Many University of Maine students and community members passing through the Memorial Union on Saturday, April 28, witnessed the Asian Student Association’s Taste of Asia event taking place in the North Pod and Union Central.
The event kicked off at 5 p.m. with a free buffet of local Asian cuisine provided by Oriental Jade, Green Tea Restaurant and Taste of India. Students were treated to dumplings, crab rangoons, pad thai, chicken tikka, General Tso’s chicken, an array of sushi, vegetable and chicken tempura and more.
Following the food were three artistic performances. Lily Crane was up first, and was introduced by the Asian Student Association President Thomas Ling as “an experienced local performer who is heavily involved with the local Asian community.” Her dance piece combined contemporary dance with traditional Chinese music.
Next up was Zhiwei Liu, a hip-hop dancer and a third-year student. He danced to a modern Chinese pop song by Luhan about the intersection between pop music and growing trends of globalization. Both Liu and Crane performed at the International Dance Festival this past February.
And finally Zhining Xia graced the stage to sing three traditional Beijing Opera pieces, titled “Phoenix Returns to the Nest,” “All Have a Bright Heart” and “Pear Blossom.” Xia was decked out in traditional expressive makeup and costuming for the Chinese Opera performances, and nailed several high notes throughout her performance.
Ling was happy with the turnout for the event. “Taste of Asia is for giving the local community a taste of various Asian cultures through performance and food,” he said. “Especially in Maine, there can be a lack of cultural diversity. Having events like this can promote those cultures that otherwise might not be represented. Additionally, it’s always good to share the culture that we grew up with to our community.”
For more information on events like these, look at the Office of Multicultural Student Life and the UMaine Asian Students Association on Facebook.