Unusual Eats at the International Festival

Saturday ended up being quite the fun-filled day.

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Things started out simple: I sipped coffee, ate breakfast, and made final preparations in the guest room since my parents were visiting later that day.

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I made sure to set out towels and a welcome tray with a couple useful items in case they forgot to pack anything…or wanted some tea. My parents are big Celestial Seasonings fans. I pretty much grew up drinking the stuff thanks to them.

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While I was waiting for my parents to make it to town, I had plans with my friend Sarah to do a Saturday morning Zumba class (feels good to be getting back into the swing of things!) and then head out to a local event – an International Festival at UNCC. Class was bangin and we totally worked up an appetite for some international eats.

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Here are some photos from the festival:

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Chick pea fritters at the Guyana tent.

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These made for a tasty starter.

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From the Taiwan booth I tried the winter-melon tea, which tasted like a smoky tea to me, though overall had a similar flavor to Southern tea. It was very unique, though not as much so as the Angel jelly drink Sarah tried out.

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We also tried wheatberry salad and savory pastry from the Turkey booth – both excellent. The wheat berry salad had lots of fresh herbs and an unfamiliar spice mixture in it. The pastry was great and reminded me of Greek Spanakopita.

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I loved the live music outside. It reminded me of the type of music you hear at spas – so relaxing!

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The Cambodia booth’s offerings reminded me of dim sum.

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I couldn’t resist a sesame ball, and Sarah tried one too!

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Unlike the type I usually get at dim sum, this one was filled with mung beans (pieces, not totally ground) and coconut. Yum!

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And I had to show some love for the Philippines booth. After all, my mom is from there.

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The lady in the back cooking pancit reminded me of my mom. :P

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The Philippines booth had their stuff together! They had cute booth displays that were well-labeled. They also had the longest line I’d seen that day for their delicious food. Have you had Filipino food before? It’s goooood!

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(I tackled the food before taking a photo…oops)

Sarah and I were going to get chicken satay at the Malaysian booth, but they sold out, so we went with chicken teriyaki (not a traditional Filipino food, but it sounded good) and lumpia (Filipino spring rolls, basically). We held off on the pancit since I told Sarah I could make her some another time. I just need to get the “recipe” from my mom!

The International Festival was wonderful, and I was impressed that there were so many countries represented. Sarah and I had fun checking out the variety of offerings at each booth and noticing similarities and patterns between the foods at various booths. I thought the event was really entertaining and well-organized and would love to return next year!

Reader Question: What is the most unexpected country that you’ve sampled food from? I never thought I’d get to try food from Guyana, but I did, and I liked it!

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