A Taste of Indian Spice

by: Hoda Joudi Haghighi

Every year, fresh faces arrive at Southern Illinois University, eager to immerse themselves in a vibrant tapestry of cultures from around the world. For these new students, the diversity they encounter is nothing short of mesmerizing. From the tantalizing array of foods to the myriad of languages, accents, and unique styles of dress, each day presents a treasure trove of new experiences. Exploring this variety of cultural richness becomes an irresistible adventure, brimming with endless fascination and excitement.

students from various countries carrying their flags across campus
The Parade of Flags during SIU’s International Festival.

As I am walking through it, I think it is a small adventure to learn what life looks like in other parts of the Earth. It’s thrilling to soak in the diverse tapestry of experiences, from the tantalizing aromas of global cuisines to the melodic cadence of unfamiliar languages floating in the air. I’m mindful that this exploration isn’t without its repercussions. 

Having recently settled into the community housing in Carbondale, I found myself immersed in a sharing lifestyle from the get-go. My Indian friend decided to host a small gathering, a common occurrence where friends come together to share traditional dishes. As we gathered around the round table, I took a seat and observed the unfamiliar food located in the center.  While my companions eagerly indulged in the feast before me, I hesitated, unsure of what to expect. Having heard narratives of the fiery nature of Indian food, I couldn’t decide if should I eat it. 

a student serving up a taste of indian spice at the International Food Fest
SIU’s International Food Fest

I cautiously loaded up my plate with food, but as soon as I took my first bite, it felt like my mouth was on fire. I couldn’t stop coughing; it was like I was gasping for air. Thankfully, someone rushed over and handed me a cup of water, providing some much-needed relief. Despite my decision to leave, my friend urged me to stay there. He offered a solution: mixing the fiery Karry with more rice and cool yogurt. It turned out to be a surprisingly effective solution. 

Thanks to the yogurt trick, I gradually built up my tolerance for spicy food. Nowadays, I can enjoy moderately spicy Indian dishes without feeling like my mouth is fiery. 

Are you an international student interested in coming to SIU? Learn more here.

You May Also Like
a latinx couple dancing

Latin Dance

Share via: Facebook LinkedIn Email More by: Hoda Joudi Haghighi In the vibrant mosaic of Colombia’s cultural dance…

Table Talk

Share via: Facebook LinkedIn Email More by: Hoda Joudi Haghighi I met Beth for the first time when…