The International Cuisine Club has opened its members’ eyes to new flavors in different cultures

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The International Cuisine Club eating at Wei Wei Palace

A unanimous favorite restaurant among members of the newest food-based club at FHC—the International Cuisine Club—is Indian Masala. For Senior Timothee Larmande, the dish that came to mind that he enjoyed the most was the delectable butter chicken. 

“We went there after the Northern football game,” Timothee said. “[Senior Veer Badlia] knew the place, so we went and ordered a ton of [butter] chicken with garlic naan and rice. It was absolutely delicious.” 

The problem with searching for the “correct” restaurants to go to is the fact that you have to try one after another to find the one that fits best. And even though Timothee enjoys east Asian food, his experience at the last Chinese restaurant he went to with the group didn’t fulfill his expectations. 

To get that real authentic experience, the group would either have to travel all the way to China and eat the food there or continue dining in at different Chinese restaurants around Grand Rapids. 

“It doesn’t hurt to try [different] food,” Timothee said. “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it [again]. Might as well just try it. I didn’t like the [Chinese] place we went to, but I still tried whatever I could.” 

Though the International Cuisine Club is about trying new foods, Senior Jack Manchesky describes the club as “FHC’s most exclusionary club,” particularly because of the extreme application and acceptance process. 

In the short period of time that the club has been active, only one additional club member has been accepted into the group. 

“[The International Cuisine Club] is the most exclusive club at [FHC],” Jack said. “You have to submit a form from our Instagram, and it will go on to be reviewed by the board. If you get accepted, great. If you don’t, I’m sorry. We want each person to be unique and be able to contribute something to the club. We’re currently running at about a four-percent acceptance rate right now.” 

Along with keeping the club small, the leaders have all decided not to share out the specific locations of each of their meetings. Jack’s explanation for this drastic detail is to make sure that not too many people show up to each restaurant. He doesn’t want the seats overflowing with students to the point where the club won’t be allowed back, so he feels this was a necessary precaution to take. 

We are the connoisseurs of Grand Rapids. And we are expanding rapidly.”

— Jack Manchesky

Yes, it’s a downside to people who want to try these restaurants they are publicizing to their social media and labeling it as good food, but Jack sees this as a perk.

Each outing for the club has been around a mere ten dollars per person. Every person can contribute a small amount to a larger cost, and that’s what Jack finds very rewarding.

“When there are fewer people,” Jack said, “we can buy [a bigger] quantity [of food] and share it with everyone to pay less. That’s one of my favorite parts about the club, being able to split the pay.” 

Along with Timothee, Indian Masala stuck out to Jack much more than the other locations—again, because of their chicken. But Jack took a liking to a different usage of chicken that the restaurant makes: Tandoori Chicken.

“I had these chicken drumsticks at Indian Masala called ‘Tandoori Chicken’,” Jack said. “My parents want to go get some with me soon because it is truly the best I’ve ever had.” 

Indian Masala will always be a classic favorite for the club; Jack describes it as their “home field.” But because the International Cuisine Club is relatively new—created Oct 14—there are lots of different restaurants that the members have in mind for future visits.

Senior Veer Badalia is looking forward to trying a list of different kinds of food including Soul food, Taiwanese food, Indonesian food, Thai food, Canadian food, and even many different kinds of famous American delicacies. No matter what it is, if it’s unique to the typical American dinner, it’s something the group wants to try. 

“They make very delicious food [out there],” Veer said. “Lots of different flavors from different countries. We get to get a glimpse into their lifestyle and their opinions. It’s great.” 

The club is looking forward to having new members join in the future. Since the club began, Veer can proudly say that he has had a great time sharing a love of new food with his friends.

“It’s fun,” Veer said. “You will have fun. No doubt.”