Global Tastes: A Night of International Delights

In the mood for some General Tsao’s Chicken? How about some Pancit noodles? Apfelkuchen? Potato Omelette? Can’t make up your mind? With a few quarters, you won’t have to. A student coordinated fundraiser, Saturday’s International Food Bazaar displayed the different tastes of various countries around the world. All kinds of food from sushi to quiche were prepared by student clubs representing countries such as Italy, Japan and the Philippines. Samples of dishes were sold to students and faculty to help raise money for their clubs. One of the dishes prepared was a Filipino specialty called Pancit noodles. Sold for 50 cents a plate, they were made using Canton noodles, vegetables, lemon, and various spices. When asked about the cultural significance of Pancit noodles in Filipino culture, Kathryn Quijano ’08 said, “If you eat Pancit noodles on your birthday, they are said to bring you a longer life.” Filipino cuisine has been greatly influenced over the years by various countries, most dominantly Spain and China. Accents of Spanish cooking can be found in most Filipino dishes, creating a spicy, distinct taste. The Canton noodles used in cooking Pancit originated in China, but the Pancit dish is prepared in a way that sets it apart from traditional Chinese noodles. The Philippino club also sold “Food of the Gods” – a walnut desert, and mango bars. Another popular dish was Apfelkuchen, a German desert made with apples, flour, butter, sugar and eggs. Drizzled with a sugary topping and served with vanilla ice cream, the Apfelkuchen desert tasted similar to apple pie. Marty Schnure ’06, Justin Yi ’06, and Julia Littlefield ’06, were elated with the success of their German desert. Replying enthusiastically to my questions, they all joined in to say, “Most importantly, this desert was made with a whole lot of love.” The Chinese Taiwanese Student Association (CTSA) also enjoyed huge success during the Food Bazaar. Two very popular meals were General Tsao’s chicken and fried dumplings. The General Tsao’s chicken was especially popular among the students. Covered in a sauce made with ginger, soy sauce, and various other spices, the chicken is most often served with white rice. The chicken was very sweet tasting, but had somewhat of a tangy flavor mixed in as well. Complimenting this meal were the fried dumplings, also being served by CTSA. When talking with Jeni Lee ’06, she revealed that they were made with pork, chicken, onions, flour, and a few other ingredients. She also mentioned that they were commonly served with soy sauce, vinegar, or hot sauce, but could also be eaten by themselves. CTSA also served bubble tea, a very popular beverage that originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s. The importance of bubble tea in Taiwanese culture is often paralleled to coffee or soda in the United States. Upon visiting AKS (Andover Korean Society), students were met with a wide variety of foods. The choices included a common Korean desert called Shaved Ice. Jean Pak ’07 said that shaved ice consisted mainly of red bean paste and ice, but also included mangos, jelly, and strawberry syrup. It is generally eaten with Dduk rice, or “Rice Cakes” as one student described them. “The shaved ice desert is very unique and has a very tasteful and distinct flavor,” commented Michelle Kwon ’09. She went on to describe the other meals being served at the table, while enthusiastically waving over prospective customers. The shaved ice had a very fruity, refreshing taste and was a great closing desert at the festival. The International Food Festival was an overall success and effectively taught students about foods and cultures from around the world.