors on nearly 3,000 square metres. A vast array of new products will be unveiled, including aerosol fruit toppings (selected by the show organisers to appear in the SIAL innovations catalogue), custom-flavoured bagels, calcium fortified coffee, instant chilli mix and hot sauces and salsas. Other launches include soy granola and soft-serve dessert, olive oil potato chips, fajita and taco dinners, and candy holograms. The American Culinary Theater, a food demonstration area, makes its debut with bilingual chefs preparing dishes of various cuisine styles using US food products from the pavilions. Renowned New Orleans chef Paul Prud'homme will be among those at work in the demonstration kitchen. Infused dried fruit and vegetables, cooking sprays, grilling sauces and sprinkle decorations for desserts are just some of the ingredients that will be used in the culinary creations. Canada is hosting more than 60 companies in its pavilion and among the more unusual items will be Fresh Hemp Foods' roasted hemp seed, hemp coffee and hemp seed nut butter and Fiber Tech Co's Konjac flour, noodles, cookies and nutrition bars. Other interesting products include Linsey Foods' Et Tu Caesar boxed gourmet salad kits and Prairie Lane Saskatoons' sauce made with Canadian Saskatoon berry fruit. At the Philippines stand in hall 3, the focus will be on the country's key export products ­ banaba tea, coconut, mango, kalamansi (Philippine lime) and ube (purple yam), plus its best-sellers in foreign markets, such as tuna, banana chips, exotic food, pineapple and seafood. Filipino chefs will be giving cooking demonstrations using indigenous ingredients. Peru will have a collective stand for the third consecutive time and is bringing nine of its leading agricultural producers of asparagus, palm hearts, beans, mangoes, coffee, and chocolate. A variety of fresh, canned and preserved products will be featured. Brazil's participation includes 60 leading producers. The emphasis will be on meat and meat products, chocolates and confectionery, fresh and dried fruit, rice and vegetables. Hong Kong's 12 participants are bringing a wide range of products to the show, from Chinese sauces and speciality vinegars to tea and alcoholic drinks. One interesting development is the health-promoting MingCha brand of premium Chinese tea from Kwan Tea Trade. It has been selected as one of Sial 2000's innovations products. The company wants to establish a wider market for the brand and its other premium oolong teas by offering them at a lower price. Belgium will have a massive presence with 292 exhibitors displaying products for which the country is renowned, such as beer, Belgian chocolates and traditional smoked meats from Ardennes. Bord Bía, the Irish Food Board, is bringing 29 companies to promote the country's meat, dairy, beverage, fish and consumer foods industries. Participants include Bewlays, launching its Irish Breakfast tea, Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers with speciality cheeses and BIM with fresh and smoked seafood. A very large contingent will be in the meat hall. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}