Thousands taste increased offerings at Tasman’s Asian Night Food Fair
The Nelson Wakatu Muslim Association’s stall of international flavours was a winner at Tasman’s Asian Night Food Fair in Richmond on Saturday evening.
With an array of food reflecting the array of cultures that make up the association’s membership, there were tastes on offer from Fiji, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Sudan, Afghanistan and Morocco.
Association publicity officer Faridah Tup, of Singapore, said some customers told her they chose to eat from the stall because they had never before sampled some of the dishes.
“We’re not one culture, we’re various cultures; we share a common religion,” Tup said. “Unity in diversity is really us.”
The tastes on offer included Fijian Indian food, a Sri Lankan vegetable curry, a Singaporean lentil curry, Afghan rice, Sudanese sweet buns and tea, Moroccan spiced coffee, and Moroccan beef and vegetable pie, which sold out quickly.
Tup said the association had grown from about five families in 2012 to about 20 families now with a membership of about 45 and some associate members.
Funds raised from the stall would go towards the association obtaining a centre of its own, she said.
The Muslim Association stall was one of 17 that ringed a large section of Washbourn Gardens for the bigger, second annual food fair run by Nelson Multicultural Council.
Thousands of people, speaking many different languages, gathered in the leafy Richmond spot to taste food from around the world and watch a variety of performers, from a Filipino trio to a Malaysian violinist.
Dave Johnson, of Queensland, played his didgeridoo, an instrument he first picked up in 1995.
“I felt totally drawn to it,” he said.
Johnson said he had been in the country for more than two weeks. It was his first trip across the Tasman to “see all the amazingness of New Zealand”.
A multi-instrumentalist, Johnson has developed a show called Digera, which involves a range from instruments including didgeridoos, saxophones, percussion, keyboards, guitar, marimbas and the Native American flute.
He said he intended to play the didgeridoo at the Nelson Market “at least another one or two times”.
Johnson joined Nelson sitar player Greg Douch on stage for an impromptu jam session after the pair met at the food fair. Douch said he had been playing the sitar for about 13 years. He performed at the “odd festival” and did some busking.
Multicultural council co-ordinator Jenni Bancroft was pleased with the evening, which achieved its aim of bringing together people of different cultures in Tasman district.