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Bite of Asia brings new flavor to annual festival

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Michelle Moises, a member of the Polynesian Student Alliance, dances on the HUB lawn as part of Bite of Asia yesterday.

The Asian Student Commission (ASC) at the UW has been putting on the Bite of Asia food festival for several decades, but this year’s event, held Thursday, showcased food from areas of the world not represented in past festivals. The Bite of Asia & Taste of the Pacific Islands festival this year, put on by the ASC and the Pacific Islander Student Commission (PISC), featured 20 food vendors, all representing different cultural associations at the UW.

While eating cultural treats like phad thai, bulgogi, Spam musubis and soy-bean pudding, festival-goers were entertained by a DJ and performances by the UW Hawaii Club — Hui Hoaloha ‘Ulana — and the Polynesian Student Alliance.

The event this year was held during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, as well as India Week for the Indian Student Association (ISA). This marks the first year that the ASC collaborated with the PISC for the event.

Stacy Huynh, UW senior and director of the ASC, wanted this year’s event to reach out to more cultural student organizations at the UW. Ben Leolofi, UW senior and director of the PISC, approached Huynh at the beginning of the year about getting the group involved with the Bite of Asia, and she was excited at the prospect of the PISC being a part of the festival.

“[Through participating in this event,] we’re sharing a piece of who we are,” Leolofi said. “We’re unifying the Asian population with the Pacific Islander population.”

Along with the PISC, this was the first year the ISA at the UW participated in the festival. After the group was approached by Huynh, Kris Sanghvi, president of the ISA, decided it would be a good opportunity for the organization to get exposure and meet with other student groups on campus. Sanghvi spoke to the traffic their booth attained through the event.

“It’s been amazing; we sold out of our butter chicken within the first 45 minutes,” Sanghvi said, “It’s cool to see how many people love Indian food.”

As director of the ASC, Huynh was expected to plan the Bite of Asia to help cultural clubs at the UW get exposure, raise money, and reach potential new members, but this year she was surprised at the variety of students represented and food served. Huynh was impressed that many of the student groups e-mailed food proposals to her to make sure that their food items would be unique to the festival.

“People really tried to reach out and do something different,” Huynh said.

Reach reporter Erin Flemming at news@dailyuw.com.

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