The food of nations

International Festival of Cultures hosts food, singing and dancing

The Ferris State University Center was bustling with Ferris students, staff and faculty hosting and entertaining visitors and students at the International Festival of Cultures.

Throughout the dreary afternoon on Sunday, April 10, an estimated 1,500 to 1,800 people braved the cold, rainy weather to experience different foods and learn about cultures from 40 different countries and over 30 different recipes.

Along with their favorite foods, international students sang and danced to songs from their home cultures and pop culture.

“It’s the International Festival and I wanted to represent my country with our best dish, Egyptian koshary,” said Ferris digital animation and game design freshman Youssef Wahba of Egypt. “The koshary is made with rice, macaroni, mixed lentils, fried onions, vinegar and marina sauce. We like to make it flavorful.”

Ferris undeclared freshman Landon McDaid said the crème brulee from France’s booth was his favorite dish at the festival. He said he also enjoyed the way the foreign students had the opportunity to present themselves.

“I love it. It’s awesome to have everyone come together as one, so that we can experience their culture here and not just make them experience our culture all of the time,” said McDaid.

Some international students that have participated in previous International Festivals of Cultures said they’ve seen great improvement this year in the number of dishes and students represented at the festival.

“We’re more diversified and people learn about other countries more, especially overcoming stereotypes against other countries such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia,” said Ferris automotive engineering technology senior Princeton Boston of the Bahamas. “I can learn their true history and religion behind them, other than how the media is portraying them. Events like this are the best way to stand up to stereotypes of other nations and to learn about their culture yourself.”

The dish from the Bahamas was marinated beef with red beans and rice, and the dish included a tomato and onion salad to go with the beef.

Dozens of other countries and cultures were represented with some dishes chosen by students, including the United States with chicken and waffles, Brazil with brigadeiros and passion fruit mousse, China with sweet and sour chicken and honey milk tea, Germany with weiner schnitzel, Philippines with coconut filled crepes and South Korea with short ribs.