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The Antelope

Food and Culture Festival: Sharing home with Nebraska

Tariro Chinhamo and Crista Manning hold a check for ISA from Student Senate. Photo by Kosuke Yoshii / Antelope Staff

The International Student Association hosted the 46th annual Scott D. Morris International Food and Culture Festival on Sunday. Over 1,000 people gathered in the UNK Health and Sports Center to sample cuisine and enjoy performances from international students.

The festival aimed to celebrate more than just food, but also showcase the rich culture at UNK. 

“I think it’s very important for other people to experience something outside of what they normally are used to,” said Tariro Chinhamo, president of ISA. “There are so many international students on this campus, and this event is a good way to see what other cultures are about.”

Upon arrival, attendees received cookbooks containing the recipes featured at the festival. International students served the dishes buffet-style, showcasing traditional cuisine from eight different countries:

  • Indian vegetable curry rice (pav bhaji)
  • Nepalese potato fritters (aloo chop)
  • Japanese fried chicken (karaage)
  • Kenyan deviled eggs (mayai pasua)
  • Korean barbecue beef (bulgogi)
  • Somalian fried meat pastries (sambusa)
  • Italian tiramisu
  • Mexican enchiladas

International students took great care in crafting each dish, striving to create a replica of their favorite flavors from home.

“It’s actually quite a long process that starts at the beginning of the semester,” Chinhamo said. “First, students write down their recipes and what ingredients they need and we get them ordered.”

Securing certain ingredients can sometimes pose unique challenges, particularly when cooking these authentic recipes in America. With minor modifications, they can still be successfully prepared.

Several days preceding the festival, the international students had access to The Graze dining hall kitchen to skillfully cook and perfect their cuisines.

“Some countries will be preparing their food every day until Sunday for the final touches,” Chinhamo said. “From there we will bring the food into the Health and Sports Center to serve it.”

Macy Bryant, a UNK sophomore in attendance, was thoroughly impressed with the festival.

“My favorite dish was the Japanese fried chicken; I would order that again,” Bryant said. “And it’s been really entertaining to watch the performances and witness the cultures we have represented at UNK.”

The festival showcased a diverse range of seven performances, ranging from group K-Pop-inspired dances to a traditional dance from Guadalajara, Mexico. 

“Most of the performers have been rehearsing for the last three or four weeks before taking the stage,” said Purnima Maharjan, social media manager of ISA. 

Each year, the festival brings people from around the globe together. With donations from Morris Printing Group, LoperNites Funding, UNK Global and the University Program and Facility Fee, the evening’s food and entertainment remained free to the public.

Photos by Kosuke Yoshii / Antelope Staff

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Rachel Ostdiek
Rachel Ostdiek, Executive Editor
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