Asia Pacific Language Centre (APLC) has been helping people discover more about international cultures through food and dance over the years.
Its 2023 International Food Festival, which was attended by more than 400 guests, featured a delicious spread of cuisine from Algeria, Thailand, Equatorial Guinea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, Russia, Timor-Leste, Kazakhstan, Djibouti, Oman, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Malaysia.
The food festival was held in conjunction with National Day at the Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) campus in Technology Park, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.
The event kicked off with a musical performance of Standing in the Eyes of the World, a song made famous by Malaysian singer Ella.
A group of Middle Eastern students dressed in traditional attire then performed two dances on stage: Dabke and Aredah.
A Jpop dance also wowed the audience with its distinctive fusion of traditional and modern elements, followed by a Russian folk dance.
The university’s African students lit up the stage and got everyone in the groove before the main highlight – food tasting.
Guests were spoiled for choice as they enjoyed the delicacies including fadira and sambusa from the African booth, beshmarmak from the Central Asia booth, tukir naan bibi from the Dili Timor station and nasi lemak, roti canai and traditional kuih from the host booth.
At the Japan booth, guests got their names written in calligraphy in addition to feasting on traditional delicacies.
Sidr honey, regarded as one of the finest honeys in the world, was offered at the Arab booth.
For most guests, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, said APLC in a press statement.
APU chief executive officer Datuk Parmjit Singh said it was a delight to celebrate the diversity of cultures and cuisines within a single event.
“It showed the camaraderie, teamwork and solidarity among APLC staff and international students,” he added.
APLC language academic development manager Sharen Kaur said getting students to organise and join multicultural events allowed them to make new friends and connect with others.
Siblings from Madagascar, Mirado and Mirasoa Andriambololona, said the blend of cultures through food and music made the festival unique.
Japanese students Ryo Tsuruta, Tomomi Nakamura, Serina Hiranuma and Ami Itabashi said it felt like the whole world was at the event.
Intengenov Eduard from Kazakhstan said he was happy to share his country’s cuisine with students from all over the world.
Nepomniashchaia Anastasiia, a student from Russia, said, “This is the most memorable experience I have had in Malaysia so far.
“I cannot get this kind of experience back in my country.”