Taste of Indonesia: Western Takes Cafe on a World Tour

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“A Taste of Indonesia” brought cultural flavor to the campus this week. The International Student services presented an event held in Blum Union cafeteria on Sept 15, providing students with an opportunity to sample traditional Indonesian fare, as well as listen to Indonesian music performed by freshman foreign students Gilbert Imbiri and Kenny Ang.

Imbiri, a music major, who sings and plays guitar said he was afraid that many people are not too familiar with Indonesia or have only heard of the island of Bali.

“I want them to know that there are over 2,000 more islands in Indonesia,” Imbiri said.  “Especially Papua, which is the island I’m from. I think it’s more beautiful than Bali.”

Jeremy Todd, Lindsey Jackson, Caitlin Cress and Peter Gregory attend Western’s “Taste of Indonesia” event held in the cafeteria. Photo | Brooke Carter

While Imbiri and Ang performed sounds from the islands, students were able to sample dishes like an Indonesian fried rice known as “nasi goreng”, a chicken satay called sate ayam and finally a layered cake dessert called “lapis legit”. The cake was Imbiri’s favorite treat of the afternoon.

“I think I had about four pieces,” Imbiri said. “It tastes so good, reminds me of home.”

According to International Student Services Coordinator Huey Shi Chew, this event is part of an effort to internationalize the campus and spark interest for some to learn about other students and their countries.

“This program is targeted to the whole campus community,” Chew said. “I believe both students and faculty could benefit from the program. The more we learn about the world around us, the better we are as a person.”

She believes events such as A Taste of Indonesia will help prepare students for work in a global economy and be better equipped to deal with issues related to culture because of the early-on experience.

“We live in a very global environment,” Chew said. “We deal with different cultures every day. It may not be in the classroom but it may be through the internet.”

Many students entered the Blum Union cafeteria for an ordinary lunch and were surprised to see Indonesian dishes and music featured. Senior Ben Dean enjoyed the change.

“I was happy to see an underepresented culture featured on campus,” Dean said. “The live music was a pleasant surprise as well.”

A Taste of Indonesia is just a sample of what’s to come in the future for more opportunities to learn about other cultures and fellow students. A Taste of Turkmenistan will be held on Oct. 13, as well as International Education Day on Nov. 10.

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