The sights and sounds of hungry students and professors, gathering to taste distinct flavors from across continents, were brought together on this year’s International Food Day, on September 7 at Anglo-American University.
One of the most popular events of AAU’s “Spirit Week,” Food Day, was a wild success, with room 1.32-1.33 filled to the brim with several dozen students and a handful of professors crowding around the nine country’s tables, eager to get a taste of homemade and unique food creations. Students who chose to represent their country’s cultural delights competed for best dish and country, for prizes totaling 2,000 Czech crowns, including two gift cards for Nový Smíchov, the first place prizes.
Participating countries boasted a variety of dishes, including pastries, candies, soups, salads and traditional entrees. Participating countries this year included: Russia, Moldova, Czech Republic, Brazil, United States, Pakistan, Fiji, Ukraine and Armenia. The free event is sponsored by Student Council, which reimburses participants for food expenses, allowing participants to make use of their broad range of culinary skills without needing use their own funds to supply food for food day goers.
Every country produced a standout meal to be voted on. Arevik Zadoyan of Armenia presented Ghapama, baked pumpkin stuffed with sweet rice, dried fruits, and festive spices, which were particularly eye-catching, along with other side dishes, including traditional Rojik, made from walnuts coated in fruit syrup. Nina Fuchsová made Czech Republic’s classic Kuřecí Řízek (Chicken Schnitzel) with potato salad, intended to be furiously washed down with Kofola, a Czech soft drink.
Students from Moldova baked Plăcintă, a traditional, flakey, sweet pastry in a delicious and festive pumpkin and cherry flavor. Lucia Zlamalova of Brazil made Brigadeiro, a cultural icon in Brazil. A chocolate treat made with condensed milk and butter, tasting similar to fudge. Russian students brought Salad Olivie, Russian potato salad and Pechenie Yabloki, a whole baked apple with sugar and hazelnuts inside. Taking a humorous approach to the event, the USA brought selections from McDonalds, homemade Mac&Cheese baked by Lindsay Salvati and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, a popular American chocolate.
The only two Fijians at AAU, Raevenn Breen and Benjamin Rodenburg, presented Fiji’s vegan Lolo Curry an Eggplant Coconut cream curry. They also served up Puff Pancakes with berry jam, a popular breakfast in Fiji. Oleksandra Kovalevska from Ukraine served Borscht, a beetroot and vegetable based sour soup, popular throughout Eastern Europe and Russia cooked differently based on local culture. The chef of the winning dish was Hira Inam from Pakistan. “Chicken Karahi is one of the most popular dishes of Pakistan because of its flavors and tangy tomato taste,” says Inam. “People of Pakistan find this dish amazing, as it consumes less time to cook and is great in flavors”.
After about three hours of eating and socialising, Adi Hadzic, President of Student Council, thanked everyone for coming and making International Food day a success this year, as he presented the winners. The winners were decided by popular vote for best dish and best individual country. Those who represented a country could not vote. The winners of this year’s International Food Day are:
Best Dish Awards
1st place: Chicken Karahi Wraps (Pakistan)
2nd place: Fijian Lolo Curry (Fiji)
3rd place: Ghapama (Armenia)
Best Individual Country Awards
1st place: Armenia
2nd place: Fiji
3rd place: Moldova
Photo Credit: Dmitrii Shelenyov and Student Council