Long before Food Truck Friday began bringing a broad array of lip-smacking treats to Balboa Park visitors each week, the House of Pacific Relations had been serving up its own weekly smorgasbord of international gourmet foods at its Lawn Programs. Each Sunday afternoon at 2pm, the 34 “houses” that make up the International Cottages take turns hosting a lively cultural festival, highlighted by distinctive dishes from the hosting culture.
But just as visitors’ appetites continue to force the expansion of Food Truck Friday, the International Cottages Sunday lawn programs have expanded to include most Saturday afternoons, and even select evenings. Here is a rundown of what’s worth noshing on through the end of September. (Lawn programs continue through the end of November.)
Sept. 10 — House of China: Evening Moon Festival at the Organ Pavilion
To celebrate the Chinese mid-autumn Moon Festival, a Saturday lawn program will take over the lawn just west of the Organ Pavilion from 12 noon to 6pm, serving mooncakes, dumplings, and China’s best-kept culinary secret: jianbing (crispy-fried street crepes). This will be followed by a howling good cultural extravaganza, featuring drummers, jugglers, lion dancers, acrobats, and musicians on the Organ Pavilion Stage at 6pm.
Sept. 11 — House of Finland: Sunday Lawn Program
Following the early Chargers game on Sunday, the House of Finland will offer an excellent opportunity to celebrate, or drown your sorrows, with Finnish crepes, pastries, and other sweet comfort foods at the 2pm Sunday lawn program.
Sept. 16 — House of Mexico: Arte Color y Fiesta at the Organ Pavilion
There are festivals and then there are fiestas! Families can celebrate Mexican Independence Day with ballet folklorico and mariachis at a special Friday night event beginning at 6:30pm in the Organ Pavilion. The House of Mexico will then host the Sunday, Sept. 18, lawn program at 2pm.
Sept. 17 — House of Korea: Honoring Korean War Veterans - Sunday Lawn Program
The House of Korea will honor veterans of the Korean War with food, music, and ceremonial presentations at this special Saturday lawn program from 12 noon to 3pm. Just when you thought there was no such thing as a free lunch, all Korean War veterans will be served a free lunch at the House of Korea Pavilion. View the event flyer to learn more. Be sure to bring your dog tags!
Sept. 25 — House of Germany: Sunday Lawn Program
Bratwurst, sauerkraut, and apfelstrudel offer the perfect accompaniment to the House of Germany Choir and other musical performers in celebration of the Unification of Germany (October 3, 1990), aka Oktoberfest!