Berkeley International Food Festival, Sunday June 29

Berkfest.jpg“I know Jazz” played at the 10th Street Blick Community Mural site at the west Berkeley YMCA for last year’s Berkeley International Food Festival. They will also playing at this year’s Berkeley International Food Festival, which features a live cooking stage, music and activities for the whole family. Enjoy samples of food from around the world. The Berkeley International Food Festival takes place from noon – 5:00 p.m. Sunday, June 29 two blocks in either direction from the University and San Pablo Avenues intersection. Admission is free. For information, call 510-845-4106 or Photo by Som Sharma

By Sally Douglas Arce

In its third year, the Berkeley International Food Festival hosts its culinary extravaganza from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 29. This showcase of west Berkeley’s international market district takes place in the blocks surrounding the University and San Pablo Avenue intersection. The festival features restaurant specials, samples at specialty food markets, food booths, cooking demonstrations and entertainment. The public is invited to attend and there is no admission cost. The cooking demonstrations take place in Wells Fargo Bank parking lot.
This part of West Berkeley is an undiscovered gem. Savor the myriad of culinary delights that this West Berkeley neighborhood has to offer. Take a culinary trip to experience the aromas and tastes of worldwide cuisine – the foods of Mexico, El Salvador, Afghanistan, India, Spain, Pakistan, Thailand, Jamaica, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands and more. The festival is presented by the nonprofit West Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation, which began in 1989 when community members and ministers met to discuss their concerns about the future of West Berkeley.

Entertainment includes capoeira and samba demonstrations, ballet folklorico, Ukulele music and Hawaiian and Tahitian dance, henna hand painting, live classical Pakistani music, “I Know Jazz” performing live jazz and a variety of DJs. For children there will be art and gardening activities.
The main attraction is the Kitchen on Fire cooking stage, where you can watch guest chefs prepare dishes from around the world utilizing ingredients from the International Marketplace specialty food stores, and then sample them.
Recent years have seen an influx of a wide range of immigrants in this West Berkeley neighborhood where rents are slightly cheaper. Many have opened up retail stores, restaurants and specialty food markets. Branded as Berkeley’s new “International Marketplace District”, it has the highest concentration of independent and family owned shops in Berkeley. And, it’s home to the most ethnically diverse retail mix in Berkeley, if not the entire Bay Area. Casa Latina known for its fabulous baked goods (pan dulce), flan, tres leches, torta de carnitas and tamales, is one spot not to miss. Mi Tierra Foods and Mi Ranchito sell Latin American food products so people can purchase the ingredients to prepare their favorite family recipes.
Don’t miss the Berkeley International Folk Festival at Freight & Salvage Coffee House from noon – 5:00 p.m. with no admission charge. Freight & Salvage is on Addison Street east of San Pablo Avenue.
The festival’s title sponsor is Bayer HealthCare, based in West Berkeley with research, manufacturing, and sales offices throughout the world.
Wells Fargo Bank, the City of Berkeley and the West Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation are major sponsors of the festival. Additional sponsors include Comcast, Urban Leaf, Blick Art Materials, Tofu Yu, Adina World Beat Beverages, The King of Mushrooms and others.
For information about the Berkeley International Food Festival, call 510 845-4106 or visit