Edible Culture: Students Try Foreign Snacks

Hannah Perry

Three members of the International Club, along with their advisers, congregated in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion on Thursday, March 17. They each stood next to tables topped with snacks as they waited for students to stop by for the Passport to Cultural Snacks event. Their first event of the semester, the International Club’s goal was to educate others about food from around the world.  

Accompanying the packages of snacks were small posters that gave more information about the food and where they originated. During the process of deciding which cultures to represent, President of the International Club, junior Shunichi Sawamura, used his own knowledge and utilized other resources. 

“I’m from Japan, so I know about the snacks there,” Sawamura said. “I also go to the Asian market in Storm Lake and find snacks there. That is where I found the Dorayaki. I talked to the other members and searched on Google for snacks that would be new, exotic, and taste good for American students.” 

On the first table was Bamba Peanut Butter Puffs. As students walked up to grab a bag, Sawamura explained that they are made in Israel and noted their high nutritional value.     

Sawamura also presented information about the second snack, Alfajores, a chocolate-covered cookie sandwich that comes from Spain.  

Next up in the half-circle of snacks were Stroopwafels, which are popular in the Netherlands and consist of two wafer cookies filled with caramel.  

The final two snacks were presented by junior Chihiro Tagawa and freshman Kosuke Fukuda. On Tagawa’s table were several individual packages of Bubble Tea Mochi. While taking them, she warned students about the T

aiwanese candy’s interesting and unique texture. Fukuda handed out his personal favorite treat featured at the event, Dorayaki. He shared information about Japanese culture as he handed out the green tea and chocolate flavored snacks.  

While it was the first event they have hosted this semester, handing out food and presenting diverse cultures is not new for the members of International Club. In the past, they would prepare meals themselves and serve them to students. This year, everything had to be packaged and taken to-go as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As someone who has been in the International Club for three years and is now the Vice President, Tagawa is conscious of the impacts.  

“It’s a tough time to share culture right now,” Tagawa said. “Before COVID, we had a lot of events for food. We would serve food and a lot of people would come to the events but it’s a little tough right now.” 

Despite the modifications to the event, there was still a sizeable turnout. Junior Molly Barten was among a stream of people visiting the CDI. Before the snacks ran out, which was a learning lesson for Sawamura, she was able to try the Dorayaki and Bubble Tea Mochi. Although she had differing reviews about the two, she enjoyed the event. 

“I thought it was fun,” Barten said. “Learning about different cultures is something that really interests me, so I knew I would enjoy it. It was fun to try new food from different cultures without having to pay for the food or actually travel anywhere.”  

The Passport to Cultural Snacks event was considered a success by the three International Club members. Looking toward the future, they are planning on hosting a few more events that will get students involved in cultural traditions.  

“We’ll have another event called Tanabata,” Sawamura said. “The main event is writing down your hopes and wishes on a piece of paper and putting them on the tree. If you put it on the tree, your wish will come true.” 


If this article interests you, learn about who runs the International Club! Click here.