A ‘Taste of Asia’ in Balboa Park


A woman performs traditional Chinese folks songs on an instrument called the pipa lute, representing the House of China in the Sept. 27 event held in Balboa Park. Photo credit: Richard Lomibao

Richard Lomibao

Flying colors, live music, the Taste of Asia performers represented their countries in front of an enlightened crowd in Balboa Park’s House of Pacific International Cottages on Saturday, Sept. 27.

Food tents were pushing out delights such as: Chinese noodle soup, boba drinks, Indian samosas, and Filipino pancit. House of India, Korea, China and the Philippines also opened their cottage doors to allow the public to learn some history about each country.

With China being a country popular for it’s size in Asia, President David Seid of House of China, wants to bring awareness by using Taste of Asia to showcase Asian countries outside of China.

Seid is proud of how much respect each country has for each other, describing it as a “ … a taste of how the growing Asian community is coming together.”

The stage drew attention with interesting sounds, dance movements and colorful costumes to come.

House of China began the day with a performance of traditional folk songs by Chinese pipa lute. The instrument is a Chinese guitar with a pear shaped body that plays only four strings. Unlike a traditional acoustic guitar, the pipa lute is vertically positioned on the lap.

The anticipated Sea Lion dancers and drummers finally hit the stage. The drums rolled and banged slowly for the three lions to hit the stage. Each lion representing a different color: yellow, red and white.

Representing a dance of fortune in Chinese culture, the lions put on a playful act on stage with a whole lettuce passing around its fortunes. The lions grabbed the lettuce in the air with their mouths and frolicked around the crowd at the end of their performance to pass around good luck and spectators were allowed to pet the lion to receive its good fortune.

Drums are big part of Asia’s traditional music. For Korea, it’s a distinct part of their culture. The drums are performed as a group with synchronicity, a key component to their sound. First was a set of drummers lined up on stage banging on what looked to be larger snares. They were followed by drums that hung on an upright wood frame that had to be banged with a stick and performers had to sit on the ground to play.

House of India were the last to perform with Bollywood dancers showcasing their passion for popular Indian music. The songs played loudly through the speakers with a faster tempo that could compete with the Sea Lion drummers. The women wore low swaying, colorful dresses, which made it easier to move in.

“In these countries, it’s about coming together, dancing and sharing these moments where everyone sings and dances along to these songs while they clap with joy for one another,” Christina Inchaurregui an artist and City College student said.