If your palate isn’t sophisticated enough to take you past fast food burgers or the safety net of a home-cooked meal you know you’ll enjoy, it might be time to branch out and try some new things.
If you’re willing to take the leap, your chance is here. The 13th annual Taste the Difference Festival and Sisters Cities Fest brings together local restaurants that represent food traditions from around the world, and you can sample as much as you can get to. The festival, put on by the International Marketplace Coalition, is 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 21 at New Wineskin Ministries, 4501 W. 38th St.
Restaurants representing 22 countries will have booths with food for people to sample. Attendees get a passport to carry around, and if you get to 15 restaurants, you get a discount card that’s good for any restaurant that’s part of the coalition.
“We’re like the place to be if you want to have some culture,” said Mary Clark, executive director of the coalition.
Food is the main part of the day, but there will also be performances, culture booths, exhibits and a children’s corner where they can make arts and crafts from around the world.
Tonia Wheeler will participate in her third Taste the Difference Festival. She started EKO African Cuisine in 2015 and said the festival usually gives her business a good bump in the weeks following.
“I love it because I get to meet a lot of people from different parts of the world,” she said. “I just love the fact that they can try our food.”
The food Wheeler said people should definitely try from her restaurant is the jollof rice, which is blended with onions, tomatoes, peppers and a special seasoning.
Wheeler, who moved to America from Nigeria in 1986, said the festival is also a source of pride for restaurants that are part of the coalition.
“I live on the north side, but I love coming to the west side,” she said. “It’s so diverse. It makes me feel like I’m back home, especially when people come in here from my country and we speak the same language.”
Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.