USG International Student Assembly hosts food fair
Undergraduate Student Government’s International Student Assembly, had their International Food Fair on McCarthy Quad Thursday. ISA is part of the programming branch of USG, entrusted to promote the international student population’s concerns and interests, while providing cultural, educational experiences. The International Food Fair is an annual event that does just that, featuring food vendors from all over Los Angeles, ranging from Russian to Thai, Chinese to Brazilian and much more.
ISA’s food fair began three years ago, originally as a fundraiser where students were asked to bring cans in exchange for free food. However, this was eventually adapted to become the International Food Fair with the goals of showcasing food from all around the world to USC students. ISA’s member organizations, which include different international student organizations on campus, chose 18 different food vendors to be present at the fair that they felt represented the country their members were from, making sure the choices were authentic. In America, many foods from international countries are often adapted from their original recipes to appeal to the generic masses, but ISA wanted to step away from restaurant chains, offering more culturally accurate cuisine.
“It’s more cultural awareness about cuisine from all around the world and how they are different from each other,” ISA Director Gisella Tan said. “It’s not an American interpretation of that food.”
Choices at the fair include Greek food like spanakopita, hummus, tiropita and dolmades. The Burmese food included milk tea, tea leaf salad and tapioca, among other delicacies. Upon arrival to the fair, students were greeted by numerous tables, each boasting a different type of food. They were then ushered to stop by the check in table to sign in, like the ISA Facebook page and receiv two blue tickets. For each ticket, the student could then go to one of the many tables at the food fair and get a scrumptious plate full of food. If students liked ISA on social media, they received an extra ticket for more food samples. On top of that, for students who dressed up in traditional cultural clothing, they were able to receive one more ticket for food. Fast passes to cut the line were also given away via social media contests. AT&T made an appearance at the fair, raffling off 10 iPhones, tablets, Otterboxes and discounted service plans, which is exceptionally important to international students as they require new phones when coming to America.
Standout food at the fair included Taiwanese boba from the popular vendor Ozero, located in Little Tokyo. The milk tea was sweet and refreshing on the scorching 80-degree day, with delicious boba settled at the bottom. Likewise, the Ethiopian food — spicy lentils, split peas and curry potatoes from Azla Vegan — was so delicious that many students wished they had dressed up for an extra ticket. To top it all off was the sweet and flaky baklava from the Israeli table.
Overall, ISA’s International Food Fair was the highlight of the afternoon, taking students around the world for a delicious yet informative lunch.