The smell of dumplings and Spanish flan, an open rimmed pastry with sweet filling, wafted through the air of George Washington Hall as students milled around, balancing plates of food. The mailroom was filled with music as students gathered around rows of food stands.
iClub hosted iFood, the food portion of iFest, this past weekend. According to Malika Dia ’17, co-head of iClub Activities, the event has been held for 26 years. Offering various selections of delicacies from around the world, iClub hoped to offer a chance for international students to connect with and showcase their heritage to others in the community through the advent of food.
“I think that a lot of international students miss having their food. It’s just such a big part of someone’s culture and someone’s home, so we just like to promote that a little bit and give people the opportunity to share the food they want to bring to the table,” said Dia.
The spicy aroma of the food pervaded the room as IndoPak served butter chicken, naan, and white rice, a signature Indian dish. Nadha Illikal ’17, co-head of IndoPak, painted henna designs on students’ hands as an addition to their food booth.
“Indians have a lot of different subcultures but [butter chicken, naan, and white rice] is a standard Indian dish that comes across all of the cultures. It’s a very good dish to represent all of the Indian cultures and to the broader perspective of the globe. I think it’s important for every culture to be represented. It was a really great opportunity for us to showcase our culture. And food is one of the best ways to do so,” said Illikal.
Alianza Latina, a club representing Latina students and their cultures, prepared Mexican hot chocolate, which is more textured than regular hot chocolate, and Mexican candy. Presented each year at iFood, the Mexican hot chocolate is served from a thermos, a drink well-received in line with the upcoming winter.
“[Selling Mexican] homemade hot chocolate reminds me of home, which is filled with a bunch of different Peruvian foods and very similar tasting hot chocolate,” said Emily Sanchez ’18, co-head of Alianza Latina.
Andover Japanese Connection (A.J.C.), a club promoting Japanese culture within the Andover community, sold okonomiyaki, a savory pancake filled with cabbage, pork, and shrimp.
Shu Sakamoto ’17, a member of A.J.C., said, “Back in Japan we have a pancake party. Occasionally, it’s a way to communicate with friends, or even people that are not close enough to you; you just make your pancake together and by doing this you will become better friends. It’s kind of a communication tool, not just a food.”
iFood shed light on the diverse cultures in the Andover community. The event allowed students to enjoy and learn more about a variety of traditions, regardless of their heritage.
“It was really interesting seeing so much diversity in one room, and it being expressed through so many culture’s foods. Seeing all these different cultures is truly amazing and eye-opening,” said Sami El Solh ’18, a participant in the event.