AASA hosts A Taste of Asia in the Student Life Center on Friday, November 1, 2019.
AASA hosts “A Taste of Asia” in the Student Life Center on Friday, November 1, 2019.
Jenny Gao

IN PHOTOS: Taste of Asia 2019

Check out our photo coverage of AASA’s Taste of Asia

The Asian American Student Association (AASA) held its annual food-centered outreach event, “A Taste of Asia,” Friday, Nov. 1 in the Student Life Center. Catering and student-cooked dishes showcased cultural cuisines originating from countries across Asia. Lining the walls of the event space were flags representing the countries whose dishes were featured and decorations highlighting AASA member profiles and their cultural identities.

Jenny Gao
Decorations lines the walls at AASA’s “A Taste of Asia” in the Student Life Center on Friday, November 1, 2019.

“Events like this are very important because they bridge a cultural gap in universities such as Vanderbilt,” sophomore and PISO board member John Ang said. “Generally, there are cultural enclaves that are a lot of times closed off from each other, but events like these help everyone share a common interest like food, especially. This will help people experience parts of different groups and immigrant culture in America.”

The event served dishes primarily from east and south Asian countries that represented Vanderbilt’s Asian community members. Cuisines included bubble tea from Taiwan, paneer and naan from India, tteok-bokki from Korea and other international dishes.

“I saw a lot of people get really excited about food since it reminded them of home. It’s awesome that food has that kind of power,” sophomore Michelle Liu said.

Many students were able to try out new dishes from the multitude of ethnic backgrounds that were showcased at the event.

“The best part of A Taste of Asia is seeing representations of countries through food,” junior Wesley Wei said. “When people think of Asian food, they often have a certain type of image in their head. This event helps dispel that myth.”

In addition to finding new favorite foods, students of all demographics shared tables and conversations at the event.

“Every Asian country has such rich food, and through food, people feel a stronger connection to their own cultures and are more willing to learn about other cultures,” AASA board member Alice Liao said. “All these people on campus, both Asian and non-Asian, participate and through that meet people they may have not met before.”


Jenny Gao
Students enjoy boba tea at AASA’s “A Taste of Asia” in the Student Life Center on Friday, November 1, 2019.



In addition to serving authentic Asian cuisine and delighting the taste buds of Vanderbilt students, Taste of Asia served as an outreach event tied into AASA’s theme for 2019, Beyond. 

“Beyond can be taken in so many ways. It could be breaking barriers between communities since sometimes people can be a little apprehensive,” Liao said. “So we’re encouraging people of different backgrounds to interact more and look within themselves. Go beyond in searching for their identities and feeling comfortable with themselves.”


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About the Contributor
Jenny Gao, Former Staff Photographer
Jenny Gao ('22) was a Staff Photographer for The Vanderbilt Hustler and a Gettys Stock Photographer. She double majored in cognitive studies and medicine, health and society with a minor in creative writing. Alongside photography, Jenny was a resident advisor for E. Bronson Ingram College and a clinical psychology research assistant at Peabody College. She can be reached at [email protected] or through her website.

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