Got chopsticks? Hawaii’s Rice Festival is slated for this weekend in Honolulu.


Hawaii’s staff of life? It’s not bread. Not pasta. Here in the Islands, our favorite everyday must-have source of starchy carbohydrates is rice.

Without a scoop or two, no plate lunch is complete. And what would Spam musubi be without the stuff? It’s a staple in our home kitchens, at potluck picnics, and on the menus at countless Hawaii eateries.

The second annual Rice Festival, set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sun., Sept. 11 at Ala Moana Beach Park’s Magic Island (Honolulu area), will celebrate our fav carbs with a celebrity chef  “rice-ipe” competition and cooking demonstrations.

Chef Hideaki “Santa” Miyoshi of Tokkuri-Tei, executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi of Kahala Hotel & Resort, executive chef Hector Morales of Turtle Bay Resort and Chef Kent Thompson, formerly of Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch & Crab, will take part in a competition, slated to get under way at 12:30 p.m., to see who can make the best rice dish.Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_rice

Among the items to sample will be chef Hirabayashi’s poke musubi, and pineapple rice cake prepared by  chef Craig Erickson of Napili Kai Resprt/Sea House Restaurant.

Also in the lineup: the second annual Spam musubi eating contest; a first-of-its-kind effort to set a Guinness World Record for the largest Spam musubi; musical entertainment; and a rice education booth staffed by the University of Hawaii’s Department of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Science dishing up interactive quizzes for adults and kids, a sampling of various rice and nutritional information about rice.

Want to learn more about Hawaii’s rice heritage and pick up some recipes? Stop by the booth manned by HAWAII Magazine’s sister company, Watermark Publishing, to meet Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi, the author of The Hawaii Book of Rice: Tales, Trivia and 101 Great Recipes. The festival’s cooking competition and demonstrations will feature professional and amateur chefs preparing recipes they contributed to the book. Tsutsumi will be signing copies of The Hawaii Book of Rice, which will be available for purchase. Portions of the proceeds from all copies sold benefiting the Hawaii Food Bank and Lanakila Meals on Wheels. Plus, Watermark Publishing will be passing out complimentary rice paddles to the first 25 people to donate food or cash to either the food bank or the meals-on-wheels program.

For additional information about the Rice Festival, click here.

Categories: Oʻahu