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International students share culture through food

International student Bekhruz Kamolov (right) and international buddy Austin Taylor (left) converse over Uzbekistan dish Beef Plov and Lamb Shashlik.  // Photo by Michaela Vue
International student Bekhruz Kamolov (right) and international buddy Austin Taylor (left) converse over Uzbekistan dish Beef Plov and Lamb Shashlik. // Photo by Michaela Vue

Around 70 dinner attendees bit into fresh salad rolls from Vietnam and yakitori and tzukune from Japan during the first course of the Global Gourmets event on Thursday, March 3.

Global Gourmets’ third annual event celebrated the international community with the  food of their country, international student adviser Abigail Borchert said.

International student Joe Han said it reminded him of home.

The three course meal was created to allow international students to bring their experience and who they are to the campus, executive chef Patrick Durgan said.

Guests served each other the second course of chicken curry with noodles from Cambodia and sweet braised pork belly from China. The room was filled with chatter as plates were passed around for firsts and seconds of each dish.

International student Aaron Ford presented his English dish of chicken jalfrezi, basmati rice and peshwari naan, which was adopted from India.

Bekhruz Kamolov then presented the final dish of the night, beef plov and lamb shashlik from the new country of Uzbekistan.

“When I tell people I’m from Uzbekistan, they ask if I’m from Pakistan,” Kamolov said.

He said he often encounters students who have never heard of his country and has a hard time explaining it to them.

“The secret is to cook it over coal for a long time,” he said of the tender lamb, adding that only the best chefs  know how to cook the lamb shashlik.

Vietnamese salad rolls stuffed with noodles, lettuce, shrimp and thinly sliced pork on a lettuce bed were made by Lien Luc. // Photo by Michaela Vue
Vietnamese salad rolls stuffed with noodles, lettuce, shrimp and thinly sliced pork on a lettuce bed were made by Lien Luc. // Photo by Michaela Vue

Durgan said the students gave him the recipes and were there to taste test the dish to their approval. The students said it tasted like they remembered.

Preparation for the meals featured at the event took three days.

International students make up only 1 percent of Western’s population said Vicki Hamblin, executive director of the center for international studies. The goal is to increase that number to 2 percent in five years, Hamblin said.

Western only has about 4 percent (about 600) students studying abroad per year. Because of this, the best way to give students a global perspective is to bring the globe to them, Hamblin said.

Global Gourmets allows the rest of the campus to connect with the small international student population, Borchert said in her email.

This was the first year the event was open to everyone.
In the future, Hamblin hopes the event will raise enough money to create a scholarship for international students.

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