Did This: Rice Fest (Nonstop Honolulu)

by Melissa Chang

We went to the first annual Rice Festival on Saturday at Aloha Tower with a few hundred of our closest friends. The organizers had timed this to coincide with National Rice Month, as declared by the U.S. Rice Federation.

It seemed fairly small, probably because it was the first year. If you were just there for the food, you’d probably whisk through the vendor booths pretty quickly once you decided what you wanted to eat. It did seem a little odd that there were some booths that didn’t serve much rice (if at all). We all agreed, though, that the food that was there, was good, and surprisingly cheap for “event” food. They kept people there with ongoing entertainment and door prizes.

They had a pretty good crowd right at noon when they opened, but as the sun took its toll in the afternoon, the audience seemed to thin out. The festival got busy again at about 5 p.m. as people started to forage for dinner.

Check out some of the people and foods that made the event a hit:

Brooke Nakamura & Liz Hata
Brooke Nakamura & Liz Hata

One of the unexpected twists of the day: Ed Sugimoto (a.k.a. World Wide Ed) got me and Nonstopper Ed Morita to be judges in the “Rice-ipe” contest, in which local chefs concocted fabulous rice dishes, Iron Chef-style. Each chef had 30 minutes to create his special dish.

Don Ho's Robert Denis mixing his rice.
Don Ho’s Robert Denis mixing his rice.

Here is video by Ed Morita with clips and photos taken at the event.

A portion of the proceeds from the event benefited Lanakila Pacific. We can’t wait to see what the Rice Fest will become next year.

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