On Oct. 20, the Parent Teacher Association hosted its 36th annual International Food Fair on campus to help raise money for Taipei American School.
PTA President Ms. Vivian Shen expressed hope that that this year, the Food Fair will be more interactive and engaging for the students and parents. She believes that creating a tight-knit community in TAS will push towards the food fair’s two main goals: promoting more authentic culture and incorporating environmentally friendly concepts.
The main focus of the Food Fair is the food itself, but the PTA wants to dive into the culture of the food. “We want more cultural aspects. So we want the food to [have] more authentic ingredients,” said PTA chairwoman Ms. Mina Hirari. Authentic ingredients and traditional cooking techniques will bring the focus back on the culture behind each dish.
Building community is also one of the PTA’s main goals for the event this year. In previous food fairs, most stage performances were done by PTA members, but now, the PTA has a different plan in mind. “We’ll have more authentic stage performances like singing or dancing and have more people [involved] with this,” Ms. Hirari said.
Ms. Shen also hopes to incorporate diverse cultural elements at their food booths. “I want people to not only eat dim sum, but also see someone wearing something more Chinese,” Ms. Shen said. Ms. Sylvia Chao, a TAS parent, is hosting a Thailand booth to promote her culture. “I thought of making signs of different traditional spices and herbs that I usually use,” Ms. Chao said.
Not only is the Food Fair promoting food from different cultures, but for the culture of people as well. Parents from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, such as Japanese, Spanish and Swiss nationals, will have their own booths and serve their own cultural dishes.
Another aspect the PTA has focused on is environmental awareness. In last year’s food fair, the PTA limited the amount of disposable paper cups. This year, both paper cups and plastic straws are completely banned. Reusable water bottles are available in effort to reduce the amount of waste.
“We get six to seven thousand people who come through the doors, so you can imagine how much waste that could make,” said Ms. Shen.
These small but impactful changes for this year’s food fair come at a cost, though. For the past 20 years, admission to the food fair costed $20 NT. This year, admission will cost $30 NT. This is not a drastic change in price, but the $10 NT difference shows how much work and preparation went into this year’s food fair. “I think this will be a special fair,” Ms. Hirai said. “We’ve spent four months preparing for this, and we’re excited to show everyone what we have.”