Abroad Insights ‘Around the World: Eat & Tell’
Have you ever tried tasting foods from different countries at a place?
After two years of waiting, we were finally able to hold an international onsite activity together, especially for all boarders at BSQ. One of the BINUS international students from the Philippines, Vian from Business Information Systems 2025, has a brilliant idea to celebrate cultural diversity, to learn about the culture, and to make friends through cooking and sharing food from different countries among boarders. It was not only for international students but also for Indonesian students’ boarders at BSQ (our student accommodation quarter). Hence, a short, onsite culinary adventure from the comfort of BSQ’s hall becomes a perfect way to realize this extraordinary idea. The boarders and their friends can ‘travel’ around the world and grab a taste of the traditional dishes without leaving the BSQ! This event succeeded in collaborating with the Program Development Center (PDC), BINUS Square Student Club (BSSC), and of course, our cool international student boarders and Indonesian student boarders.
This cooking and eating together event were called Abroad Insights ‘Around the World: Eat & Tell’, which was held on May 25th 2022, in the Exhibition Hall, BINUS Square. Participating boarders tried unique traditional food from three different countries; Somalia, Nigeria, and Cambodia. What made this event interesting was the food cooked by our BINUS international student boarders! They presented on the spot by themselves some fun facts about the dishes, the steps to make them, and explained the history of the food they served to other boarders. Big smiles and excitement appeared on our international and Indonesian boarders’ faces while enjoying the event.
The committee arranged all the rundown well with the health protocols in place. So, all the boarders at BSQ did antigen tests to ensure their health before joining the main event. The opening began at 7 pm by Vian, representing the international student boarders, and Steven and Kezia, representing the Indonesian student boarders, to greet all the participants in the Exhibition Hall. No need to wait any longer, the group took turns starting to present their cooking.
It began with the Cambodia team, which Mey and Det represented. Mey and Det did not waste the chance they got to show their Cambodian traditional comfort dish; Bobor Sach Mon (Chicken Porridge). We learned a fun fact that “Bobor” (Cambodian word for porridge) is similar to the Indonesian word for porridge – “Bubur”! The porridge also brought back memories from their childhood.
The aroma of the porridge was not at all similar to Indonesian porridge. It was far more aromatic, and the air was full of anticipation of the must-be-tasty flavour. The boarders’ eyes lit up with excitement as they got hungrier when Mey’s aromatic porridge reached their noses. It made them line up as soon as Det had done preparing. They couldn’t wait anymore to try the taste of the Cambodian chicken porridge. It looked good, wasn’t it?
The porridge was made with so much care, love, passion, and many ingredients inside. Healthy chicken broth flavoured the rice porridge, topped with mushrooms, carrots and other veggies, shredded chicken meat, coriander, and sesame oil. The warm porridge warmed the hungry stomachs of our boarders – and their hearts. It was indeed a comfort food! Sadly, not all boarders got the chance to taste it – it ran out so quickly! One of the boarders even liked it so much, suggested Mey and Det to open their own porridge stall at BSQ’s cafeteria. You must be curious about how good the taste is, don’t you?
Our boarders, who were still hungry after the hearty meal, were getting their stomachs ready again to taste the taste of Somaliland, Somalia, brought by Ali and Hassan. Our Somalilander students presented two dishes; Laxoox (a tiny-bit-tangy flatbread) as the first dish and Beer (a stir-fried liver dish with veggies and spices) as the second dish. Without wasting time, all the boarders tasted the Somalia dishes with an exciting face on them, like they forgot that they had already tasted good food before.
It was indeed very unique! The Laxoox looked like crepes – but tasted more savoury. You were supposed to use it to wrap your Beer and eat it together. Feel free to use your hands to eat them like our boarders here. The slightly spicy Beer was a good pair for the Laxoox, as if they were a match made in heaven. “We usually eat it for breakfast. The duo is more perfect if paired with Shaah, Somalian spiced hot tea,” as Ali and Hassan told our curious boarder friends. Unsuspecting judges were surprised at how much potential liver can be for a dish – it tasted just like nicely seasoned meat! Ali and Hassan were excellent humble cooks!
After tasting the flavorful Cambodian and Somaliland main dishes, it would be perfect for sharing some sweet snacks and a refreshing cool drink. Although the sky turned dark, it was getting more fun. All the boarders were still waiting for the third meal from Nigeria. Faith was the only one who became the representative of this team – but her friends from different parts of the world helped her backstage with cooking and presenting. Faith took this chance to serve a traditional snack, Chin Chin (sweet and savoury deep-fried, crunchy snack) and the Zobo drink (healthy hibiscus/ rosella tea with pineapple, ginger, and other spices). It was probably a new taste for all the boarders as the first time tasting Nigerian snacks and drinks. However, they could not deny how delicious those are!
One of the staff said the snacks reminded him of an Indonesian traditional Ied Mubarak’s dish called “biji Ketapang”. And the spiced cold tea couldn’t be more perfect to close the day, as second and third servings from the boarders were requested. Full stomach, happy time! But the fun was not over yet!
The boarders did not only enjoy tasting the food but as they were also curious about how to cook it properly and where to find the specific ingredients as well, a Quiz session to check how much the participants remembered after a full stomach followed. But our students were just too smart and focused, as correct answers were easy to nail. So how much have you known about these wonderful dishes, folks?
To close this fun event, we had a wonderful chat time and photo session as we wanted to strengthen our bounding and to have memories among all the boarders at BSQ. We hope that this event can give more insight into the world’s food taste for all BINUS Students. Also, our international students could show and promote their country’s favourite foods. New knowledge was gained, new food tried – and liked, and new friendships were made. This was unforgettable moment ever!