Taste of OSU: A Review

Taste of OSU, simply put, is a cultural event featuring over 30 international and ethnic clubs The Ohio State University has to offer. However, that description does not accurately capture the energy and pride that filled the Ohio Union on Friday night. 

Upon entering Ohio State’s student hub, I was greeted with unfamiliar scents, loud music and a bustling crowd. In fact, according to the event’s Facebook page, around 4,000 international and American students, faculty, staff and families attended Taste of OSU this year, which showed in the line I had to wait in for food tickets. 

After paying $10 for a chance to fill my plate with goodies, I was off to explore the booths. Each student organization featured two dishes, making it nearly impossible to choose. In order to satisfy the rebellious college student in me, my first course consisted entirely of desserts: honey cake from The Ukrainian Society, flan from the Latino Student Association and cheesecake from the Lebanese Student Organization. 

With a full plate of sweets, I was ready to witness the night’s main entertainment: dancing. 

The performances were set on a stage in the middle of Ohio State’s Union, with smaller screens projecting the action in the ballrooms. 

As I walked out of the food arena, me and my sugar were treated to a belly dance performance by the oh-so-confident Maria Carroll, an undergrad at Ohio State studying political science. The crowd around me “oohed and awed” at the Art In Motion dancer’s display, while I second guessed my food choices for a moment. 

Following Carroll, Ohio State’s other international dance groups took the stage — the Irish Dance team, Zuvaa Afro Caribbean Dancers and Dance of the Soul from China, just to name a few — but my personal favorite was J2K. 

The dance group dedicated to modern Asian culture by focusing on K-pop, C-pop and J-pop had an infectious energy about them. So much so, that I snuck over the the side of the stage just to stand with the organization. 

J2K sent multiple teams to the stage and with each routine, the other teams members cheered loudly, sang along and mirrored the choreography. Had I not been stuffing my face with cake, I surely would have joined the dance break. 

As the night went on and the crowds grew thicker, I decided I better go back for a second course before the food ran out; this time opting to try foods more out of my comfort zone. 

I collected foods like kheer, an almond rice pudding, from the Indian Students Association and mlattash, an eggplant stew, from the Syrian Student Organization. Both were tasty, but I decided I had to step further from my regular diet to get the true Taste of OSU experience. 

And so, I broke my vegetarian vows. 

With the Saudi Students Organization’s lamb kabasa, the Chinese Scholar Society’s honey chicken and the Korean Student Organization’s pork bulgogi on my plate, I sat down and enjoyed my guilty pleasures. 

Taste of OSU, I decided, was an event I would surely come back to. The night shined a light on cultures we college students don’t interact with on a daily basis and gave participants another way to show pride in the countries and ethnicities they represent. It brought together cultures from around the world with two things nearly everyone can appreciate: dancing and food.