Around the world in eighty (or so) meals

Global Week comprises a series of events put together by the ISA (International Students Association) together with YUSU, with the aim of embracing the diversity of cultures within the student body. Their food event, ‘Food Fiesta’, was the closing event of this year’s series. At the Food Fiesta, there were ten stalls, each organised by a different society. Their offerings went from the familiar (guacamole and nachos at Latin American Society) to the more exotic (fermented eggs in Chinese Society). 145 people attended the event held at the Roger Kirk Centre, with an unsurprisingly high number of international students making up the crowd, mixed also with a large number of graduate ones. A performance of a medley of different musical styles by the Latin American Society took place at the end of the night where they were apparently voted the best performance at the previous week’s cultural night. The stalls were all decorated with flags, and the types of food were obviously quite varied. I tried the braised beef in soy sauce at the Chinese Society’s stall which was voted the best food of the night, kept warm (impressive given the layout of the event), and tasting somewhat spicy and salty, the soy sauce a naturally strong flavour. Also present were fermented eggs, a Chinese delicacy consisting of, as per its name, a boiled egg marinated in soy sauce and other spices for a period of time. It was a good opportunity to try something not as readily available, but I would not repeat the experience.

The Polish Society who came in third place veered towards the sweet side, with delicious Syrniki (cheesecake) and Babka cake being honourable mentions. The Catalan Society got political, with posters calling for the release of political prisoners next to their patatas bravas and sobrasada (a red spicy spread made of pork). Honourable mentions include the Latin American Society’s traditional Mexican chicken sandwiches made with Mole sauce (a sauce of which the main ingredient is cacao), the Dutch society’s simple but tasty Pannenkoeken (the Dutch version of pancakes) and the Japanese Society’s Sushi (and their kimonos). I had a chat with Martina Zucconelli, one of the ISA organisers, about the event. I enquired on awareness, as surely more people on campus would have been interested in attending. She responded: “This has been our biggest issue, we have advertised on campus screens, Facebook, you name it, but we are still working to find the right strategy to engage with local students about these events”. Fortunately, if anyone is interested in attending, there is always next year.

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