INRIA (Rennes, France) had quite a vibrant culture. To celebrate the ethnic and cultural diversity within the institute, they have this annual International Food Festival during the summer. The idea is simple; everyone brings a considerable amount of homemade food, whatever is unique to their culture and they have a grand buffet.
The buffet looked gorgeous and smelled great. French, Italian, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, Thai and Indian cuisines neatly arranged with little foot notes about the dish itself and who made it. The unfortunate thing(for me) was that there were only two vegetarian dishes in the whole of the buffet! One was a vegetarian Galette and the other was Sambar and Papad!
I tried the Galette which is basically mashed potato and cheese rolled inside a (non-crispy) dosa kind of a thing. It was completely tasteless by Indian standards. So, I was eating it with ketchup when a colleague pointed out that it is considered rude to eat any homemade dish with ketchup. (It turned out that the French gentleman happened to be the one who brought the dish!) I apologized and settled with Sambar and Papad (so much for the “International” Food Fest!).
The next day, the same colleague got me a dabba of vegetarian food cooked by his wife especially for me because he felt sorry for me. I thanked him and his wife for the wonderful gesture and we sat for lunch. The vegetarian “dish” which his wife “cooked” happened to be boiled rice with freshly cut fruits in it. Yes you read it right, yucky sticky globular Vietnamese rice with strawberries, grapes, slices of apple, pineapple and banana thrown in it. (I couldn’t even get any yogurt or ketchup this time because of what happened the previous day!) I would rate it as the second most uncomfortable meal I ever had so far! I couldn't find the right image so I "cooked" it up in photoshop ;) Also please suggest a more universal name than the telugu-standard Bangala Bow-bow for this dish.
P.S: I had a roll with the desserts in the International Food Festival :)