UNB has a diverse range of cultures within its campus. In an effort to spread cultural awareness and as part of a project through UNB Renaissance College, Khaleem Shaik, (also a member of UNBSU Food), planned a multicultural food festival. The event was co-organized by Faith Abel, the UNBSU Multicultural Initiative coordinator. Held on Tuesday, November 26, in the SUB ballroom, Shaik planned a huge party celebrating cultural diversity.
There was food originating from India, South Korea and Nigeria. Among the dishes there was chickpea potato curry, which is made from potatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk, onions and tomatoes. Curry is a very common dish served in many households in India. Pulao is a rice dish which is also very common in India.
Gulab Jamun is an Indian dessert, kind of resembling a doughnut hole, served in a sugar syrup, and is often served at festivals or parties. The dessert is very sweet, but also very tasty.
There was a food dish from Korea called Japchae, made from sweet potato noodles and vegetables (including carrots, onions and spinach). This dish is a casual dish that can be served as a side dish or a main meal.
Nigeria had some representation with a sweet item and a savory for all those out there that can not decide. The savory option was a meat pie made from ground beef, carrots and potatoes. To go along with the delicious meat pie, there was a doughnut like dessert called Puff Puff, and both are very common meals in Nigeran households.
Alongside the amazing food there was music from many different countries, dancing, laughing and trivia! All the questions were about places around the world, mostly concerned with geographical regionality. The winner was awarded a $30 gift card to the cellar pub, and the trivia was played with around thirty people, all with fun nicknames. The winner who dubbed themselves “Soup” walked away with the prize. “Soup,” if you are out there, congratulations!
As the attendees were eating, some were willing to share thoughts on what they thought about the food.
Gurleen Bansal said her favourite food of the night was Pulao from India, and she also said she is interested in trying bulgogi beef from South Korea and sushi from Japan; however, when asked if there were other cultural cuisines she was interested in trying, she said “I miss Rajma,” which is a North Indian dish from her home made from chawal (rice and kidney beans).
“My mom makes the best, and no one else makes it the same,” she said.
Another attendee Sohan Kobiri said that he missed his mother's chicken biryani, which is a North Indian dish made from rice, chicken, vegetables and spices. He said that he was really excited to try Thai and Mexican food.
When sitting down for an interview Shaik said that he wanted to promote diversity through experiences, food and celebrating different cultures. There may be plans for something similar next year but on a larger scale, including a fashion show, more music and dancing, food and artwork. If you would like to get involved you can reach out to UNBSU Food for any activities for next semester or next year; any help is appreciated.
The event had many exciting features including amazing food, good memories, dancing and laughing, and of course “Soup” winning the gift card. Shaik, UNBSU Food and UNSU Multicultural Initiative had an amazing success promoting cultural diversity in our community.