Missoulian Expand your palate

Travel the world - at your own pace in just one day - and expand your horizons.

A tour of the annual International Food and Culture Festival at the University of Montana offers a taste of world cuisine, entertainment and information from some of the 40 countries whose students are attending UM.

The festival runs from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday in the University Center. There is no charge for admission, although a $1 donation would be appreciated.

The event begins unofficially Friday night with the free showing of a Japanese movie, "Hanabi" (Fireworks), in the Urey Lecture Hall at 7 p.m.

"Taste 2000 - A Once in a Lifetime Experience" is sponsored by UM's International Student Association. Half of the organization's 370 international students take part in the festival.

"It is really amazing how diverse our group is," said Christie Tsang, a student from Hong Kong and the ISA president. "The festival is an opportunity for us to share our cultures with the university and Missoula community. Everyone who is participating is really excited about it."

The event begins at 1 p.m. with a brief ceremony and parade, led by the Celtic Dragon Pipe Band, in the UC. The food booths, informational booths, culture show and Children's World then will open. Consulate General of Japan Yoshio Nomoto also will attend the festival and provide information about Japan.

About 20 food booths will feature the students' favorite recipes from around the world, among them: curried beef from Malaysia, chicken in peanut sauce from Thailand, beef empanadas from Argentina, dumplings from Tibet and cherry cake and apple tart from Germany. The booths will be in the UC atrium. Prices for the food, which goes quickly, range from 50 cents to $4.

The culture show will offer almost 24 traditional and contemporary performances on the UC Commons stage. The traditional part will include dances from Mexico, Thailand, Africa, Scotland and Scandinavia. The contemporary performances will include a fashion show and a vaudeville performance from the Oyoyo Sisters, a group out of Seattle.

Children's World will offer events and activities designed especially for kids. They include a Malaysian shadow-puppet play, sumo wrestling and origami, which is Japanese paper folding.

"What we do is bring the world to your doorstep," said Alex Gulde, a German exchange student and ISA program director. "It's all about widening one's horizons."

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