KUALA LUMPUR: On one table, an array of chocolates and pastries from France, on another, honey and coffee from Yemen.
Add another 42 countries to the mix to make Monday’s International Charity Bazaar at the grand ballroom of the JW Marriot Hotel.
The bazaar, organised by the Association of Spouses of Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Malaysia (Sohom), is the first one to be held on a big-scale by the association.
Sohom president Sonia Eun Hai Kim, who is the wife of the Mexican Ambassador to Malaysia, said the association had always organised small-scale bazaars among members in the past.
“This time, it is on a bigger scale and is open to the public,” she said, adding that the proceeds from the bazaar would go to charity.
“Malaysia has welcomed us with open arms and we want to give back to the community here,” she added.
She said that the original idea was for a Christmas bazaar, but seeing the diverse cultural mix in the association, they decided to change the theme to an international bazaar instead.
Living up to its name, the bazaar attracted an international mix of visitors, keen to take their senses on a global culinary and shopping journey.
A variety of mouth-watering sambusa, a dish popular in Central Asia, was the main attraction for the Tajikistan booth.
The third secretary at the Tajikistan Embassy Shuhrat Odinaev said that the delicacy, a pastry with meat or pumpkin filling, was a must at celebrations in Tajikistan, making it a fitting choice for a bazaar held a couple of weeks before Christmas.
“We have it at all events, weddings and birthday parties,” said Odinaev, adding that a celebration would not be complete without the dish.
At the Norwegian booth, colourful hand-knitted stuffed animals sat next to chocolates and biscuits.
Tone Urstad, wife of the Norwegian Ambassador, said that the stuffed animals were personally knitted by members of Sohom.
“We have a handicraft group, so we decided to knit these for charity,” said Urstad.
One of the most colourful booths in the grand ballroom was the Russian one, where beautifully painted matryoshka dolls and delicacies such as pirozhki, fried buns stuffed with meat or vegetable fillings lent an air of festivity.
Visitors were also treated to a host of cultural shows and a few rounds of lucky draw, where winners were chosen at random from the numbers on their entrance tickets.
The bazaar was also organised with the cooperation of the Philippines Embassy and the venue was sponsored by YTL Corporation Bhd executive director Datuk Yeoh Soo Min.
The bazaar was launched by Datuk Seri Siti Rubiah Abdul Samad, wife of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.