St Andrews biggest Asian food event is just around the corner. Taste of Asia brings together nine Asian cultural societies together in preparing a feast of their respective local delicacies. There you get the opportunity to try foods from all over Asia, all for the mere price of 10 pounds.
Last year I stumbled upon this event on my Facebook feed. When I read the description of the event, I knew it was just what I needed. It gets to this time of the semester where you start to feel the mechanism of your schedule kicking into full gear. St Andrews starts to feel smaller, and events seem to feel more repetitive than ever. An event like this brings something new to the table – literally – with that being an introduction into new foods and new cultures. When I arrived, I was truly shocked by how many people were waiting outside the venue. It felt very similar to waiting outside the venue of a concert. I had never heard anything about this event before, and it was the very first time that it had been up and running. This just came to show how much needed an event like this was for the students of St Andrews, whether this event brought them feelings of nostalgia or feelings of curiosity. The event was run very smoothly. I was given a number of tickets, and these tickets were exchanged for dishes of my choice. I tried foods that I would never have gotten to try in St Andrews otherwise, foods I knew from growing up and foods I had never heard of. Although it was a tough competition, my favorite dish of the night was most definitely the Filipino-style spaghetti. It sounds strange at first, but it was incredibly flavorful and so much better than classic spaghetti in my opinion! Although I came into this event with the first time event jitters, I truly am so happy I went. Being in a room with so many different cultural societies really makes you appreciate how diverse St Andrews really is. Furthermore, it inspired me to seek out the recipes for these dishes!
I had the opportunity to interview three leading members behind the Taste of Asia event. I wanted to know what gave them the inspiration for this event, and what goes on behind the scenes to make this event run so smoothly. Firstly, an event of this scope involves a lot of planning. Preparations started last semester, where the Taste of Asia committee members worked side by side the different Asian societies to plan things like logistics, foods and more. On the day of the event, the society members all come together to prepare dishes. It is through this preparation that these society members find great bonding time, all working towards presenting a famous authentic dish that represents a nation. Lastly, my biggest question to them lied in the inspiration for this event. What made them want to organize an event of this scope all of a sudden? As it turns out, the inspiration came from these society members desire to break the stigma that Asian societies are only open to Asian people. These members figured that the best way to do that was to introduce this message collectively through food. One thing that really stood out to me last year was that many people, me included, were not part of these societies. It felt like many of us came into this event not knowing many people around them and not knowing what to expect. But it became clear very soon that this was a very friendly, welcoming environment. Many students who had never been to these societies’ events had come for the excitement of trying new things and celebrating different cultures.
If there is anything to take away from this article, it’s that Taste of Asia should be on your calendar for all you adventurous food lovers out there. This year’s event will be bigger and better than last year. It has opened up to include more societies, which means for food! Furthermore, the Bubble Tea Society has also joined, which means there will be incredible drinks as well as foods to try. A great strategy is to go with a big group of friends. That way, you can all pick different dishes and share them. This will maximize your chances of trying all the dishes they have to offer! If you want to know more about the dishes, the menu has been released on the Facebook page for you to see. Just remember, you don’t need to know anything about Asian food or Asian culture. If one thing is assured it is that you will be welcomed with open arms.