Monday, March 30, 2015

Auckland International Cultural Festival 2015

Every year, I try to make it to the Auckland International Cultural Festival. It's not as big as Pasifika, and you can already get all sorts of ethnic foods from the Auckland Night Markets, but I tasted my first Ethiopean injera here, and live in continued hope of discovering something new.

This year, the festival took place on Sunday, and seemed smaller than I remembered it. Perhaps it was due to the rain beforehand, which left the fields a bit of a muddy swamp. The Brazilian stalls I saw at Silo Park's Rice and Beans Festival only the day before (and also at the Brazilian Day Festival at the beginning of the month) were nowhere to be found.

Cultural Dances and Sports

We were just there for the food, but we still managed to catch some of the shows and activities, such as French can-can dancers and some football games. There were random people wandering around in ethnic dress too.

Thai dancers.

Sugar Art

Tang Arts managed to mix food with art and culture. I found it fascinating watching the skilled craftsperson turn molten sugar into intricate Chinese designs, attached to a stick like a lollipop.

Making of sugar art.

Shared Meals

At the Ethiopean stalls, you were welcome to sit down and have a coffee. I was surprised to see a large group of people share an injera plate topped with a variety of stews too. This great community spirit even exteneded to someone just walking past.

Sharing injera.

Burmese Food 

The most interesting food for us came from the Burmese stalls, mainly because we have had very little to do with it before. We watched one of the groups tie sugarcane into a teepee shape to advertise their freshly expressed sugarcane juice, which somehow seemed to have lemon and ginger flavour as well.

Sugarcane structure.

We also tried their round fried snacks called မုန့်လင်မယား (moun lin maja or mont lin mayar), which apparently means "the couple snack" or "the husband and wife snack". These were made of rice flour, boiled yellow peas, coriander and spring onion, and were hot and delicious, with crispy edges.

Burmese bite-sized snacks.

Other Food

Although many food stalls were ones you may have seen at other markets (e.g. the Turkish gözleme maker), there were also stalls that I have not come across elsewhere before, selling Kurdish dolma, Bulgarian baked goods, or Mexican tamales, for instance. We had to do a second round of the stalls before I noticed some of these.

Part of the menu for Ukrainian food.

Did you go to this festival? What did you eat?


  1. I had the Doro Wot from the ethiopian store and Napoleon cake from the ukrainian store. it's interesting eating the doro wot using my hands with the injera to soak up the stew.

    1. Sounds good! I thought about having something like that too, but as there is an Ethiopean restaurant in Auckland, I went for something you can't normally get instead.


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