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Two weeks to taste the world

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Didn't get out to Folklorama last week? No worries; there is plenty more to see and eat in Week 2 of this annual extravaganza.

 

24. African-Caribbean Pavilion

Grant Park High School, 450 Nathaniel St.

FOOD: Jerk chicken, calypso ribs, curried chick or goat will set you back a mere $9. Smaller dishes, such as chicken, beef and vegetable rot, are $7. Desserts at $2.50 include banana bread, coconut drops and gizzada -- a delectable mix of grated coconut, ginger, sugar and nutmeg in a pastry shell. Tropical ice cream is $3 a cup.

DRINK: Dragon Stout, Red Stripe and Carib beers for $5.50. Rum punch and Pina Colada for $5. Sorel (a traditional Christmas drink) is $3.

SHOW: A fine lineup of dancers will keep you bopping to the music. The crown jewel here is Prince JoJo, seemingly king of the limbo. When he slides under burning slats perched on beer bottles, the crowd goes wild. The souvenir area feels like a Caribbean market, selling everything from artwork to umbrellas to clothes and textiles.

BEST REASON TO GO: Drums, all the different ones in the show plus the steel ones you can learn to play, courtesy of the Winnipeg Steel Orchestra.

CULTURE SHOCK: Playing the steel drums only seems effortless. The letters of the scale are actually written inside each drum so the musician knows where to strike the right note.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The African-Caribbean pavilion is presented by the Afro-Caribbean Association of Manitoba. A too-short explanation of the association on the back of a menu outlines the contribution it has made by embracing all strands of the black historical experience. The cultural display would greatly benefit from more information on that.

-- Julie Carl

 

25. Belgian Pavilion

Le Club Belge, 407 Provencher Blvd.

FOOD: When in Belgium, eat as Belgians eat and that means french fries. Try the frieten en mayonnaise (fries and mayonnaise) for $2.50. The beer stew is also tasty ($8) as is the sausage with a bun ($6.50).

DRINK: You've tried Stella Artois before so why not step out of your comfort zone and try one of the other 19 beers in the fridge? All come with their own glass -- specifically designed to bring out the taste -- and specific way of being poured. SHOW: The traditional dancing is energetic and fun and backed up by a live accordion player. This pavilion also has a bar and a small kitchen in the display area so you can have a beer and a waffle (no syrup, just fruit and whipped cream on top) while learning about Belgian culture.

BEST REASON TO GO: This country knows its beer. There are 8,700 beers brewed in Belgium. Manitoba, by comparison, has a couple of dozen.

CULTURE SHOCK: The Smurfs are from Belgium. It's unclear whether this will cause visitors to rise up in anger or give pavilion staff a hug for being so "Smurfy." When giving new parents presents in Belgium, pink is for boys and blue is for girls.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Um, more delicious beers?

-- Geoff Kirbyson

 

26. Brazilian Pavilion

Heather Curling Club, 120 Youville St.

FOOD: If you're interested in sampling a bit of everything, try the sampler at only $10, which includes spicy feijoada pork and black beans and beef stroganoff on rice that will have your taste buds running wild -- and for a glass of water.

DRINK: Brazilian pop, Guarana Antarctica, is like candy in a can. This popular Brazilian pop drink is sweet and delicious at only $3. If you're a big coffee drinker, try Brazil's pilao coffee. It's strong and keeps you awake all day and all night. Brazil's national cocktail is caipirinha made with cachaca (sugar cane hard liquor) for $6.

SHOW: This year, the show was introduced by Brazilian dancers who lit up the arena with their sparkling high heels that moved swiftly and vibrantly across the stage. The dancers also caught the audience's eye by integrating among different tables. Afterwards, a sea of blue and green came on stage to drum to a traditional Brazilian beat. Then came capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that incorporates dance, music and acrobatics.

BEST REASON TO GO: If you think flips are made solely for the purpose of jumping off a diving board, you are mistaken. I've never seen a group of people do so many back flips in the span of one performance. The capoeira was fantastic. The faster the drumming, the faster the flips. Don't eat a lot beforehand because the flips will make you dizzy.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The performance was captivating, but too short.

--Elizabeth Fraser

 

27. Casa do Minho Portuguese Pavilion

Casa do Minho Portuguese Centre, 1080 Wall St.

FOOD: Seafood platter or pork and clams are a great bet for sharing at $15 each. Pork on a bun is spicy ($6) and perogies ($3.50) are served cold. Mouth-watering desserts such as flan, rice pudding and custard are only $3.

DRINK: Everything tastes fruity from the light smooth red wine ($5 a glass, $20 a bottle) to the Sumol brand sparkling fruit drinks ($2) for the non-al crowd, with slushies ($4) made as a salute to the Winnipeg crowd. Imported beer Sagres and Super Bock are $5.50.

SHOW: The vigorous adult dancers whirled and swirled, with castanets clacking and the dance boss hollering changes. Passionate singer Hermano Silva sings a heart-wrenching version of I Swear. Small display of Portuguese world records for biggest and best in everything, from omelettes to bridges.

BEST REASON TO GO: A great dance pavilion to amp up your energy.

CULTURE SHOCK: What a history! In a nasty twist of fate, young Luis Filipe was king of Portugal for only 20 minutes. After his father, King Carlos, was assassinated in 1908 in a regicide, Luis died of his own injuries minutes later.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Bullfight video accompanying dinner before show? A little rough.

-- Maureen Scurfield

 

28. Chilean Pavilion

Notre Dame Recreational Centre, 271 avenue de la Cathédrale

 

FOOD: Beef empanada is excellent, corn pie ($8) is sweet and tasty. For lighter appetites, try beefsteak sandwiches or roulades ($5) and charquican stew ($7). Their famous 1,000-layer cake is tasty but a tad dry.

DRINK: Red Borono wine ($5). Hit the Pisco bar, which showcases the famous Chilean grape liquor with many mixes (all $5).

SHOW: A huge band spanning the entire stage with guitars, drums, flutes and keyboards provided a great backing for dancers -- males in high-heeled boots with spurs; ladies in red, white and blue peasant dress-up. An additional second act, featuring white hula feather outfits is confusing. Turns out this dance comes from exotic Easter Island, a Polynesian Island far from their shores, which is a special territory of Chile. Several displays reflect the beach culture of Chile, with beautiful jewelry made of polished shells and beads.

CULTURE: Chile's cultures, the mainland and the tropical East Island, are worlds apart:

BEST REASON TO GO: The band is outstanding, start to finish.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The show needs a narrator to explain what's going on.

-- Maureen Scurfield

 

29. Colombian Pavilion

 

St. Norbert Community Centre,

3450 Pembina Hwy.

 

FOOD: The seasoned beef or chicken skewer ($6 each) come with boiled potatoes in tomato sauce and a tropical salad. The chorizo sausage ($6) and breaded fried pork steak ($6.50) are also tasty or get the combo sampler plate for $11.50 to take out the guesswork. Finish things off with the flan ($2.50) for dessert.

DRINK: Refajo ($3) is one of the most popular drinks in Colombia, a 50-50 split of beer and Colombiana, a local soda.

SHOW: The show features a lively and energetic troupe of dancers. The display features a nine-foot-high replica of a fortress wall in Cartagena plus many pictures of the mountainous regions. There are also local hats, purses and jewelry for sale.

BEST REASON TO GO: What better way to get into the swing of things than by dancing with the experts? The show culminates with the dancers running into the crowd to pull unsuspecting viewers up on stage for a conga line.

CULTURE SHOCK: Colombia has seven active volcanoes. The country is a growing tourist destination for Canadians with direct flights out of Toronto, Montreal and Calgary.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: This pavilion is only in its fourth year (it runs every alternate year) but the show would be even better with live musicians instead of taped music.

-- Geoff Kirbyson

 

30. DOTC First Nations Pavilion

 

Riddell Hall, the University of

Winnipeg, 480 Ellice Ave.

 

FOOD: Try the sample platter ($11), which includes a bison meatball in tomato sauce, a slice of elk smokie, a small salad and a mini Indian taco. For those who are vegetarian, the vegetarian chili ($6) is a hearty option of mixed veggies, chickpeas and lentils with a spicy aftertaste. The universal favourite, bannock, appears on the menu with a side of jam ($4).

DRINK: Coffee, pop and tea are provided to keep you going, as well as an unlimited supply of water.

SHOW: Ray Co-Co Stevenson and the Walking Wolf Singers and Dancers put on an amazing show. As the drumming and singing begin, the dancers make their way to the stage in their magnificent regalia, which come to life when they move. MC Stevenson energetically engages with the audience, showing a tremendous pride for his culture. My favourite performances are the grass dancers (the fanciest footwork I've ever seen) and Shanley Spence, the hoop dancer.

BEST REASON TO GO: Talking to the performers: The pride they have in their art and the tribulations some have faced to get here is inspiring.

CULTURE SHOCK: The evolution of dance. The fancy shawl dance was created by the younger generation who wanted more movement than traditional dance offered. Stevenson describes it as "Indian ballet with a twist!"

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The drinks! I was hoping for a specialty tea or milk to go with my bannock.

-- Rebecca Henderson

 

31. Hungaria Pavilion

 

St. James Civic Centre

2055 Ness Ave.

 

FOOD: Plenty of hearty peasant fare, from a massive debreceni sausage ($4) to a rice and meat-packed cabbage roll ($4.50) or a bowl of rib-sticking goulash stew for $3. The kitchen also churns out $10 daily specials, including a pork cutlet with rice or chicken seasoned with paprika.

DRINK: The bar is stocked with seven delicious but sinus-clearing brandies and liqueurs ($5.50), from the candy-sweet Csaszar Korte golden pear to the Hubertusz sweet herb. There is also a big selection of red and white wines from some of Hungary's 22 wine-producing regions.

SHOW: Anchored by the local Karpat Hungarian Folk Dancers, the show is headlined by guests Ignac Kadar and Jozsef Kubriczky, both professional folk dancers from Hungary. The pair capture perfectly the energetic, foot-stomping, boot-slapping dances of the region, and in one show highlight even sing an alluring live song.

BEST REASON TO GO: The wonderful bottle dance, where Karpat's female dancers whirl across the stage while balancing bottles full of liquid on their heads. They never let a single bottle slip.

CULTURE SHOCK: While you're there, you can pick up some souvenirs of Hungary, including some images of the country's famous embroidery.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: It's a common problem with this venue, but sometimes the audio quality was pretty patchy.

-- Melissa Martin

 

32. Indochina

Chinese Pavilion

 

City Oasis, 435 Cumberland Ave.

 

FOOD: Noodles, fried rice, spring rolls, sweet 'n' sour chicken balls or breaded pork are available individually ($2) or in combo plates ($4/8). A limited selection of flaky pastries includes egg tarts, sponge cake, or almond cookies ($1.50).

DRINK: The lightly refreshing Tsing Tao beer ($6), or Lychee Soho ($5).

SHOW: The thunderous Chinese lion's dance with its two shaggy beasts always enthralls. Other highlights include the gracious Umbrella Dance, the high-flying Wushu (kung fu) demonstration and the amazing virtuosity of Chinese flutist James Zhan. The display features various bamboo items as well as traditional wedding customs such as the Chinese tea ceremony.

BEST REASON TO GO: Flutist Zhan dazzles with true artistry in his too short solo performance.

CULTURE SHOCK: Indochina is not actually a country, but a geographical territory including Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: This friendly pavilion has shrunk from past years. The display is now extremely modest for three cultures of such rich heritage.

-- Holly Harris

 

33. Indo-Caribbean Paradise Pavilion

 

Sargent Park School, 2 Sargent Park Pl. (Construction blocking Dominion St.; approach from Wellington)

 

FOOD: Rice with dhal (sauce like pea soup), mild curry chicken and wild veggie curry channa make a great start. Platters are $7-$9 and dhal wraps ($7-$8.50). Dessert? Tropical ice creams. Hint! Buy moist coconut pone cake ($2) for the car ride.

DRINK: The peardrax drink at $3.50, or imported Carib beer, and tropical rums and punches at $5.

SHOW: Dancers perform in dazzling midriff-baring costumes and teach spicy "chutney" dances with belly-dance moves. That's a set-up for the audience contest -- often won by awkward but courageous men! The take-away phrase taught at this party was "We vibes 'em," which means "We're hanging out, having fun." A classroom in the hall is devoted to cultural displays with a surprising demo of sari skirt unwrapping for husbands.

BEST REASON TO GO: The dancing is hot, hot, hot!

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: None; an excellent high-energy operation.

-- Maureen Scurfield

 

34. Ireland-Irish

Pavilion

Holy Cross Gym, 290 Dubuc St.

 

FOOD: Tasty shepherd's pie with gravy ($5). If you're still hungry, try an Irish sausage bun at only $4 that will leave your mouth watering.

DRINK: You must try the infamous Bailey's Irish Cream at $6 that will sail down your throat. If you're feeling a little daring, it would be best to try the different types of whisky. I would recommend the Jameson Irish Whiskey at $6 if you're looking for something almost as smooth as the Irish cream.

SHOW: Irish dancers stomped their way across the stage in tap shoes and traditional Irish dress. The audience couldn't help but clap along. The show proceeded with an Irish storyteller who also played the harp and sang traditional Irish songs. The audience of course, had to contribute to the singing, which made the performance even more enjoyable. There was also an Irish bagpiper who played a few Irish tunes.

BEST REASON TO GO: It's not often you see a man in a kilt. The bagpiping performance will make you feel like you're caught in the mountains of Ireland.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The instrumental music was fantastic, but there could have been more. More importantly, there should be a dance floor for the audience to dance along.

-- Elizabeth Fraser

 

35. Israel Pavilion -- Shalom Square

 

Asper Jewish Community Campus

123 Doncaster St.

 

FOOD: There is a smorgasbord of classic fare, including falafels ($6.50) and matzo ball soup ($4), as well as a diverse array of desserts. The Tel-Aviv platter ($12) comes with a delicious pastry filled with spinach and feta, a few falafel balls and a pita, and a slab of the luscious orange-chocolate sabra cake. There's also a choice of popular Israeli snacks, from whole-wheat chips to rich halva ($2.50).

DRINK: A red or white wine from northern Israel's Galil Winery ($5) or try a hearty Goldstar dark lager ($4.25), back at this pavilion for the first time in years.

SHOW: Get ready for a dazzling dance display. Featuring the renowned Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble backed by a live band, the Shalom Square show delivers a fusion of traditional and contemporary Jewish folk dance and song. The costumes are beautiful, the dancers are radiant, and the singers are so effervescent, you can't help but sing along - even if it's a language you don't know.

BEST REASON TO GO: Unquestionably, it's the show. Each year, it ends with a rousing song celebrating Israel, and just try to get that catchy rhythm out of your head.

CULTURE SHOCK: Israel's high-tech economy has made it one of the world's software capitals, and the cultural display features a list of Israeli-made iPhone apps.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: It's easy to miss the cultural exhibit, which is just to the right of the main entrance; a shame since it contains lots of bright and well-designed displays.

-- Melissa Martin

 

36. Italian Pavilion

 

Centro Caboto Centre, 1055 Wilkes Ave.

 

FOOD: Wide variety of well-priced Italian dishes. A pizza slice is $2.75; pasta, either Bolognese or Pomodoro, is $5.75 and $4.75; arrosto di maiale (roast pork) is $6; pollo al marsala (chicken marsala) is $7.50. Desserts include gelato, tiramisu and some very luxurious looking cannoli with prices ranging from $3 to $5.

DRINK: There's wine by the glass for $5.50, Peroni and Moretti beer for $5.50 as well as Italian soft drinks for$2.75 along with the usual assortment of domestic pop.

SHOW: The show's theme is the Carnival of Venice. It uses a cute concept of a visiting Canadian cousin being introduced to the music and dancing of all the regions of Italy. It's a showcase for some stellar voices and lively dancing.

The cultural display is where this pavilion really shines. Theatrical backdrops are painted to turn the room into the streets of Venice, complete with a market. There are many medieval-esque costumes and masks appropriate to wear to the carnival, along with a history and explanation of masks.

BEST REASON TO GO: The show is good entertainment, but visit the cultural display to learn about all things Italian from the many helpful volunteers.

CULTURE SHOCK: Italian folklore has it if a tarantula bites you, something magical happens to your blood. It will have you dancing wildly all night.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: All the problems of any popular pavilion. Arrive early or you'll be parked well down the road. And time buying your dinner when there's no lineup or you'll end up with cold pasta.

-- Julie Carl

 

37. Japanese Pavilion

 

St. Joseph's Parish Hall, 515 College Ave.

 

FOOD: A plate of assorted sushi is $8. The menu also includes Japanese-style noodles ($6) and Onigiri rice balls for $2.75. New this year is a delicately seasoned rice dish called Beef Donbur ($6.50).

DRINK: Japanese beers like Sapporo, Asahi and Kirin range from $5.50 to $6.50. My pavilion partner tried sake ($4.50) for the first time, but wrinkled her nose and didn't finish the drink.

SHOW: The amazing Hinode Taiko drummers close the show with an energetic onslaught of rhythmic rowdiness, bounding about the stage and shouting single syllables while smiling broadly as if there's nothing more fun that leaping and screaming while pounding big drums with full arm swings. It was a strong contrast to a wonderfully delicate dance by the Aurora Odor troupe, women in traditional kimonos showing great grace with minimal movement.

CULTURAL SHOCK: It's been a historic year for the Manitoba Japanese community, with two groups merging July 1 into the one group that now puts on the pavilion. The Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association merged with the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.

BEST REASON TO GO: See the drummers (above). But also, the cultural display features art that is unusual in the west, including exquisite origami folded paper and Japanese calligraphy (you can get your name written elaborately on a headband for $1.50 or a fan for $3).

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: This pavilion used to be at Sisler High School and they miss the relatively big space. Lineups of customers are forced to squeeze into a narrow entrance. This wonderful Japanese pavilion deserves more room.

-- Carl DeGurse

 

38. Pavilion

canadien-franßais

 

Centre culturel franco-manitobain, 340 Provencher Blvd.

 

FOOD: The hearty Franco Dinner includes your choice of meatballs, salmon pie, or traditional Tourti®re ($10), with potatoes, veggies, coleslaw, bread, sugar tart and drink. Vegetarian options also available ($9). Sweets include sugar tarts ($1.50), sugar pie ($2) or brown-sugar fudge ($1.50) with all menu items also available la carte.

DRINK: There's virgin/maple coffee ($3-$4.50), virgin/iced maple coffee ($3-$4.50) or maple sunset ($4.50). Caribou also packs a punch with its belt of fortified red wine ($4.50).

SHOW: Celebrate the 275th anniversary of Fort Rouge -- and French presence in Manitoba -- with the high-spirited L'Ensemble folklorique de la Rivi®re-Rouge, including a live, 10-piece fiddle band. Admire the furs, woodcarvings, textiles and historical maps in the display, all carefully guarded by proud soldiers of La Compagnie de La Vérendrye.

BEST REASON TO GO: It's a toss-up between the infectious joie de vivre of the Red River jiggers or dramatic soldiers who troop onstage to announce the show.

CULTURE SHOCK: The traditional arrow sashes worn by voyageurs had a secret purpose: preventing hernias while the men hoisted heavy packs and canoes across their backs during portages.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: None. This well-organized pavilion flows as easily as maple sap while piquing interest about our province's storied history.

-- Holly Harris

 

39. Philippine Pavilion Nayong Pilipino

 

Tec Voc High School, 1555 Wall St. East

 

FOOD: Pansit (fried rice noodles, $6.99), lumpiang shanghai (Filipino spring rolls, $6) and three combination plates ($6.99, $8.99, $10.99) were quality choices that were filling and flavourful.

DRINK: Mango juice straight from the Philippines is a genuine treat. There's also imported San Miguel beer.

SHOW: Kayumanggi Philippine Performing Arts group, youth dancers from pint-size to adult, treated the audience to 10 folk dances in the theme of country life. Colourful costumes were complimented by dance movements that included balancing of candles (representing lighted lamps) on the female dancers' heads while they performed, male dancers leaping over others who were standing upright and an energetic closing dance with the rhythmic beat of bamboo poles on the floor and increasing fast footwork inside and outside the poles by the performers.

BEST REASON TO GO: There is a great set-up here for eating and entertainment. The cafeteria at the school is used as the food area before and after the show. At showtime, patrons are ushered into the school's auditorium area where the performance took place on a stage and can be viewed from theatre-style seating.

CULTURE SHOCK: Winnipeg's Filipino community is about 60,000 strong. Many in the community are gifted in music and dance, and this show is no exception. Performers come through the crowd and get audience members to join them in dancing in the aisles during one dance.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: It's on you to give yourself enough time to eat. Food can't be brought into the auditorium during the show.

-- Ashley Prest

 

40. Punjab Pavilion

 

Winnipeg Convention Centre, 375 York Ave.

 

FOOD: Chicken masala thali platter, which includes rice pudding, butter chicken, vegetable korma (amazing), salad, naan bread, and fried rice ($12). This platter also comes in a vegetarian option. For dessert, the hot gulab jumans ($4), which are doughnut-like dumplings and oh, oh, so good!

DRINK: There are the spirits and beers ($5), but I would definitely try the latter. The Cheetah Beer goes very well with the spicy food and has an aftertaste of rum. For those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks, the mango lassi is a very sweet and rich option ($5).

SHOW: It's easy to feel spoiled with the wonderful dancers at this pavilion. Audiences are treated to the dance group Explosion, made up of a group of cousins from all over North America who get together and dance. Then, Gatka performs a series of dance/battles through defence techniques with the use of weapons such as swords and shields. Also, get ready to dance! MC Monika Deol isn't lying when she says we aren't just spectators -- we are part of the show, too!

BEST REASON TO GO: The volunteers working! Jasinder Sidhu and Sukhmandeep Jandu are helpful and knowledgeable, and if you find Sidhu, she'll happily spell your name in Punjab for you.

CULTURE SHOCK: Those getting married take note: The term jago means "wake up", and is when the bride carries a pot on her head around the village and invites everyone to the wedding. It's a big party and all the women dress up -- some even dress up as men and dance around the village!

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: If you're planning on getting a henna tattoo, make sure you negotiate a price beforehand, or you may be paying too much for too little!

-- Rebecca Henderson

 

41. Romanian Pavilion

Bronx Community Centre, 720 Henderson Hwy.

FOOD: Options include chicken Dracula, sausage, polenta, two cabbage dishes, bean stew, and a combo plate costs $7.50. The last thing on the buffet is garlic sauce. Pour it on everything! Definitely try the vampire ears -- chewy dough triangles seasoned with paprika. For dessert, the chocolate roll has raisins, biscuit pieces and rum.

DRINK: Imported Romanian beer is $6 for a 17 oz. can, and red and white wines have been imported for this special occasion. If you're feeling a bit more risqué, you might choose the bloody fang, is a mixture of Iuica (plumb brandy) and syrup.

SHOW: You'll be entertained by local dancers demonstrating traditional steps from the different regions of Romania, as well as some musical talent during the show. The cultural display and souvenirs include handmade pottery, and a well put together display of Romanian history and cultural traditions.

CULTURE SHOCK: There are 10,580 churches and 637 monasteries in Romania. The majority of Romanians are Orthodox Christians, while Catholicism is the second-largest faith group.

BEST REASON TO GO: Before the show, you can get your photo taken in front of a green screen, and afterwards you can pick up a photo of yourself in front of a popular Romanian landmark, like Bran Castle (Dracula's castle). A virtual Romanian holiday for only $3!

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: There was definitely a hold-up in the food line -- we stood in it for over half an hour, and it wasn't even that busy!

-- Larissa Peck

 

42. Scandinavian Pavilion

Scandinavian Cultural Centre, 764 Erin St.

FOOD: Swedish meatballs ($10) served with mashed potatoes, carrots and red cabbage is the real deal. For smaller appetites, try delicate open-faced sandwiches: shrimp, smoked salmon, cheese, rullapylsa (lamb), or herring ($4-5). Vínarterta (slightly dry) or creamy rice pudding ($2 each) for dessert.

DRINK: Say skál! to a Viking power cocktail, ($5), Tuborg beer ($7) or Somersby/Rekorderlig alcoholic fruit ciders ($7).

SHOW: This kinder, gentler show showcases traditional dances from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden accompanied by a live, three-piece band. Singer Adele Mattys leads the crowd in a rousing A Sailor's Greeting. Display areas include everything from woodsy troll lore to minimalistic architecture and sleek furniture that still leads today's design world.

BEST REASON TO GO: Get bang for your krona, er, buck with distinct cultural display areas that feels like five mini-pavilions in one.

CULTURE SHOCK: Did you know Lego originated in Denmark? The iconic building-block toy got its name from leg godt meaning "play well."

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: This intimate venue, nonetheless felt cramped, especially when lining up for the meatballs.

-- Holly Harris

 

43. Serbian Pavilion "Beograd"

St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church - 580 Talbot Ave.

FOOD: Be sure to assess the assortment of desserts here (Nutella or strawberry crepes, lemon squares, chocolate coconut cakes, cheese pastry) before loading up your plate with too many homemade sausages, cabbage rolls, paprika (stuffed peppers), moussaka or shishkabobs, all ranging in price from $1.50-$4.

DRINK: Jelen Pivo is the imported beer of choice for $5.50, or sip on one of three varieties of plum brandy, also $5.50.

SHOW: The dancers perform several energetic numbers that will have you bouncing in your seat! While they're changing costumes, we get a sneak peek at the up-and-comers, some as young as four. The cultural display is inside the church, so you also get to see the beautiful inside of the Serbian Orthodox church.

CULTURE SHOCK: Serbian currency (dinara) comes in really high denominations -- it's not unusual to walk around carrying a 5,000-dinara note in your wallet, but that would only be worth about $60 Cdn.

BEST REASON TO GO: You will definitely be entertained by the highly energetic dancers.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: It would be interesting to learn more about Serbia than what's in the mainly Orthodox Christian cultural display -- though it is very beautiful.

-- Larissa Peck

 

44. Tamil Pavilion

Burton Cummings Community Centre, 960 Arlington St.

FOOD: A samosa (spicy potatoes and green pees inside a soft shell) sells for $2 while there is a variety of rolls for $3. Combo plates of Basmati rice with vegetables or meat curries are $9 and $10.

DRINK: The sweet mango juice is a great choice.

SHOW: The Bharathanatyam dance -- which features expressions, rhythm, mesmerizing hand gestures and exquisite costumes -- is a must-see. The dancers who perform six traditional dances are all local youths who have studied within Winnipeg's Tamil community.

BEST REASON TO GO: The cultural display is certainly one of Folklorama's best as it includes a visual history of the Tamil language and how it has survived through the ages, with numerous wonderful volunteers to explain it all. There is wall chart of how the Tamil language works. Also displayed is the ancient string instrument called the veena, complete with a DVD showing of a young girl playing music on it. For $1, you can get your name written in Tamil on a bookmark.

CULTURE SHOCK: Tamil is not a country; it is a 5,000-year-old language. Though the origins of the language are unknown, it is one of the oldest living languages in the world. It is spoken by 70 million people worldwide and about 300,000 in Canada. Winnipeg's Tamil community includes only about 75 families who are in their 15th year of organizing and performing in the Tamil Pavilion.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: None. This pavilion was a fascinating journey into an ancient culture.

-- Ashley Prest

 

45. Ukraine-Kyiv Pavilion

Garden City Collegiate Institute, 711 Jefferson Ave.

FOOD: The deluxe dinner ($8.50) includes three varenyky (perogies), three holubtsi (rice-filled cabbage rolls), a selection of kovbasa (garlic sausage), a big dill pickle, sour cream and rye bread. If you still have room, decadently delicious tortes are $4.

DRINK: Imported beer is $5.50. Two vodka-based specialty cocktails, the Kalyna Malyna and the Hutsul Hammer, are each $4,50.

SHOW: They've been doing it for 40 years, and the Ukraine-Kyiv pavilion organizers have learned to do it right. They have so many top-notch dance troupes and musicians, they have different entertainment every night this week.

Ukrainian passion for this pavilion is so high, they had to hang a sign saying "No volunteers needed today."

CULTURE SHOCK: Ask to meet pavilion volunteer Pat Tymkiw. Her boyfriend and fellow pavilion volunteer, Jeff Kachur, surprised her with an on-stage proposal at this pavilion. That was 20 years ago. They're still married and still volunteering.

BEST REASON TO GO: Drab dress is apparently taboo among Ukrainians. Volunteers and entertainers wear intricately embroidered clothing in peacock-like colours. Wondrous weaving abounds, including a large display of tapestries from the personal collection of Len Krawchuk.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: This pavilion was a good fit in its traditional site at Maples Collegiate but had to move this year because of construction. The new site at Garden City Collegiate is perhaps too cramped for the many people who want to party it up with the Ukrainians. Let's hope they return to Maples Collegiate next year.

-- Carl DeGurse

 

46. Warsaw Poland Pavilion

Glenwood Community Centre, 27 Overton St.

FOOD: Some of the highlights were the perogies (sour cream included), sausage, and hunter stew which is a traditional meat stew. I don't recommend trying these tasty meals separately, so try the $10 Warsaw sampler which contains all your favourites. Don't forget to satisfy your sugar craving with the rich and flavorful cheesecakes at 4.50 or the infamous crepes with a cottage cheese filling at $3.

DRINK: Polish beers ($6.25). Some highlights included Lech beer straight from Poland. If you're looking to buy a round, go with Lomza beer that is overflowing with delicious flavour.

SHOW: You will feel like you're in Malbork castle when you see the Polish dancers trotting across the stage to traditional Polish music. The dancers also sang in Polish tongue, which was extremely impressive. The dancing involves men and women twirling in circles.

BEST REASON TO GO: The perogies will keep you busy for at least an hour. This Polish delicacy will have you booking your flight to Poland just to get a few more servings.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Poland is a country spilling with history. The display that contained all this history could have used a bit "oomph" to draw the public in.

-- Elizabeth Fraser

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 14, 2013 C10

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