iFood Bazaar Brings a World Of Foreign Flavors to the Table

iFood Bazaar allowed students of various international backgrounds to share the food of their culture with the Andover community.

Strips of pork belly sizzled over a small grill as members of Andover Korean Society (AKS) cooked Korean barbeque, served with hot sauce and sticky rice, outside of George Washington Hall. Members of the club cooked continuously to keep up with the demand from students wanting to try the barbeque during International Festival (iFest), hosted by International Club.

Erica Nam ’19, Co-Head of AKS, said “One of the reasons [we chose to make Korean barbeque] is that we can do it outside, which is also fun for people to look at. And also it’s delicious, and a lot of people want it. Korean barbeque is known for its uniqueness; the whole point is to do it right before you eat it, right outside. We’re reenacting that.”

Caleb Wright ’21, a participant, said, “I’ve tried some Korean pork and sticky rice… the sauce is quite delicious, it’s overall a fantastic dish, presentation 10/10. I’m really excited to try the boba tea. I think what makes [events like this] interesting is that everybody who comes has a chance to broaden their horizons and try new food from different places of the world.”

The International Food Bazaar took place Saturday in the GW Mailroom as part of iFest. Eight different clubs, including African Student Union, Andover Japanese Connection, Andover Korean Society, Asian Society, College for Cambodia, French Club, Indo-Pak, and Southeast Asian Club, set up booths where they sold different foods from their respective cultural backgrounds.

Jennifer Lu ’19, Co-Head of International Club, said, “As an international student myself, food is a very, very integral part of my culture…so when we are talking about internationality on campus, we want to have international food on campus. And I feel like food is a way for people to bond. When I eat food, I’m happy. So having international food and lots of people coming in, it’s a bonding experience.”

Indo-Pak’s booth featured seekh kebab with lamb, a delicacy in Northern India. The club also made mango lassi, a common Indian beverage containing mango, ice cream, and sugar.

“Mango lassi is an authentic Indian drink, and it’s often served at family events, or at a restaurant. Mango lassi is common, and people at Andover love it, so it’s [because of] the popularity of it [that we chose to make it],” said Mangai Sundaram ’19, Co-Head of Indo-Pak.

Southeast Asian Club offered Thai food, including pad thai, a stir-fried noodle dish, as well as Thai iced tea. According to Co-Head Best Chantanapongvanij ’19, since the club represents many different countries, they hope to feature food from a different country every year.

“This time we are doing Pad Thai, and next time we plan to do dishes from Malaysia, so we are trying to give Andover, casually, the taste of each country. I’m glad that people liked [what we served],” said Chantanapongvanij.

iFest served as an opportunity to introduce more diverse dishes to the Andover community.

“Everybody thinks that African culture is just this one thing, and that’s a really false [assumption] because there’s a lot of different layers of [culture]. In some places, spices isn’t really that prominent but in other [places] spices is everything. Some places focus more on more boiled dishes while other places focus more on more fried styled types,” saids Megane Bantefa ’19, Co-Head of African Student Union.

“We often generalize all Asian food, but at this event you see how diverse the culture is. Even within India itself, [in] North India we have kebabs and things like that and in South India there’s a lot of more rice-based meals, versus the wheat-based meals in North India,” said Sundaram.