My project was centered around fostering cultural exchanges through a shared love for food and cuisine. Over two engaging sessions, people of diverse backgrounds and ages (19-89) came together as we immersed ourselves in the art of cooking, exchanged culinary knowledge, and some other traditional activities.
The project was a remarkable success in achieving my primary goal of cultural exchange. The first session, focused on Chinese cuisine, where I taught how to prepare marinated beef tendon and Sichuan noodles. The second session was led by a Malaysian participant sharing her secrets to making a durian crepe cake. Participants were able to actively engage in learning two different cuisines, and various other dishes. The live, hands-on cooking sessions were a powerful catalyst for cultural understanding, creating a dynamic and inclusive environment.
One notable challenge that arose during my project was my original plan was having the project in a park, but it was raining at that day. So I invited everybody come to my home, and we had to change some outdoor activities to indoor activities. But we still had a lot of fun. Another challenge was to find a time that everyone was available. So we postponed the project a couple of times.
The success of the project was made possible through collaborative efforts of all participants. Together, we were able to find a location to host this event and gather ingredients needed. In addition, many participants brought over traditional games such as shogi (Japanese chess) from their country while some others volunteered to perform folk dances and songs. This shared responsibility strengthened the sense of community among participants.
In conclusion, the project taught me how powerful cuisine can be. We were able to evoke a sense of inclusivity and embrace cultural differences despite language barriers. Ultimately, this experience not only transcended cultural boundaries, but also created lasting bonds among participants.