Want to learn what PSY eats?
Want to learn what PSY eats?
Members of the Korean Student Association were happy to use PSY’s celebrity as an opening to talk with visitors at the organization’s table about their culture, but they also offered people the opportunity to get to know the parts of the culture that aren’t “Gangnam Style.”
Saudi Arabian students also were eager to share cuisine and an awareness of the cutting-edge technology that is prized in their culture.
Cathy Lee Arcuino, interim director of International Programs and Services at PSU, said this was true of many of the 12 international groups represented at the International Food and Culture Fair Saturday evening.
“I think a lot of the students are just so excited to share their culture,” she said. “This is an extremely special event because this is an opportunity for all of our international clubs on campus to share their food and culture.”
Arcuino said the event also is an opportunity for residents of Pittsburg to learn about other cultures through the food and the performances taking place during the evening.
Alheli Aranda Britez is studying piano at Pittsburg State University, but performed on the guitar during the fair.
“The guitar is an instrument you can carry with you,” she said.
She said Paraguay is a country of 7 million, and events like Saturday’s help expose people to the South American nation’s loves, including soccer, great food and great music.
“This is our chance to let people know where Paraguay is,” Britez said.
She said Paraguay has a very organic diet and is a heavily agricultural nation.
The group has developed a reputation for its food, and Britez said the Paraguayan students made 75 empanadas for the event and sold out within 12 minutes. They also had chipa guasu, a corn casserole, for those who came later.
Students from Brazil reported their coconut balls and chocolate balls also were extremely popular and sold out in less than an hour.
Henrique Kremer said the Brazilian culture is a beautiful culture known for its dances and people.
Saudi Arabian students brought food that varied according to their home regions.
“We have the same religion, but we have different food,” said Esraa Almaeina, who came from the western region of Saudi Arabia to Pittsburg in 2006 to study technology engineering education. “All of us, we like rice with meat. We usually use lamb and chicken.”
She said the most popular dish in Saudi Arabia is kabsa, or a dish in which the lamb is cooked and then the rice is added to it, but which is served with the rice first and then the meat.
Almaeina said she was eager to break the stereotype of camels, sand, tents and women who aren’t allowed to do anything.
Page 2 of 2 - “We’re crazy about technology,” she said, adding that her husband recently returned from Saudi Arabia and brought her a phone that isn’t yet available in the United States. “We have a lot of technology.”
Almaeina said not many Saudi Arabian students attended Pitt State when she first arrived, but that the numbers have grown, as has the opportunity to share her culture.
And, Korean Student Association event coordinator Young Joo Lee was happy to report that Psy’s daily diet likely includes kimchi, which is a traditional Korean dish of spicy fermented cabbage, and steamed rice.
On special occasions, he likely pairs it with bulgogi, a marinated meat dish made using beef or pork, which typically is served on holidays, birthdays or special occasions.
“This event was an opportunity for KSA to make people (be able) to experience Korean culture,” Lee said. “I believe the food is the culture.”
Lee said they prepared meals for 200 and were sold out of bulgogi in 50 minutes.
She also said the group has spent a week preparing for the event, including taking trips to Korean food shops in Kansas City for ingredients.
Willie Bergmann attended the event for the first time and said it was an enjoyable learning experience.
She said she tried food from Taiwan, Indonesia and Latin America, as well as a dessert from Egypt, and she admired the array of options.
“It was interesting,” she said. “There was so much to choose from.”