Although this is probably one of the more amazing Folklife Festivals the Smithsonian has ever put on, they really dropped the ball on the food.
There were a few culinary based demonstrations, but I felt they were played down and in one case, down right hidden. There were several "Drink" booths on one side of the festival selling the usual lemonade and limeade and something called a Silk Road Punch Smoothie. This turned out to be an interesting mixture of all sorts of fruits blended into a drink. It worked if not weirdly. Between the main food stalls were watermelon stands for those in need of a snack.
OK, so you get past all that. You've been walking all over the show and you're hungry. There were 4 (and a 1/2) food booths to choose from. Not a single one offered anything truly interesting. This could be because they were restaurant sponsored, and they stayed with safe foods. Italy offered pizza and your basic pasta dishes. China offered lo mein, fried rice, and meat on a stick. India offered a veggie combo(spinach and corn, chickpeas, and basmati rice), a chicken combo (curry chicken, chickpeas, and basmati rice), and a lamb byrani (spell check) that was disappoint for what you got. An OK size of seasoned rice with a few dry pieces of lamb, and in the two wells that you normally get other goodies were small dollops of cucumber sauce. Japan sounded like they went adventurous but from reports still went simple. They offered bento boxes which turned out to be nothing excitiing (no real sushi- all cooked, and someone said the rolls were spinach not seaweed).
I completely understand if they couldn't get/find a restaurant to sponsor a Turkey, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, or even an Armenia food area; but those they did get could have offered just one more representative item on the menu.
Just my take on the event.
Oh and that 1/2 food booth sat just behind the Italian booth selling hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza.
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