IN PHOTOS: Taste of Asia 2019
Check out our photo coverage of AASA’s Taste of Asia
November 4, 2019
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.
“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.”
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.”