This weekend Fayetteville will be celebrating our famous International Folk Festival. I look forward to the event every year. This is by far one of the best festivals Fayetteville has to offer. Our city comes alive, during this three-day fun-filled event, with vivid and vibrant colors from the beautiful costumes worn by our locals, to represent their country of origin, to experiencing cultural dances and understanding cultural lifestyles. Who would have thought Fayetteville can be so diverse in culture. The three-day event is spread throughout downtown Fayetteville with stages set up at strategic areas for cultural dances, music, arts, and of course food!

The food will always be dearest to my heart. I anticipate trying new ethnic cuisine or just pig out on familiar favorites.  Over the years, I have learned to pace myself and bring lots of baggies and containers so that I can take home whatever I cannot finish on sight and site 🙂 There are at least 20 different countries that participate in showcasing their cuisine and I would do my best to try all of them!

To my delight just about every year a new country would participate in representing their country’s cuisine. I love to see what dishes are being prepared and taste the different and unusual ingredients if any. I feel like a little girl in a candy store. There is a dish for everyone to try; some familiar and some not so familiar.

Once the weekend is over I go through an ethnic food letdown and wish I could have some more arepas from Salvador or Vietnamese sticky rice balls. If you are like me and wish you to have these dishes more than just once a year, I have compiled some popular festival fare below so that you can try your hand at preparing them yourself and have them any time of the year.

Happy Eating!



Great Britain – Scotch Eggs

1 1/4 pounds bulk country-style pork sausage
1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 hard-boiled large eggs, peeled
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for deep-frying the eggs


In a large bowl combine the sausage, sage, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce until well distributed but not over mixed. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and flatten each portion into a thin round.

Enclose each hard-boiled egg in each of the sausage rounds, making sure the eggs are completely enclosed. Dredge the sausage-coated eggs in the flour, shaking off the excess, dip them in the raw eggs, letting the excess drip off, and roll them gently in the bread crumbs, coating them well.

In a deep fryer heat 2 1/2 inches of  oil to 350°F.  Fry the Scotch eggs, in batches, turning and transferring them to paper towels to drain with a slotted spoon as they are done, approximately 8-10 minutes.

Makes 4 scotch eggs


Phillipines – Pancit Bihon (Stir-fried Noodles)

8 ounces rice sticks or rice vermicelli
2-3 pieces chicken thighs or drumsticks
1/2  small green cabbage, shredded in 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium carrots, shredded or chopped thinly crosswise
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dark (thick) soy sauce
2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional, add 1 tablespoon soy sauce  if not adding fish sauce)
Freshly ground black pepper

Optional Garnishes:
Lemon wedge
Thinly sliced green onions
Chili garlic oil


In a medium size pot, boil chicken in 4 cups of water to make the stock. Once cooked, shred the chicken meat into thin strips. Discard the bones and set the stock aside.

Heat a large wok to medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil. Stir fry onions until the onions turn clear, about 2 minutes; add in the garlic and fry until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Next add shrimp. Cook until shrimp starts to change color; add in shredded chicken, cabbage and carrots. Lightly stir fry 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Pour the chicken stock into the heated wok. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down to medium. Add rice sticks, sugar, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Boil for another 5 minutes or so until there is approximately 1/4 cup stock left. Add the meat mixture back into the wok. Lightly stir fry until all the liquid has evaporated. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.

Garnish with a lemon wedge, chopped scallions, and chili garlic oil.

Makes 4-6 servings


Panama – Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)

2 large chicken breast halves
2 chicken thighs
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oil
1 package achiote spice (can be found in Hispanic section in grocery store)
3 cups rice, rinsed and let dry in sieve
3/4 cup shredded carrots
½ cup whole green olives
2 tablespoons capers (optional)
¼ cup raisins
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup frozen peas
salt, sugar and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped


In medium saucepan, cook chicken with half each of the chopped onions, garlic and green bell pepper, 2 teaspoon salt and 4 cups water. Cook until tender. Let cool. Strain  and reserve broth; add enough water to make 5 cups broth. De-bone and shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat oil with achiote spice in a large pan; sauté remaining chopped onion, garlic and green bell pepper until tender. Add rice, carrots, olives, capers, raisins, Worcestershire sauce, salt and the 5 cups of broth. Cover and cook until rise is tender, 25-30 minutes. Stir in peas. Keep warm until ready to serve. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 8


France – French Crepes

2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan
Strawberry preserves or Nutella hazelnut spread


In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator to rest for 1 hour.

Heat a small non-stick pan on medium heat. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter (about 1/4 cup) into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Repeat with rest of the batter. Spread strawberry preserves or Nutella on crepe or your favorite jam. Fold crepe in half and then in quarter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired and serve.

If storing for later, lay crepes out flat so they can cool. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.

Makes 17 to 22 crepes

Greece – Souvlaki (Greek Meat and Vegetable Kebabs)

2 pounds cubed lamb, beef, chicken or pork
½ cup olive oil
2 large lemons, juiced
¼ cup red wine
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 -4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

Vegetables for the kebabs
1 large onion – cut into quarters
1 each green and red peppers– cut into 2 inch pieces
Cherry tomatoes – leave whole


Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and wine together; add the herbs, garlic and chopped onion and put the mixture into a deep dish reserving 1/4 cup marinade to coat cooked meat if desired. Add the meat cubes to the marinade and mix together well, coating meat evenly. Place in bag and refrigerated at least 6 to 24 hours.

If using wooden skewer, soak in water for 1/2 hour. Remove the meat from the marinade, the remaining marinade may be kept for basting during cooking but it must then be thrown away.

Skewer kebabs, alternating pieces of meat with vegetable.

Heat barbecue grill on medium high. Grill kebabs for 8-12 minutes (depending on kind of meat used) until meat is cooked through and vegetables are tender, basting and turning meat regularly. The kebabs may be baked in the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Brush kebab with the reserved marinade that hasn’t been in contact with the raw meat. Serve with Tzatziki dip.

Tzatziki Dip
1 cup Greek yogurt
¼ English cucumber, chopped into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients together and mix them well then cover and rest for at least an hour


India – Mango Lassi

2 ripe mangoes, chilled
2-3 tablespoons honey or to taste
1/2 cup milk
1 cup  Greek yogurt


Peel the mango skin, discard seed and cut the mangoes into small pieces. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend well. Make sure the mangoes are completely blended into juice. Adjust the ingredients as per your taste, pour into glasses, freeze in the fridge for 30 minutes or serve immediately.