Experiencing UNH students’ different cultures through food

Monday, November 20, 2017
students serving food at international luncheon

Every year, Fairchild Hall’s International Food Luncheon offers a taste of the world. On Nov. 17, the smells of spices, cooked meat and a variety of foods filled the air of the Memorial Union Building’s Granite State Room. The 2017 luncheon offered performances, food and culture. The event, put on by Fairchild Hall, UNH's international connections themed dorm, was part of International Education Week.

graphic showing amounts of some foods used for the UNH International Food luncheon
Some of the food quantities needed for the luncheon.

More than 15 dishes were available to try, including Indonesian chicken satay, Chinese garlic lettuce and Brazilian brigadiro, a chocolate dessert. The foods represented some of the countries that are home to residents of Fairchild - Jamaica, Brazil, Greece, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam, to name a few.

Sydney Whittum ’21 served as chairperson of the luncheon committee.

“To me, the luncheon is a way for people to come together to experience the different cultures of students in UNH's community,” Whittum says. “I think it’s a place for two things to happen. One is for people to try new foods and experience a new culture. The other is for international students to get a taste of home.”

According to Whittum, the committee decided that for this year’s event, in the works since September, they would “go big or go home.” The luncheon offered more food items than in years past and with more than 300 tickets sold, the event was a sellout. 

The Farm To YoU NH course brought wild salad and Jamaican hibiscus iced tea to the luncheon, and local businesses provided the cannoli shells and the baklava. Committee members and other students prepared the rest of the food. They coordinated with Holloway Commons to order most of the ingredients and shopped for the rest.

Marcella Oliveira ’20 was the committee’s kitchen manager, overseeing food preparation and the kitchen schedule. “I think we do something really big here. The lunch is something a lot of people look forward to, and it’s another way to get cultural awareness and celebrate the diversity we have at UNH,” says Oliveira. “We had a big operation, but we had a lot of fun doing this. Seeing everyone enjoying the dishes and having people saying it is like their food from home is great.”


Many attendees tried certain dishes for the first time. Third-year mechanical engineering Ph.D. student Kdostiantyn Vasylevskyi came to the luncheon with his wife, Vira Vasylevska.

“I wanted to try food from different countries and expand my horizons. I got to try different dishes and will plan my next vacations based on what I liked,” says Vasylevskyi. The couple’s favorite dishes were the samosas, fried pastries filled with spiced potatoes, onions, noodles and minced meat, and pierogies, dumplings stuffed with mashed potatoes, onions and cheese.

Kacey McCarthy ’19 and Hody Wong ’19 also thought that the pierogies and the samosas were highlights at the luncheon.

“I loved the samosas. I wanted more, but they went really fast. I guess they were popular,” McCarthy says.

“I enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone and finding foods I never would have tried at a restaurant because I had not heard of them before,” says Wong. “I would 100 percent recommend that others come next year. It’s a good event, and I’m all for teaching people about other cultures.”

Huy Le '18 | Communications and Public Affairs
Loren Marple ’13 | Communications and Public Affairs | Loren.Marple@unh.edu | 603-862-0600