Taste of the World is an annual free event that takes place in Dubuque, Iowa. It is hosted by the Multicultural Family Center and celebrates Dubuque’s cultural diversity. It was so refreshing to attend an event that brought so many different nationalities together under one roof. Everyone was smiling and chatting and having a great time!
On arrival, you collect a ‘passport’ which is your ticket to the world! The ‘Port of Entry’ board allows visitors to stick a pin on a big map to show where they come from. I was surprised by how many different countries were covered!
The inside of the passport contained a list of the 32 different countries, across 6 continents, that were being represented and were hosting tasting tables. The passport allowed you to keep track of which countries you had visited!
Each booth displayed the countries flag, a map with an arrow pointing to the location, items that were traditional to their country. Some of the people wore traditional outfits and then they offered some form of food or drink that was part of their culture. Here are some examples:
Jamaica – Pineapple & Ginger Juice
Australia – Anzac Cookies
Brazil – Coffee, Canjica (like a rice pudding made from rice, milk and cinnamon) & Brigadeiro (chocolate truffles)
UK – Spotted Dick (sponge and raisin cake) & Custard
USA (Dubuque) – Turkey & Dressing
France – Strawberry or chocolate crepes
Lebanon/Sudan – Falafel with Tahini sauce (chickpeas and beans ground up with spices and deep fried served with a lemon juice based sauce)
Kenya – Mandazi (Kenyan donut)
Japan – Barley tea & Mochi cake
Latvia – Pickled Herring, ginger snap cookies & rye bread
Haiti – Jerk Chicken, rice & beans
South Korea – Hodu-gwaja (walnut cake)
Philippines – Biko (rice cake with coconut milk and condensed milk caramel)
Colombia – Bocadillo con Queso (Guava Paste & Cheese)
A lot of the booths either had flyers or instructions on how to recreate the dishes! I was over the moon that there was a British booth! It was the first time I’ve had custard since emigrating and it was so nice/weird to actually speak to someone with a British accent! I’ve also been craving rice pudding so the countries serving rice & milk based desserts hit the spot too!
It was great to be able to try dishes that had been selected and made by residents of Dubuque…these were the foods from their cultures that obviously held a special place in their heart. Despite being a traveller, I found myself trying things I wouldn’t normally try. Things like pickled herring! I love Latvia but sometimes when I’m travelling on a budget, I order the things that I know I will like, so miss out on experiencing certain dishes!
My favourite displays were by Brazil – for their variety and taste of dishes, Japan – for the amount of information on display (there was also a lady writing people’s names in Japanese!) and Saudi Arabia – for the friendliest, most enthusiastic man who was bursting with energy throughout the whole event.
Along with the food booths, there were performances on stage from 11 different countries! Here’s a short clip of the Hawaiian Hula Dance performance:
There was also Egyptian Belly Dancing, Bollywood Dancing, singing and a Cultural Fashion Show:
I thought the whole event was put together amazingly well. The staff and volunteers were all brilliant. It was great to see so many people wanting to share their culture with others. There were even arts and crafts for the kids. Personally, I can’t wait until next years!
2017 Event Info
Location: Five Flags Center – Dubuque, Iowa
Cost: FREE (with a suggested donation of $5, which it is definitely worth!)
Date & Time : Saturday 1st April 2017, 11.30am – 2pm
For more information check out the Multicultural Family Center. They host a whole range of free events that celebrate the diversity of Dubuque