Tasting Culture

January 31, 2012


International Association's FoodFest becomes a savory tradition.
Culinary adventures
Culinary adventures: Hokkien noodles, pikliz, and baklava were among the international delights available for sampling.
Dovina Qu '12


With the aroma of exotic spices mingling in the air, the Bryan Center plaza had the feel of a crowded world bazaar during the 2011 FoodFest, an annual staple of Duke's International Association.

Begun in 2003 as a way to recognize Duke's increasing diversity, the event has grown from just five participating organizations to include nearly every cultural group on campus. The October event featured twenty-two student organizations serving food with another twelve groups performing. More than 1,000 students and community members attended, sampling international fare while enjoying culturally themed dance performances by groups such as the Southeast Asian-dance team Duke Dhamaka and the salsa troupe Sabrosura.

"Compared with previous years, we had more student groups and performance groups participating, and the line for Tshirts was especially long," says Susie Qian, president of the International Association.

Each organization received $200 to create a dish that reflected its culture's daily cuisine. Among the savory selections were Thai mango sticky rice, stir-fried Singaporean hokkien noodles, and pikliz, a spicy coleslaw soaked in vinegar prepared by the Haitian Student Alliance. Meanwhile, the Turkish Students Association pleased the crowd with samples of baklava. "It's Turkey's most prominent dessert. Besides, we like eating it as much as anybody else," said Merrill Edmonds '12, a TSA member.