Where else on campus can you have delicious Asian food, watch traditional dance routines and try your hand at Chinese calligraphy other than at the NIH Asian and Pacific Islander American Organization’s annual Ethnic Food Fair?
On May 22 on the Bldg. 31A patio, several hundred employees enjoyed the event, whose main attraction was a rich variety of ethnic foods and a celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander American heritage at NIH. Representatives from local restaurants such as Hollywood East Café, Shanghai Café, Tandoori Nights and Korean Korner sold their cuisine for NIH’ers to enjoy on a sunny afternoon.
Groups such as the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management and NIMHD set up tables to talk to attendees, while other groups such as the NIH APAO set up a table where you could try Japanese origami and Chinese calligraphy and learn about the health benefits of tea. There were also vendors selling jewelry and other items.
A highlight of the afternoon was a performance by the Korean Mae-Hwa Dancing Group, a group of women who were originally friends in high school in Korea who reunited in the D.C. area; they are led by teacher Sandra Oh. One of the dancers, Minkyung Song, is an NIH employee. The troupe came to the festival in pink and green dresses—the costume of the imperial court—along with hand fans and performed a graceful dance routine to popular Korean folk songs.
Also sharing information at the event were Public Health Service commissioned officers representing the Asian Pacific American officers committee and scientist professional advisory committee. The NIH Federal Credit Union, a regular supporter of the event, provided information about its financial services.
The theme of the observance, “I Want the Wide American Earth,” was inspired by a poem by the late Filipino American poet Carlos Bulosan:
Before the brave, before the proud builders and workers,
I say I want the wide American Earth
For all the free.
I want the wide American Earth for my people.
I want my beautiful land.
I want it with my rippling strength and tenderness
Of love and light and truth
For all the free.
The NIH APAO donates a portion of event proceeds to the Children’s Inn at NIH. Membership in APAO is open to staff and members of the NIH community.
The event has been held since 1972, making this the 41st festival to date.—Jeff Kopp and Laura Wong
Fan Dance, performed by the Korean Mae-Hwa Dancing Group, led by Sandra Oh
Representatives from local restaurants such as Hollywood East Café, Shanghai Café, Tandoori Nights and Korean Korner sold their cuisine for NIH’ers to enjoy on a sunny afternoon.
Photos: Jeff Kopp