Soup celebration brings language students together

Jiuling Sun, an instructor of Chinese at WKU, and members of the Chinese Club worked together to cook Chinese chicken soup and white mushroom soup with apple and lotus seed Wednesday at the Confucius Institute.

Amelia Brett

The WKU Chinese Club and Russian Club held a soup celebration Wednesday at the Confucius Institute in order to exchange cultural cuisine.

Multiple members of each club cooked soup that would later be shared as others played Chinese trivia or helped prepare ingredients. The groups held a similar event last year with dumplings and wanted to continue the tradition, Virginia Siegel, a WKU folklife specialist in a Chinese course, said.

Ekaterina Myakshina, an instructor of Russian at WKU, and Jiuling Sun, an instructor of Chinese at WKU, assisted students with cooking.

There were multiple soups available at the event, including Chinese chicken soup and white mushroom soup with apple and lotus seed. The Russian varieties included borscht, a soup with beets and tomato, and solyanka, made with a tomato base and pickles.

“It’s a great way to learn about intercultural competency,” Jeremy McFarland, the vice president of the WKU Chinese Club, said.

He said a lot of students stay on their own side of language programs, and this event helps bring them together. The celebration mainly included the Chinese and Russian clubs and classes, but it also was open to guests or general students.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet other language students,” McFarland said.

Students were also given extra tips and background on Chinese soups by McFarland during a slideshow presentation. He explained the difference of ingredients from soups in the U.S.

For example, he said Chinese chicken soup is unique in the way it uses star of anise, a spice and peppercorn. The white mushroom soup with apple is a sweet soup that includes sugar crystals, goji berries and Chinese dry dates.

“I would love for the Chinese Club to work with the Spanish Club in the future,” McFarland said. He said he would like for them to do a similar event, but possibly with a different dish.

Reporter Amelia Brett can be reached at [email protected].