It was pouring rain when I woke up this morning. I told my husband that if the weather didn’t clear up, I didn’t want to go to the Okinawan Festival today. Thankfully, by noon, the sky cleared up and we went. My son decided to call me for his weekly phone call home right as I was getting out of the shower, so we didn’t leave the house until about 1:30pm or so. We were absolutely STARVING and there is no better place for food than any kind of cultural festival, especially in Hawaii. I’m pretty sure that Hawaii ranks up there in the top 5 when it comes to food culture. For us, EVERYTHING revolves around food. A friend of mine on Facebook once posted about a potluck party that she went to and they actually RAN OUT OF FOOD! That would NEVER happen here. Seriously, there’s always way too much and everyone takes plates of food home with them. Anyway, back to lunch…
Our first stop was the line for andadog. An andadog is basically a corn dog, but instead of being dipped in that corn batter and deep fried, it’s dipped in andagi batter and deep fried. Andagi is kind of like a doughnut hole.
Next stop was the line for the Oki Dog. An Oki Dog is a hot dog with chili, shoyu pork, and lettuce in a tortilla rolled up like a burrito. I tried taking a picture of it all wrapped up, but it didn’t turn out very well, but you can get an idea based on the picture above.
We took a little break from eating at this point and went into the shopping tents. I’m a sucker for Japanese candy. The first bag I bought is called Okinawa no Shio-ame or Okinawa salt candy. It’s a hard sugar candy with a hint of salt in it. It’s a unique, but delicious flavor. The second bag is called Kurogoma Kokutou or Black Sesame Brown Cane Sugar. It’s crunchy and only slightly sweet. I love the flavor of black sesame, so I had to try this one. The last bag is peach and mango hard candy, but it’s Ryujin Mabuya branded. Ryujin Mabuyer is a tokusatsu hero similar to Kamen Rider or Ultraman. He’s unique to Okinawa. I also tried a bottle of iced tea that was made from bitter melon called goyacha. That was surprisingly delicious. I was expecting it to be bitter, but it was actually smooth and reminded me of barley tea (mugicha). I forgot to take a picture.
Next we went into the culture tent. It was extremely hot, so all the covered and shady places were really crowded, so I couldn’t really take any pictures of stuff in there. There were demonstrations of traditional weaving, calligraphy, and exhibitions about Okinawan history in Hawaii. The one thing I did get a chance to photograph was the bonsai tree exhibit. Bonsai is so beautiful:
My husband and I were ready for more food at this point, so we got a plate of chanpuru. Chanpuru is Okinawan stir fry. The one we had was made with vegetables, tofu, spam, and miso. It came with a scoop of white rice and some shoyu pork that melted in my mouth. I had a few scrips left over, so I used them to buy some andagi. It was super fresh and super hot, so I didn’t eat it until we got back to the car. The view on the walk back to the car was beautiful, don’t you think?
Mmmm… Andagi… 🙂