Multicolored flags from around the world covered the rows of student mailboxes in the mailroom of George Washington Hall as the steam from udon noodle soup and the smell of sweet and sour pad thai noodles filled the air. Students devoured the food as they mingled among the crowd and listened to international music of iFood.
Organized by International Club (iClub), iFood is the food bazaar of International Festival (iFest), which was held last Saturday night. The mailroom turned into a market that featured food items made by individual students and clubs.
“I think the food bazaar is a really important part of [iFest], because it is a chance for both iClub and the other cultural organizations on campus, including [Chinese Taiwanese Student Association (CTSA)], Chinese Language Club, [Indian and Pakistani Society], Japanese Club and Southeast Asian Club to really come out and introduce people to some aspects of culture, in this case food, which is I think a universal message,” said Michael Shen ’16, Co-Head of iClub.
CTSA prepared crispy fried rice and sweet bubble tea. The club also served three types of steamed dumplings: pork and crunchy cabbage, pork and seasoned mushroom and one vegetarian option.
“For some people, [certain] food is really common to them growing up, but other people in this school might never have heard or tasted it. So it’s really interesting for us to stand there and try to convince people like, ‘Why don’t you try some?’ I think this [interaction] adds to the theme of iFest, like trying to help other people understand our culture,” said Sarah Ding ’17, Co-Head of CTSA.
Andover Korean Society (AKS) served tteokbokki, a savory marinated rice cake containing fish. The club cooked at the event, barbecuing bulgogi and samgyeopsal, marinated beef and pork, respectively, on a mini grill.
“[In previous years] when AKS participated in iFest, we had the same menu,” said Junhyuk Chang ’16, co-head of AKS. “But this time, we thought we’d try something new… we tried ddukbokki, and actually, a lot of people liked it! So we’re introducing a new aspect of the Korean culture, because if foreigners think about Korean food, they’d think about kimchi or bibimbap, but by introducing them to new foods, we’re raising awareness of the Korean culture.”
Syrupy Mexican hot chocolate, made from semi-sweet chocolate, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla, was also served at iFood.
“You get to share your culture [at iFest],” said J.P. Ramos ’18, a board member of iClub. “My culture is Mexican culture. There are stereotypes about food. You get to share what your food actually tastes like. [iFood] also shows authentic food in the United States, and it’s amazing.”