UNC students, staff and friends began lining up to fill their plates up with the “Taste of A/PASS.” at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
The line stretched from the sign-in table in the walkway between the Kohl House and Marcus Garvey Cultural Center, wrapping around to the corner of 20th Street and 10th Avenue. Energetic music could be heard from the back of the MGCC, which invited guests to available seating inside their center.
UNC’s Asian/Pacific-American Student Services hosted “Taste of A/PASS,” an annual event where A/PASS associated clubs share cuisine representative of their cultures.
The clubs that hosted the event and provided the food were the Thai Student Association; Japanese Language Club; Chinese Culture Club; Japanese Culture and Anime Club and Ha’aheo Hawaii Club. A/PASS, as the service center itself, had a serving table offering food as well.
According to Alethea Stovall, the director of A/PASS, this was the 19th year the center has hosted this event. A/PASS expected upwards of 250 people. Stovall said every year the various clubs housed under A/PASS come together to decide what new recipes they want to share and to represent their culture and themselves. The groups then purchase their ingredients at the Broomfield Pacific Ocean Marketplace. This year, the clubs had been preparing food since Monday.
“I think it’s a really great event for the start of the year to like bring people in and tell them what the cultural centers do,” said Dr. Michelle Low, the assistant professor of Chinese in the modern languages department. “It’s fun because I’ve got all these students learning how to cook. I actually really like that whole cooking and making stuff right there.”
Low is also the adviser for Chinese Culture Club.
The Chinese Culture Club sold various items, including chopsticks and Chinese zodiac key chains. According to Sahel Negash, an Asian studies major, the proceeds will go to the Asian Studies scholarship fund.
Brigitte Rivera, an A/PASS student staff member and a member of the Japanese Language Club, manned the frying station. She was preparing lumpia, a type of Filipino egg roll. This was her second year helping Taste of A/PASS.
“I think what’s really great about this is that I get to try foods of all different cultures often made by people who identify with those cultures,” Rivera said. “And so it’s really authentic, homemade food from so many different places of Asia.”
The Thai Student Association served Thai tea at the event. The association felt the Thai tea represented Thai life, according to Kwankhaow Kioiyakit, a UNC senior and the former president of the Thai Student Association.
The dinner was accompanied by performances of traditional dances as well as music associated with Asian and Pacific-American cultures. This included the song “You’re Welcome” from “Moana,” a 2016 Disney movie following Polynesian mythos and culture.