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Take a trip through the diverse flavours, sights and sounds of Southland’s epic Multicultural Food Festival.
Arguably the region’s most vibrant day of the year, your senses go into overload as international flavours from every continent tempt you to try new things.
There’s no going back once you’ve tasted Brazilian Coxinha (they’ve been called “the most delicious street food in the world”) or delectable Nepalese MoMo dumplings.
Food brings us together and the festival offers a window into the incredible diversity Southland offers - through the many ethnicities that have chosen to make the region their home.
As you graze on sumptuous fare, entertainment from every quarter of the globe raises your spirits even further. Dance groups, soloists, bands and instrumentalists light up the stage in an array of sounds, colour and movement.
Colours of many nations adorn the stalls and walls of the flagship event of the Southland Multicultural Council, which has run the festival for more than a decade.
The freshness of Mexican flavours, Colombian empanada, Spicy Korean favourites, Scottish pies and baked treats, Indian treats you’ve likely never seen before, Sri Lankan, Dutch, Filipino, the list goes on - more than 30 stalls to peruse.
Aotearoa’s rich heritage is represented with kapa haka and hangi.
A glorious mix of firm favourites and new temptations to try.
You won’t feel rushed or pressured - it’s not about sales figures - it’s about new experiences, new ingredients, how it’s cooked, and: Can I make this at home? Stallholders offer you a taste or a small portion - pacing yourself is key.
There’s something entrancing about watching people create and cook amazing food in front of you.
Lounging at one of the large round tables, you compare foods with newfound friends - “Wow that looks great, where did you get it?”
Maybe try out a new dance - if you’re brave.
Young ones sniff out sweet treats.
The gastronomic celebration sees hundreds of locals plus people from Queenstown, Dunedin, Balclutha, Alexandra and from elsewhere throughout Southland and Otago flooding through the doors.
It is undoubtedly the largest multicultural food celebration in the region - a showcase of the region’s growing diversity. An opportunity for people from all walks of life to network and meet new friends.
And the perfect time to test out your taste buds to see if your palate has moved on from that mild place to a medium, or maybe even a hot.
Food is a conduit to breaking down barriers and creating understanding between people from different cultures. Welcoming feelings, being understood and respected. “A beautiful mosaic” as former US President Jimmy Carter once put it.
Whether it’s your first time or if you’re an annual attendee - you’ll find foods and flavours you’ve never experienced before.
They say the best way to learn about a culture is through food, and as you re-emerge from your virtual journey, you’ll feel nourished in mind, body and soul.
After all, who needs to travel overseas, when the whole world is right here waiting for you.
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