‘Travel the world without leaving the city’: International City Food Festival brings global cuisine, culture to DC


Friday evening and Saturday in D.C. this week will open local taste buds to a world of flavor, as the International City Food Festival (ICFF) takes over downtown’s The Square DC. 

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DC’s International Food Festival adds a nostalgic vibe with ‘The Snack Arcade’

Friday evening and Saturday in D.C. this week will open local taste buds to a world of flavor, as the International City Food Festival takes over downtown’s The Square DC.

The food festival will take place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

The festival is the newest offering from Passport DC, a monthlong series of events in May hosted by Events DC, highlighting the city’s “thriving international diplomatic community” and diverse cultures.

“Passport DC offers something for everyone and the International City Food Festival is a great way to celebrate the diverse communities that call Washington, D.C. home,” Events DC President and CEO Angie M. Gates said.

The theme of this weekend’s food festival is “The Snack Arcade,” leaning into nostalgic vibes — including vintage arcade games.

“D.C.’s such an international city. … Some of these nostalgic snacks for people all over the planet are different than what they are for us,” said Svetlana Legetic, founder of ExactlyAgency.com, which partners creatively with Event DC. She said they wanted the theme to be “joyous and fun for the whole family.”

A full list of restaurants and vendors participating in the International City Food Festival can be found on the Events DC website.

Another popular event this weekend is the Around the World Embassy Tour, which lets visitors experience cultural performances from over 60 embassies. The event takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A full list of participating embassies is available online.

Jesse Devlin-Whitworth, director of production operations at Events DC, said there’s an app that’ll help you decide which embassies to swing by first. In addition to favorites like China, Jamaica, and Mexico, he also lists a few other noteworthy options to check out.

“I know that Armenia is participating for the first time ever, so we’re really excited about that,” Devlin-Whitworth said. “Australia will be participating. They have not in several years because they have a brand new embassy. They can’t wait to show it to the world. ”

The U.K. also has a new embassy and will be participating, Devlin-Whitworth said.

“It’s such a unique opportunity, something that you really can only do here in D.C.,” said D.C. resident Paige Muller, who grew up overseas and has frequented these types of events since she moved to the District. “Every country in the world has an embassy so you really can travel the world without leaving the city.”

WTOP’s Erron Franklin contributed to this report. 

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