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Cultures tasted through International Food Festival

  • Luis Coca, freshman business major, holds Anastasia Motiti, freshman music major, in a dip at the end of their dance at the International Food Festival on Saturday, March 1 in Visser Hall. There were several cultural dance and music performances during the event. (Will Austin)
  • The atrium in Visser Hall swarms with people Saturday, March 1 for the 2014 International Food Festival. Individuals and registered student organizations sold traditional food from countries around the world. (Will Austin)
  • Students from South Korea perform a traditional dance which later transformed into modern hip-hop, Saturday, March 1 at the International Food Festival in Visser Hall Atrium. People could watch cultural performances while they ate food from around the world. (Will Austin)
  • Cindy Nielsen, freshman biology major, scans the menu of world foods offered at the International Food Festival March 1 in the Visser Hall Atrium. Regions that were represented included North Africa, East Asia, Central Asia, Europe, Central America and the Middle East. (Will Austin)

Students from all over the world got a taste of different cultures at the International Food Festival on Saturday, March 1 in the atrium of Visser Hall. The event featured student cuisine from over a dozen different countries, as well as dance and music performances throughout the day.

“It’s been really awesome seeing all of the cultures that are in Emporia coming together for this,” said Shelby Bisnett, senior Spanish major and Spanish Club member.

The food festival, which is coordinated by the Office of International Education, has been taking place in the atrium of Visser Hall for the last 27 years. It saw higher numbers of both student turnout and involvement from student organizations. The event used to take place in the fall, but was moved to the spring in 2011.

Bisnett said there was “definitely a greater variety of food” than she had expected and that the event was much bigger than last year.

Spanish and Latin food and beverages, such as empanadas, tres leches cake and non-alcoholic sangrias were sold at the Spanish Club’s booth. Bisnett said most of the food was made by Spanish Club members, but the empanadas were donated by community volunteers.

The French Club had quiche, coconut biscuits and sweet crêpes available for sale at their booth. Blanche Gelis, junior communication major and international student from France, helped make the crêpes.

She said sweet crêpes are made from a thin pancake-like batter made with wheat flour and are served with toppings such as fruit, whipped cream or Nutella.

Gelis said she particularly enjoyed the Chinese and Arabic food at the festival.

“I love the dance show and the music,” Gelis said.

The Japanese Association Sakura booth sold a variety of Japanese cuisine, such as teriyaki chicken and sushi. Nahoko Yano, freshman history major, sold matcha at the J. A. Sakura booth.

“Matcha is a tea made from finely powdered green tea leaves,” Yano said.

Yano said the music and seeing all the different cultures coming together were her favorite parts of the festival.

Laraib Abid, senior sociology major and international student from Pakistan, and Sumaira Bibi, junior sociology major and international student from Pakistan, sold seviyan, a dessert dish.

Abid said the dish is served warm and is made from “rice noodles, milk, sugar, almonds, pistachios and dried fruits like raisins.”

Ruth Campos, senior library and information sciences major, sold homemade pork and chicken tamales at the festival. Campos said she made the tamales the night before the event.

“It’s really nice to be able to see all the culture here,” Campos said.

Campos said her favorite part of the festival was the dance performances.

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