Art and Photography Editor Hanabi Blackmoor reviews Taste of Asia 2019, an annual culinary event that showcases the best cuisines of St Andrews’ Asian community.
Coming back from the communal atmosphere of Trinity Church back to the grim Swedish prison house of Agnes Blackadder Hall, my boyfriend and I were interrogated by our corridor mates on the origin of the boba teas we held. The famous and fashionable boba tea, we explained, came from the annual Taste of Asia event; showcasing the best foods from St Andrews’ Asian societies.
Taste of Asia 2019 had apparently been bigger than previous years due to the introduction of the Boba Tea Society and the Korean Society. This year, nine Asian cultural societies in total collaborated to provide and represent local delicacies. These nine Asian societies include: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. It was quite exciting to see this array of countries mixing and mingling and cooperating together to create an event to showcase respective culture.
Therefore I was extremely excited for not only being able to try different foods from a range of countries and support societies, but for (hopefully) the taste of home. Upon collecting the tickets, I discovered that my previous expectation (greedy and naive as I was) that Taste of Asia would be an all-you-can-eat try-all-food-culture event was ostensibly wrong. In fact, we received four tickets each of which you could exchange for a single portion of food from any stall. Each stall had around 3 foods – mostly consisting of meat stews and fried rice, but some glutinous rice balls, teas, fritters, and tempura. All in all, the range was as eclectic as imagined if not more so, as you could go for a light sushi, or delve into the deep spices of Thai green curry.
Personally, I opted for: a chicken and potato brew, Korean kimchi fried rice, green tea boba, and an Indonesian stew. All were incredible. I couldn’t quite believe that students in St Andrews managed to acquire all the necessary ingredients and tools to create such delicate concoctions of spices and hues of flavour that tasted so authentic. For those thinking of going next year, I would definitely recommend bringing multiple people along so you can taste their choices and have a wider array of selection and experience all nine Asian stalls and their food. Surreptitiously too, I would recommend bringing along people who have never tried Asian cuisine (since the food might not be to their taste, allowing you to swoop in and collect the remnants of your friend’s leftovers which I eventually did with my boyfriend’s boba tea – who doesn’t finish their boba drink? Unforgivable, frankly).
Overall, Taste of Asia 2019 was a true glimpse of the highlights of St Andrews multiculturalism and a melting pot of different cultures and cuisine. The food delicious, and the society people friendly, I personally had a great time learning about not only the amazing cookery and skill of fellow students, but different local delicacies. Although the portions were relatively small, the diverse range you could choose from and the quality of the food gives the Taste of Asia the stunning reputation it deserves.