From India to Korea, from Malaysia to the Philippines and all the way to Vietnam, the city of Bloomington was able to experience a taste of culture from all of these countries right in their own city.\nThis Saturday the Asian Culture Center put on a cuisine festival at the farmers market on 10th and Morton streets at City Hall. Since 1999, the ACC has been putting on the cuisine festival as the grand finale of all the activities put on during the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage month, which begins in April. The ACC is a host to Bloomington's vast amount of Asian American and Asian Pacific American students and their families. It serves as a center of growing awareness for all who are interested in the Asian culture. \nThe festival was run by Melanie Castillo-Cullather, and was a demonstration and a celebration of noodle dishes from five countries. Cooks from each of the countries came to the festival with a traditional recipe and demonstrated to the audience how to make them, offering a booklet with ingredients and cooking directions, as well as an explanation of the meaning and uses of the dish in their country. \nEvery dish that was prepared came from a different culture, allowing the audience to gain insight to the differences between the cultures. Julie Zonkel, whose daughter is a senior at IU, prepared Pancit Bihou, a noodle dish from the Philippines. \n"Americans can get acquainted with the food and culture that they see and are able to taste it," Zonkel said.\nMing Schimmelmann prepared the Vietnamese dish, Vietnam-Mixao. \n"People do no know the difference between the countries, they think all the food is the same, but it is not," Schimmelmann said. "In Vietnam we eat a lot of seafood and use fish oils and sauces instead of soy sauce since we are blessed to be surrounded by the ocean. Fish is less oily than the soybean and it is not deep- fried like in other dishes, therefore it is healthier."\nThe other cooks agreed that sharing the food was a good way of understanding different cultures. Rohany Nayan, who prepared a spicy curry noodle dish from Malaysia, believes there is no better way to share an understanding of culture than through cooking and being able to socialize with food. She said the cuisine festival helps attendants get the intercultural experience of all the countries. \n"The festival was a great experience because we got to share traditional cooking, not meals from a cookbook," said Thayammal Thiagarajan, who prepared a sweet and savory breakfast dish from Southern India called Ediupam. "The audience got to learn the inside information of our cultures and did not have to go travel to the different countries to get the information. They were able to receive the traditional culture here and try all the food at the same time." \nThe final dish was prepared by Helena Cheun which was a beef, vegetable and rice noodle dish from Korea called Chap Ch'ae.\nMost of the dishes that were served are used for celebrations or everyday meals. Celebrations in Asia are linked with food. Dishes are prepared and offered to ancestors during holidays, weddings and other celebrations. The dishes were comprised of mainly egg or rice noodles because they signify long life in some countries and they can also serve many people. \nThe Asian Cuisine festival is an experience of Indian, Korean, Malaysian, Filipino and Vitenamese culture.
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