International Festival offers tastes from around the world

Vendor offers food from Pakistan. Photo by Heather Mason

The 34th Annual International Festival at Western Carolina University brought sights, sounds and delicious foods from around the world to Cullowhee. Students, staff and area residents enjoyed the culinary treats from several countries, including Pakistan, Asia and Latin America.

This annual event gives students the opportunity to experience traditions, crafts and foods from other cultures including some American festival favorites such as funnel cakes and turkey legs.

Campus organizations such as the Asian Student Organization (ASA) and the Latino Appreciation Student Organization (LASO) came out to share tastes from their respective countries.

The ASA offered handmade egg rolls, filled with noodles, carrots and chives, all hand chopped and prepared by members of the organization. The LASO members prepared sopes. Similar to tortillas, Sopes are thicker and are made from cornmeal, flour and salt and then topped with lettuce, tomatoes, beans and other toppings. Sopes are similar to the Cherokee Indian Fry bread that Tommy Stephens prepared at another booth at the festival. Fry bread is a traditional Native American delicacy and Stephens has been making them for 30 years. It starts with deep fried dough that is topped with ingredients similar to a taco or can be topped with sweet ingredients to become a dessert.

Bethany Ketting, a staff member at WCU, tried Pakistani food for the first time and although she found it to be a bit spicy, she enjoyed it. Courtney Rosu, a freshman from New Jersey, couldn’t resist the Philly Cheese steak sandwich.

“I’m from New Jersey and Philadelphia isn’t far. It is a taste from home,” Rosu said.

Frank McLeod, owner of McLeod Concessions and has been offering festival food in the area for 10 years.

“We do things that other people don’t do,” said McLeod. “The blooming onion and the turkey legs are big sellers, but we also offer things like fried green tomatoes.”

For more information about international events at WCU, contact the Office of International Programs and Services.

Watch slideshow 0f people enjoying foods from the 2013 International Festival