Festival offers fare from 20 countries

Students (from left) Idayu Harun, Yasmin Zafirah, Nurain Tajul, Seri Nur Sofia and Syairah Nizam...
Students (from left) Idayu Harun, Yasmin Zafirah, Nurain Tajul, Seri Nur Sofia and Syairah Nizam enjoy dishes at the International Food Festival at the University of Otago on Saturday. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Hungry gourmands staving off the winter chill flocked to the university's twice-yearly International Food Festival at the weekend, to sample hot fare from more than 20 countries.

The festival, organised by the Otago University Students' Association and held outside the university staff club, began at 4pm on Saturday and lasted until 7pm, Dunedin musician Matt Langley providing entertainment.

There were 20 stalls from different university clubs, as well as several mobile food carts.

The University of Otago Cambodian Club, which has more than 100 members, was one of three new clubs represented this year.

Club president Jacky Sek said his committee had been flat-tack all week preparing their food - which included "classic" chicken curry and beef kebabs with satay sauce and Cambodian coleslaw .

Meal preparation went well on the day, and demand for the food was strong.

"It's been really hectic, but I think we've finally figured it out," he said.

Gardens Khmer Satay Noodle House had helped out, allowing the group use of its kitchen.

The Latino Students' Association stall was also a new addition, and a crowd favourite.

University student Nurain Tajul and her friends sampled a variety of different foods. Her favourite had been a specialty from Brunei.

"It's interesting. There's a lot of foods. It's a new experience for us."

Speaking at the event, organiser Scotty Godsall said the Otago University Students' Association had started the festival earlier than usual in order to cater for people heading to the Highlanders game at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

He expected between 2000 and 3000 people to pass through over the course of the evening.

Among the most popular dishes had been the Sri Lankan curry which was a "sellout", he said.

"It's really cool to see such a big grouping together of different nationalities."

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