Posts Tagged ‘Brown rice’

Pioneer Saloon – Fixins Worth a Look-See, Y’all!

March 1, 2014

When you hear the words Pioneer Saloon, the first thing you probably think of is an old, rowdy bar in the wild, wild west. With tumbleweeds rolling by, you picture a clean-cut sheriff greeting people with "howdy pardner" as he enters swinging batwing doors looking for the bearded bag guy.

Well, this place in Diamond Head off Monsarrat, is not quite that place.

Outside Pioneer Saloon
Outside Pioneer Saloon

Although some of the exterior and interior trimmings give it that rustic, cowboy-ish vibe…

Inside Pioneer Saloon
Inside Pioneer Saloon

… this Pioneer Saloon is actually a very popular, Japanese style plate lunch eatery, just minutes away from the iconic Diamond Head.

On our first visit, we were the first in line (we got there a little too early, prior to their 11am opening), but within minutes, there was a line out the door.

The line at Pioneer Saloon just after opening
The line at Pioneer Saloon just after opening

While waiting for our food, we had the chance to peruse their other merchandise, which included apparel and cute little trinkets and tchotchkes.

Apparel and goods at Pioneer Saloon
Apparel and goods at Pioneer Saloon

Because owner Chef Nori Sakamoto is from Japan, his eatery has received a good amount of coverage from the Japanese media. As a result, much of his clientele are tourists from Japan. More and more these days though, you'll see your local and mainland folk grinding his concoctions from the kitchen, which range from Ahi Katsu to Mochiko Chicken to Thai Style Green Curry.

Here's a peek at some of the dishes we tried that day.

Grilled Halibut Wasabi with Ponzu - $11
Grilled Halibut Wasabi with Ponzu – $11

Grilled Shio Salmon - $9
Grilled Shio Salmon – $9

Mochiko Chicken - $8
Mochiko Chicken – $8

All together with a little VH07V/ALOHA :)
All together with a little VH07V/ALOHA πŸ™‚

The Halibut was dope! Halibut is probably one of my favorite cooked fishes, so it wasn't easy to impress me, but the Wasabi Ponzu was something I've never tried before on that fish. On point! The wife, who split the Shio Salmon and Mochiko Chicken with her mom and our daughter, liked hers as well.

The portions are not hu-MANG-ous like we're used to at your typical kanak attack inducing "plate lunch" kine place, but it was still enough to fill us up. The neat thing about Pioneer Saloon is that you can choose from 4 very different rice options: White, Brown, Mixed Grains & Beans, and Shiso Wakame. The Mixed Grains & Beans and Shiso Wakame options are $0.50 extra but very worth it if you're looking for something different. You'll see the Mixed Grains & Beans option with the Mochiko Chicken above and the Shiso Wakame option in the other two plates above. I'm not a big fan of Shiso, but totally love this one.

With satisfied tummies, we were already eager to figure out when our next trip to town would be so we could have an excuse to visit again. That day came a few weeks later during a busy lunch hour when every single table inside was taken… more the norm. Good thing we were getting our grindz to go!

Typical crowd at Pioneer Saloon
Typical crowd at Pioneer Saloon

Here's a look at some of the other options we picked up this time.

Grilled Teriyaki Salmon - $9
Grilled Teriyaki Salmon – $9

Hamburger Steak w/ Ponzu Sauce - $9
Hamburger Steak w/ Ponzu Sauce – $9

Wasabi Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl - $11.50
Wasabi Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl – $11.50

Wife enjoyed her Salmon again, while we shared the Hamburger Steak with each other and my mom. It looks hard and dry in the photo, but braaaaah! She go! Was super moist and juicy. It reminded me of the ハンバーガステーキ (hanbaa-gah sutee-ki) I used to pound at this small hole in the wall in Kyoto Japan.

The ahi poke bowl to me was a slight disappointment. I don't really like avocado in my poke and this one had it in bunches. It also had shiso (see shiso reference above). Also, the tuna salad, though super delish, was VERY sparse. I think they were just running low on the visit though because it wasn't like that the last time.

Overall, love and highly recommend Pioneer Saloon. It's not really a new discovery (they took over the space vacated by the old Mi Casa Taqueria restaurant back in 2009), but it seems like it is still not widely known by us locals. Hopefully, this encourages some of you to check them out… pardner.

Pioneer Saloon
3046 Monsarrat Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 732-4001

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Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – September 26, 2012

September 26, 2012

Rice Fest countdown =
3 days
!
8)

Holy mackerel! Can’t believe Rice Fest is almost here! Guess we’re just gonna haveta take you into Rice Fest weekend with a few (what else?) rice-themed WIH photos! Hope to see y’all on Saturday! πŸ™‚

Photo #1
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - September 26, 2012
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – September 26, 2012

Points for Photo #1…
* Name dis dish: 3 points
* Name da oddah dishes: 2 points each
* Location: 2 points
* General area: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Street View link (if get)?: 2 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

Photo #2
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - September 26, 2012
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – September 26, 2012

Points for Photo #2…
* Name dis dish: 3 points
* Location: 2 points
* General area: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Street View link (if get)?: 2 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

Photo #3
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - September 26, 2012
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – September 26, 2012

Points for Photo #3…
* Name each soosh: 2 points each
* Location: 2 points
* General area: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Street View link (if get)?: 2 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

Last Week’s Results (9/19)
Points for Photo #1
* My fave item hea: 3 points (Large Wunton Mein – Otto)
* Location: 2 points (Shige’s Saimin Stand – WahiawaWahine)
* General area: 1 point (Wahiawa – WahiawaWahine)
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each (Kamehameha Hwy – WahiawaWahine, Kukui St – Otto)
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point (May – Otto)
* Year photo was taken? (duh!): 1 point (2007 – WahiawaWahine)
Totals This Week

  • 5 points – Otto
  • 5 points – WahiawaWahine
Round 7 Leadahz

  • 67.5 – carokun
  • 54.0 – Paco
  • 33.0 – Coconut Willy
  • 19.0 – rayboyjr
  • 11.0 – tweetpeep22
  • 10.0 – Kage
  • 07.0 – pink lady
  • 06.0 – Takeshi
  • 05.0 – Otto, WahiawaWahine
  • 04.0 – che, J-Dog, soogs
  • 03.0 – Ynaku
  • 02.0 – pink lady
[Da Leadahboard]

VH07V SPOTTED!

For this week’s “Spotted“, we have local, turned national recording artist Justin Young showing some VH07V up in Cali.

Photo #3
Justin Young with some VH07V
Justin Young with some VH07V

Weekly VH07V Updates!

* I’ve been looking into outsourcing the fulfillment duties (shipping, inventory management, etc.) for the VH07V brand because it’s getting shmall kine hard to manage part-time. No can handle Randall! If all goes well, I should be then able to open up an online ordering site. Stay tuned!

* In the meantime, I’ve been jammin on all kine new hats. Whatchu tink of this sampo color combo?

VH07V Black/Red 210 Fitted
VH07V Black/Red 210 Fitted

* My friend Shari continues to be a selling machine for her Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure team: Team VH07V! Below is a photo she took of her second order, and believe it or not, she still has another few orders in the queue. If you’d like to donate to her team, please visit the Team VH07V page. If you’d like to join her team for the walk (October 21st), click on this link.

2nd order for Shari's Team VH07V
2nd order for Shari’s Team VH07V

* As one of the sponsors for this year’s Rice Fest (duh!), VH07V will be responsible for producing both the official Rice Fest shirt (for sale at the event at the VH07V booth) and the shirt for all volunteers. Here’s an online album of the process these shirts went through to get screened in time for this Saturday’s Rice Fest! Special thanks to Lanakila Custom Products for coming through in the clutch!

Rice = Life shirts for Rice Fest
Rice = Life shirts for Rice Fest

Where/When you can find VH07V in the coming weeks:

  • 09/15/12: University of Hawaii Football game – Will likely be tailgating near or along the main walkway leading up to Aloha Stadium prior to the 6pm game vs. Lamar. Stop by and say hi.
  • 09/22/12: University of Hawaii Football game – Will likely be tailgating near or along the main walkway leading up to Aloha Stadium prior to the 4:30pm game vs. Nevada. Stop by and say hi.
  • 09/29/12: 3rd Annual Rice Fest – As a sponsor of the event, VH07V will also have a booth at this year’s Rice Fest where we will sell all of our VH07V shirts in addition to the custom event shirt! Come on down to the Ward Warehouse complex to visit our booth any time from 11am-7pm.
  • NEW 10/07/12: 7th Annual Hawaii Fishing & Seafood FestivalVH07V will have a booth at this festival on Pier 38 from 9am-4pm.
  • 10/13/12: University of Hawaii Football game – Will likely be tailgating near or along the main walkway leading up to Aloha Stadium prior to the 6pm game vs. New Mexico. Stop by and say hi.
  • 10/19/12-10/21/12: 48th Annual Food & New Products Show – Get your Christmas shopping done at the Blaisdell all weekend! Come visit us at our booth for a free gift!
  • 11/10/12: University of Hawaii Football game – Will likely be tailgating near or along the main walkway leading up to Aloha Stadium prior to the 2pm game vs. Boise State. Stop by and say hi.
  • 11/24/12: University of Hawaii Football game – Will likely be tailgating near or along the main walkway leading up to Aloha Stadium prior to the 6pm game vs. UNLV. Stop by and say hi.
  • 12/01/12: University of Hawaii Football game – Will likely be tailgating near or along the main walkway leading up to Aloha Stadium prior to the 6pm game vs. South Alabama. Stop by and say hi.

As always, a big mahalos to everyone for your support and for helping to spread the VH07V! 8)


3rd Annual Rice Fest!

This year’s Rice Fest will be held THIS Saturday, September 29th from 11am-7pm at Ward Warehouse! There will be cooking demonstrations from Chef Mavro of Chef Mavro Restaurant and his partners Stephanie Lum and Shawn Ching of Hawaii News Now, and Grant Kawasaki of Hawaiian Grown TV & Hawaiian Grown Kitchen and his partner Justin Cruz from KHON2, Santa Miyoshi of Tokkuri Tei defending his “Riceipe” contest belt, live entertainment by Jody Kamisato & ‘Uke’s Rising Stars and Jon Yamasato, and taiko drumming from Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii, our 3rd annual SPAM Musubi eating contest, and our attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s Largest SPAM Musubi! Don’t forget to also bring your brown rice or monetary donations for our beneficiary Lanakila Meals on Wheels. Can’t wait! See you there…

3rd Annual Rice Fest
3rd Annual Rice Fest

Saturday, September 29, 2012
11am-7pm @ Ward Warehouse
Interact: RiceFest.com / Facebook / Twitter
RSVP: Facebook Event / Twtvite

Here’s a mini interview I had with Steve Uyehara yesterday morning on Hawaii News Now (in case you’re bored):

http://KHNL.images.worldnow.com/interface/js/WNVideo.js?rnd=329608;hostDomain=www.hawaiinewsnow.com;playerWidth=500;playerHeight=300;isShowIcon=true;clipId=7765131;flvUri=;partnerclipid=;adTag=Entertainment;advertisingZone=;enableAds=true;landingPage=;islandingPageoverride=false;playerType=STANDARD_EMBEDDEDscript;controlsType=overlay

Have a happy VH07V Wednesday y’all! Shoooots!

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Storage Auction at Hawaii Self Storage (Kaimuki location) - Tue, 10/16/12 @ 10am
Storage Auction at Hawaii Self Storage (Kaimuki location) – Tue, 10/16/12 @ 10am

Lanakila Meals on Wheels – Feeding our Seniors, One Meal at a Time

August 1, 2011

When I think of senior citizens, I think of my dear obaachan in Japan. And although she lives on her own, she is never alone. Between her caretakers and her family and friends, she always has somebody to talk to and share a meal with.

For some seniors right here in Hawaii, they are not as fortunate. Many don’t have family or friends to visit and sometimes, they can’t even afford to eat. When I think about a senior citizen missing a meal, it breaks my heart because all I can I think about is what it might be like if my obaachan was in this horrible situation.

Enter Lanakila Pacific and their Meals on Wheels program. What started as a lunch wagon serving hot meals to seniors in need at A`ala Park in the 70’s, the Meals on Wheels program has expanded, serving 250,000 meals each year on over 90 different routes. They also have 18 Kupuna Wellness Centers around Oahu where able bodied seniors can gather, socialize, exercise, etc., in addition to getting their hot meal.

Lanakila Pacific sign
Lanakila Pacific sign

Now in its 40th year, Lanakakila Meals on Wheels is looking more than ever to fill the void of unmet seniors in need of home delivered meals, which the City & County of Honolulu’s Elderly Affairs Division 4-year plan (2007-2011) estimates at 8,587!

I recently sat down with Lanakila Pacific’s Volunteer and Resource Development Coordinator Randi Jeung to talk more about their Meals on Wheels program.

Interview with Randi Jeung

Edward Sugimoto) For those who don’t know, describe what Lanakila Pacific does as an organization, and what your role is here.

Randi Jeung) Lanakila Pacific is a local non-profit organization. This is our 72nd year. We offer programs and services for adults with cognitive, physical, social or age related challenges, and we help them build their independence and help them improve the quality of their lives.

Edward Sugimoto) And what do you do here?

Randi Jeung) I’m on the marketing team, so all the different marketing initiatives, I help with that, but my main role is I’m the volunteer coordinator so I go out to talk to people about volunteer opportunities here and how to get involved.

Edward Sugimoto) One of those programs is Meals on Wheels (and that’s how we know Rick Nakama and other volunteers as well), what is that program exactly?

Randi Jeung) Yeah, we’ve had a lot of social media people come and help us at different events and at different times so we’re very thankful for that. Lanakila Meals on Wheels is probably our best known program. Lanakila Pacific is probably best known for its Meals on Wheels program. It’s Hawaii’s largest and only island-wide meal service for seniors, but it’s so much more than just a meal program. Our volunteers are awesome volunteers. (They) provide them with connections to other local services if they see that the senior has a need or something, they’ll come and let us know and we’ll refer them to other services and they’re just there as a friend because for a lot of our seniors, that volunteer that comes to see them that one time a week sometimes is the only person that they’ll see. Sad situation but it’s the reality and our volunteers are helping us with that.

Edward Sugimoto) Statistically, do you know about how many seniors you help (through Meals on Wheels)?

Randi Jeung) Yes. So as of last week (week of July 10), the count was, each week, we help approximately 2,000 seniors throughout the island of Oahu and that number is only going to get bigger because we’re seeing it happening. Our route sizes have grown, they’ve doubled in size so now what we’re doing is we’re splitting our routes so that it’s a little bit easier on our volunteers when they go out to deliver, but yeah, that number is gonna grow real quick.

Edward Sugimoto) Do you have an interesting or heart-warming story you can share about one of your Meals on Wheels recipients?

Randi Jeung) There are so many stories that come out and you know, I want to save that for volunteers when they come, they’ll have their own stories, but for us, we have a senior that, you know, she lives on her own. She actually lives in a garage and when you go in to see her, and deliver the meals to her, you can see like the garage, you know how the garage door like there’s a space on the top and the bottom, cause it’s not meant to be lived in, it’s just for storage for cars. And so she lives in the garage and she has like all kinds of stuff in the garage… She’s really funny. You would feel bad for her when you see her, she’s just the liveliest little lady and she’s always joking around. Sometimes we have these two younger gentlemen that go to deliver meals to her and she knows that they’re single, so she’ll have like either her niece or her granddaughters that are there, waiting. And you know, she wants to introduce them, so she wants to be a matchmaker. So very good humored and every time we go she’s just so grateful and she just wants to hang onto you and talk story with you, probably for hours if she could.

Edward Sugimoto) So if someone was interested in volunteering for Meals on Wheels, how do they go about doing that?

Randi Jeung) Contact us, just give us a call. Our phone number is (808) 531-0555 or just check out our web site. The URL is www.lanakilapacific.org.

Edward Sugimoto) And for a person in need, is that the same contact information?

Randi Jeung) Same contact information. That phone number is our main line and through that number you can be connected to Meals on Wheels, our TLC program, Workforce Resource program, and even our Kitchen program. So yeah, just call us, visit our web site, with any questions. For seniors coming onto the Meals on Wheels program, the only real requirement that we have is that you’re 60 years of age and above and after that, everybody gets an individual assessment.

Edward Sugimoto) You mentioned the Kitchen. You guys do catering and what other kind of stuff?

Randi Jeung) Yes we do! Lanakila Kitchen is one of our social enterprises, which basically means a small business that’s run out of the non-profit organization, and Lanakila Kitchen is our catering social enterprise so we do catering events anywhere from small business meetings with like 3-5 people, all the way to huge events like keiki’s first birthday or tailgating if you need food for that, or weddings or whatever. We can find a way to get you some really good food.

Edward Sugimoto) Yeah we actually called you guys for a couple of occasions for work at Oceanic and the food was really good!

Randi Jeung) You know I think I saw that. It was on a blog where you guys took pictures of the catering line. Just by doing like the Google search, yeah, I’ve seen it. Thank you very much!

Edward Sugimoto) *laughs* No problem. No problem.

Edward Sugimoto) So in a couple of months Rice Fest is happening and you guys are partners with Rice Fest

Randi Jeung) Yes!

Edward Sugimoto) … Talk a little bit about that and maybe what you’re going to have at the booth.

Randi Jeung) It’s really exciting! Rice Fest, it launched last year and it was a lot of fun. We had it at Aloha Tower at the Waterfront and it drew a lot of people and there was a musubi eating contest and all sorts of fun stuff. This year is the second year and it’s going to be at Ala Moana (Magic Island) this year and we’re very very thankful that Rice Fest has selected Lanakila Meals on Wheels as its beneficiary, and so they are putting a call out to all the people who are coming, that are going to attend the event to bring donations of brown rice and that helps us tremendously. That helps cut down some of our costs so that we can provide more meals for more seniors. We only use brown rice in our meals because it’s healthier and that’s something that we strive in, in Meals on Wheels as well as Lanakila Kitchen. So everybody’s gonna bring donations of brown rice. Last year, we got a huge amount, and so hopefully we’re hoping for the same thing or maybe even better for this year. We’re going to have a booth there, we’re going to have a table there, and we’ll have more information about how to get involved and if you know anybody that might need our services, whether it be Meals on Wheels, or TLC or Workforce Resources, then we’ll have all that information for you there and we’re actually trying to plan a fun little game that people can participate in this year so we’ll have something ready for everybody who stops by our table.

2nd Annual Hawaii Rice Festival
2nd Annual Hawaii Rice Festival
Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park
Sunday, September 11, 2011 @ 10am-6pm
For more info: RiceFest.com / Facebook / Twitter
To RSVP: Facebook Event / Twtvite

Edward Sugimoto) OK Randi, thanks very much!

Randi Jeung) Thank you very much. Bye! Come to Rice Fest! September 11th, Ala Moana Park. *waves*

Randi Jeung of Lanakila Pacific
Randi Jeung of Lanakila Pacific

The Lanakila Meals on Wheels program relies heavily on a large group of selfless volunteers to help deliver their meals to the hungry seniors. Since my friend Rick Nakama just so happens to be one of them, I decided to tag along with him several times to get a first hand view of what a volunteer would go through on any given day.

The first thing we did was check in to Lanakila Pacific’s home base at 1809 Bachelot Street (there are also several satellite pick up locations).

Rick Nakama (@RickNakama) and Mark Tam (@marktrc) checking in for their route
Rick Nakama (@RickNakama) and Mark Tam (@marktrc) checking in for their route

They give you a couple of bright orange cooler bags to fill your meals with…

Lanakila Meals on Wheels cooler bags
Lanakila Meals on Wheels cooler bags

… and then you proceed to fill it with your meals of the day.

Rick getting help from Randi Jeung to fill his bag.
Rick getting help from Randi Jeung to fill his bag.

Then you load up your car…

Bags from Lanakila Meals on Wheels loaded up
Bags from Lanakila Meals on Wheels loaded up

… check out your list of stops…

Rick's Nuuanu route (names blacked out for privacy)
Rick’s Nuuanu route (names blacked out for privacy)

… and you’re off!

Each location is different, which makes it somewhat of an adventure. Parking, call boxes, locations… Rick has it down to a science. Sometimes although two addresses on his list are on the very same street, he will hit them at separate times simply because “it’s not the most productive path.”

So when we get to an address, we unload the specified number of meals (according to our list)…

Rick unloading two meals for this particular stop
Rick unloading two meals for this particular stop

… and deliver it to the appropriate home/apartment.

Rick looking up the apartment to get buzzed into the building
Rick looking up the apartment to get buzzed into the building

The entire route doesn’t take more than an hour or two. In addition to the reward of seeing the many smiles on the faces of the seniors in need, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve prevented a senior from going hungry, at least for another day.

The views aren't so bad either
The views aren’t so bad either

After our route, I was able to ask Rick a few questions about why he chooses to volunteer for Lanakila Meals on Wheels.

Interview with Rick Nakama

Edward Sugimoto) Please introduce yourself.

Rick Nakama) I am Rick Nakama, @RickNakama on Twitter.

Edward Sugimoto) How did you hear about the Lanakila Meals on Wheels program?

Rick Nakama) I actually heard about it by attending one of @Melissa808‘s (Melissa Chang) and @ParkRat‘s (Russ Sumida) tweetups for @HawaiiIRL. We had a little tweetup here where a few of us attended, learned what the volunteers do, and got a tour of the facilities at Lanakila Pacific.

Edward Sugimoto) So after that, you were inspired to volunteer yourself?

Rick Nakama) Yeah, I was actually interested in doing this for a while, but it just seemed a little bit complicated to get involved, and then after attending that tweetup, I followed up later and then I realized it’s not really that complicated and I was able to just do this once a week. So I do it on Monday, I do the route on Monday and it takes me about an hour to an hour and a half at the most with someone else helping me.

Edward Sugimoto) How long have you been doing it?

Rick Nakama) I’ve been doing it since about October of last year (2010).

Edward Sugimoto) And you’re liking it so far?

Rick Nakama) Yeah.

Edward Sugimoto) OK, thank you.

Rick Nakama) Alright.

This experience had such an impact on me that I am now on the waiting list for a Meals on Wheels route in my own neighborhood. I don’t want somebody else’s obaachan going hungry after all…

For more information on volunteering yourself, visit the Lanakila Pacific volunteer page.

Lanakila Pacific
1809 Bachelot Street
Honolulu, HI. 96817 (map)
(808) 531-0555
Facebook Page / Twitter (@LanakilaPacific) / YouTube Channel / Vimeo Channel

Scenes from the Rice Fest

September 20, 2010

(Warning: *CHOKE* Photos)

Yeah, I know. Dis post is more than a week overdue, but bruddah ova hea had to sift through 635 photos from all ova da creation (Twitter/Twitpic, flickr, Facebook, etc.) from like 20 different peeps. Finally whittled it down to a little over a hunny in the hopes of giving you a little glimpse into the event that absolutely consumed my life for the last year or so.

For those who don’t know, I am the co-founder of an event called Rice Fest , an event that I am very passionate about, and one that I can honestly say Hawaii wants/needs. Let’s face it. We love our rice here in Hawaii. The plan is to put the Rice Fest on every September (in line with National Rice Month), which we started at our inaugural event last week Saturday (September 11, 2010) at the Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Below are the scenes from that day. Mahalo to everyone for the support!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Our Rice Fest sign on the morning of… Exciting!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
The line waits in anticipation (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Scenic shot of Aloha Tower (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Our Sponsor Diamond G Rice (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

(A big mahaloz to our sponsors/partners: Diamond G Rice, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Lanakila Pacific, Vacations Hawaii, HPE Live, and the Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace!)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Diamond G Rice gave away free rice to patrons every half hour! (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

Stephen aka @PHOTOluluTV won free rice and quickly donated it to our non-profit partner Lanakila Pacific. So thoughtful!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Stephen donating his rice to Lanakila Pacific. (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

Still early in the day, I had some down time to visit each booth to capture the sights.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Bruddah Kalani Miller and his niece(?) at their Mobile Gamer Guys’ booth.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Some keiki having fun playing video games inside the posh Mobile Gamer Guys’ van. (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Valen Ahlo posing with the 58th Cherry Blossom Festival Court (Princess Kimberly Fujinaka, Princess Cori Hanagami, Queen Marissa Machida, and Miss Congeniality Andrea Hiura). (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

Due to a tent mix-up, the ladies of the 58th Cherry Blossom Festival Court were out in the hot sun for part of the day. A big mahalo to all of them for being such troopers!

Also in the Keiki Zone, University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Department of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Science educator Dr. Maria Stewart shared her current research in an interactive and educational display entitled “Nutrition for Everybody: Learn How Rice Promotes a Healthy Body”.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Dr. Maria Stewart’s Rice Education booth. (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
The fellas from the Snow F|A|C|T|O|R|Y (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Russ aka @ParkRat enjoying his treat from Snow F|A|C|T|O|R|Y. (Photo Courtesy @Melissa808)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
The early scene from above. (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Pacific Soul’s Sean Priester and his staff. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Pacific Soul’s offerings at the Rice Fest. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Pelekunu’s booth. They won the Most Creative Booth Award! (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Grilled Teri Chicken plate from Pelekunu’s. (Photo Courtesy @Melissa808)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
The Thai Kitchen booth

Scenes from the Rice Fest
The Mixed Plate from Thai Kitchen

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Slowly starting to pick up (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Don Ho’s Island Grill booth

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Kats Sushi booth. They won the “Best of Show” award as voted on by the visitors. (Photo Courtesy @bitachu)

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Spicy Tuna temaki (handroll) from Kats Sushi. (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

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Himalayan Kitchen’s booth.

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Eastern Food Center’s booth.

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Various rice offerings (including jung, mochi and SPAM musubis) from Eastern Food Center. (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

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Primo Sushi’s booth. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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Big City Diner’s booth. (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

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Island Taste’s booth. (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

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Arturo’s Hot Sauce booth. (Photo Courtesy @LanakilaPacific)

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Julia, Chimaine, Umma and Mai at the Scrip booth. (Photo Courtesy Umma Kayvalyam)

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Sweet Charlotte’s booth.

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Sweet Charlotte’s offerings. (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

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Hawaiian Kine Seasonings’ booth.

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Offerings from Hawaiian Kine Seasonings. (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

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Yelp booth. (Photo Courtesy @Melissa808)

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Leonard Jr.’s malasada van. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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Our friends at the Lanakila Pacific booth. (Photo Courtesy @Melissa808)

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One of @LanakilaPacific’s tweets during the day. (Photo Courtesy @LanakilaPacific)

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The guys from Oishi-Genmai GIC Japan. Look for their products next year!

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The Admission/Volunteer Check-In/Twitter #RICEHUNT booth. (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

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Goodie bags for all Twitter #RICEHUNT participants. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

And then the #RICEHUNT Twitter Scavenger hunt began! Here are the list of items the participants had to find and Twitpic out in order to win:

  • A member of the 58th Cherry Blossom Festival Court
  • A pair of chopsticks
  • A picture of Bruddah Bryan from 102.7 Da Bomb
  • A picture of both Chef Barry “Cutty” Cutler and Hawaii News Now’s Stephanie Lum at the Celebrity/Chef Cooking Demo at 1PM
  • A scenic picture of Aloha Tower
  • A food dish with rice
  • A food booth at Rice Fest
  • Maribel with the new IntelliGo (at the Oceanic sponsor booth)
  • A close-up of The Mobile Gamer Guys’ Bus
  • A Rice Fest volunteer / staff – They must be wearing the Rice Fest shirt

Below are some of the images from the #RICEHUNT.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
“A member of the 58th Cherry Blossom Festival Court” (Photo Courtesy @biznaz)

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“A pair of chopsticks” (Photo Courtesy @princesstara459)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
“A picture of Bruddah Bryan from 102.7 Da Bomb” (Photo Courtesy @bitachu)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
“A picture of both Chef Barry “Cutty” Cutler and Hawaii News Now’s Stephanie Lum at the Celebrity/Chef Cooking Demo at 1PM” (Photo Courtesy @tweetpea)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
“A scenic picture of Aloha Tower” (Photo Courtesy @bitachu)

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“A food dish with rice” (Photo Courtesy @princesstara459)

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“A food booth at Rice Fest” (Photo Courtesy @emichan58)

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“Maribel with the new IntelliGo (at the Oceanic sponsor booth)” (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
“A close-up of The Mobile Gamer Guys’ Bus” (Photo Courtesy @bitachu)

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“A Rice Fest volunteer / staff – They must be wearing the Rice Fest shirt” (Photo Courtesy @LaurieCicotello)

Mahaloz to all of our #RICEHUNT participants: @amisan34 (and friend), @bitachu (and friend), @biznaz, @photolulutv, @princesstara459 (and friend), @emichan58 (and friend), and @lauriecicotello, and congratulations to @bitachu for winning the grand prize that included gifts from VG Addict, OhanaPCS, TNBLive, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable. Special thanks to @octobersoldier for coordinating the game and prizes! Awesome job!

And then, it was time for the Rice Fest to officially begin! 102.7 Da Bomb’s Bruddah Bryan gets us started…

Scenes from the Rice Fest
102.7 Da Bomb’s Bruddah Bryan giving away a skateboard from Oceanic Time Warner Cable (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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Cookin’ With Cutty’s Barry “Cutty” Cutler and Hawaii News Now’s Stephanie Lum put on their Celebrity/Chef Cooking Demo (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

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Cutty and Stephanie’s “Healthy Fried Rice” dish. (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

Ingredients for Cutty and Stephanie’s “Healthy Fried Rice”:

  • Brown Rice
  • Olive/Grapeseed Oil
  • Turkey Bacon/Turkey Sausage
  • Organic Eggs (whites only)
  • Carrots
  • Maui Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Seasonings
  • Lettuce Leaves
  • Cilantro
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos

Serve on a fresh butter lettuce leaf

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Stephen (@PhotoluluTV), Sara (@sarakata) and Melissa (@Melissa808) enjoying themselves at the Rice Fest (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

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Russ (@ParkRat), Melissa (@Melissa808), and Rick (@RickNakama) take time to pose at the Rice Fest (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

And before you knew it, it was time for the 2nd Celebrity/Chef Cooking Demo, featuring Kai Market’s Chef Darren Demaya and KITV4’s Lara Yamada.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Kai Market’s Chef Darren Demaya cooking with KITV4’s Lara Yamada

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Chef Darren and Lara’s dish (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

Soon it was time for the Lung Kong Physical Culture Club to bless our event with good luck via a traditional lion dance. I was told to stand in front while the lions start on me. Love love LOVE this cool shot from @PhotoluluTV that totally captured the moment!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Getting blessed from the Lung Kong Physical Culture Club Lion Dancers (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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The drummers from the Lung Kong Physical Culture Club (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

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Up close on one of the lions. (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

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The lion dances through the crowd and all over the premises for good luck. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

Next up: The Ukulele Hale keiki and Jody Kamisato & Chris Salvador, aka Heart and Soul!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Jody Kamisato introducing his band Heart & Soul (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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Heart & Soul with their special guest Kalei Gamiao (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

I gotta say, I was REALLY impressed with young Chris Salvador’s voice. Wow!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Kalei Gamiao, Heart & Soul, and the Ukulele Hale keiki jammin’ it up! (Photo Courtesy Jody Kamisato)

One of my favorite events of the day was the “Riceipe” Cooking contest that pitted 5 professional chefs against each other to see who could make the best dish that incorporated rice. Fun, adrenaline pumpin’, exciting stuffs!

The participating chefs were Chef Hideaki “Santa” Miyoshi from Tokkuri-Tei, Chef Kendall Uyehara from HMSHost, Chef Robert Denis from Don Ho’s Island Grill, Chef Matthew Naula from RumFire, and Chef Colin Hazama from Kauai Grill.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Chef Hideaki “Santa” Miyoshi, Chef Kendall Uyehara, Chef Robert Denis, Chef Matthew Naula, and Chef Colin Hazama line up as Bruddah Bryan introduces them. (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

3-2-1… Go!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Kauai Grill’s Chef Colin Hazama goes at it. (Photo Courtesy @Mel808)

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Chef Colin’s Hanalei Squid Luau Risotto (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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RumFire’s Chef Matthew Naula tosses rice in his pan. (Photo Courtesy Todd Masui)

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Chef Matt’s dish. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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The crowd gathers as the chefs hurry to complete their dish. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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Don Ho’s Island Grill’s Chef Robert Denis preps his dish.

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Chef Robert’s Lomilomi Salmon Risotto Lollipops w/ Sweet Chili Glaze dish. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
HMSHost’s Chef Kendall Uyehara works on his gravy. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Chef Kendall’s Loco Moco a la Francaise dish. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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Tokkuri-Tei’s Chef Hideaki “Santa” Miyoshi just cruisin’. (Photo Courtesy @Mel808)

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Chef Santa kicks it into high gear. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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Chef Santa’s Seafood Risotto. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

I’m still trying to convince him that “Sugimoto Risotto” has a much better ring to it. πŸ˜‰

Meanwhile the judges took their places on stage and prepared to feast on some ono kine (rice) grindz! Our judges were Star-Advertiser Food Critic Nadine Kam, Twitter Goddess and all around foodie Melissa Chang (@Melissa808), Professional Baker Ed Morita (@NctrnlBst), and Diamond G Rice’s Harrison Wong.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Harrison, Ed, Nadine, and Melissa get interviewed by Bruddah Bryan. (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Melissa taking a shot of Chef Matthew Naula’s dish. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

And then it was time to announce the winner… I’ll just let the next four photos tell the (funny) story.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Chef Santa asks, “Who me!?” (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

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Chef Santa in shock. (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

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Chef Santa finally cracks a smile. (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

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Chef Santa still in shock. (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)

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Chef Santa’s Seafood Risotto as seen from Nadine Kam’s perspective. (Photo Courtesy @fashiontribe)

Congratulations Santa-san!

Next up was an amazing Taiko Drum performance by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii under the direction of Sensei Akemi Martin.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Taiko Drum performance by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Taiko Drum performance by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii (Photo Courtesy @PHOTOluluTV)


@NctrnlBst’s Youtube video (for Nonstop Honolulu) with footage/images from the Rice Fest

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Crowd shot. (Photo Courtesy Tyson Yamada)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Mel (@Mel808), Chris (@ChrisHall78) and Randi (@randi808) pose during the Rice Fest. (Photo Courtesy @ParkRat)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Hawaii News Now’s Minna Sugimoto and Kauai Grill’s Chef Colin Hazama put on their Celebrity/Chef Cooking Demo

I was unfortunately running around so I was unable to capture the dish, but FYI, it was “Slow cooked New Zealand King Salmon” with miso yuzu broth, young ginger, soft tofu, and crispy jasmine rice… A dish Chef Colin serves at his Kauai Grill restaurant.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Now that’s a good lookin’ couple! πŸ˜› Ron and Sherry pose during the Rice Fest. (Photo Courtesy Tyson Yamada)

And then Kapena takes the stage!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Kapena / De Lima `Ohana serenading the audience at Rice Fest. (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Kelly Boy, Kalena, and Lilo!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Scenic shot of Aloha Tower as nightfall sets in. (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
The crowd enjoys the music of Kapena. (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Kelly Boy spontaneously calls on a girl from the Pelekunu booth to dance hula during a song. (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Walter and Lincoln hanging out at the Vacations Hawaii booth. (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Maude and Travis working the Oceanic Time Warner Cable booth. (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Harrison holding things down at the Diamond G Rice booth. (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

And then came the hilarious and entertaining SPAM Musubi eating contest. The contestants had 3 minutes to eat as many SPAM Musubis as possible!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Bruddah Bryan counts down to the start of the SPAM Musubi Eating Contest.

Scenes from the Rice Fest
And… they’re off! (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

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The look of pain (or concentration)! One of the two. πŸ˜‰ (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

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Still going! … As the audience captures footage. (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
Keep it going! (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

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Time’s running out! (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

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And Rodney’s the winnah! He ate an amazing 8 out of 10 SPAM musubis within the 3 minute period! (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Scenes from the Rice Fest
“Uncle Rodney” gets mobbed by his adoring fans/family! (Photo Courtesy Kiman Wong)

Why do I call him “Uncle Rodney”? Check out the video! LOL!


SPAM Musubi Eating Contest at the 2010 Rice Fest

And then it was a wrap!

Scenes from the Rice Fest
The 2010 Rice Fest is in the books! See you next year!

A big mahalo to everyone who came out to support our first event. Thank you to our hard working staff and volunteers (especially Lincoln Jacobe and my day-to-day partners in crime: Umma Kayvalyam, Harold Su and my wife Mai). Thank you to the media for all of your coverage, including Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Hawaii News Now’s Sunrise, KITV4 This Morning, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, The Nikkan Sun, KUMU, Nonstop Honolulu and all those who talked/blogged about us in Hawaii’s Social Media space (@Melissa808, @ParkRat, @Mel808, @RickNakama, @sarakata, @PhotoluluTV, @fashiontribe, @octobersoldier, @LanakilaPacific, @randi808, @pacificsoul, @Nctrnlbst, @amisan34, @bitachu, @biznaz, @princesstara459, @emichan58, @lauriecicotello, @tweetpea, @haboolani, @HawaiiIRL, @hnlmark, @strobie, @SSquire, @MikeSumida, @ChrisHall78, @JKuroiwa, @atmarketing, @Living2Shop, @theodene, and more! Sorry, I know I’m missing a lot!). Mahaloz to @PhotoluluTV, @ParkRat, Kiman Wong, Todd Masui, Tyson Yamada, and more, for taking photos and letting me “borrow” some for this blog. πŸ˜›

Mahalo to our sponsors and partners Diamond G Rice, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Lanakila Pacific, Vacations Hawaii, HPE Live, the Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace, and Rob Yunich and the rest of the USA Rice Federation team. Thank you to all of our vendors: Arturo’s Hot Sauce in Hawaii, Big City Diner, Don Ho’s Island Grill, Dr. Maria Stewart (University of Hawaii at Manoa Professor of Nutrition), Eastern Food Center, Hawaiian Kine Seasonings, Himalayan Kitchen, Island Taste, KATS SUSHI, Lanakila Pacific, Leonard’s Malasadas, Mobile Gamer Guys, OISHI-GENMAI – GIC JAPAN, Pelekunu’s Teri Sauces, Primo Sushi, Thai Kitchen, Soul Patrol, SNOW |F|A|C|T|O|R|Y|, and Sweet Charlotte, and our entertainers: 102.7 Da Bomb’s Bruddah Bryan, Cookin’ With Cutty’s Chef Barry “Cutty” Cutler, Hawaii News Now’s Stephanie Lum, Kai Market’s Darren Demaya, KITV4’s Lara Yamada, Kauai Grill’s Chef Colin Hazama, Hawaii News Now’s Minna Sugimoto, Ernie Loo and the Lung Kong Physical Culture Club, Heart & Soul (and Kalei Gamiao), the Ukulele Hale Keiki, Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii under the direction of Sensei Akemi Martin, Kapena (Kelly Boy, Kalena, and Lilo De Lima), Jonathan Murai and the 58th Cherry Blossom Festival Court, and Bubbles Duh Clown.

Thank you to our SPAM musubi eating contestants and our “Riceipe” Cooking contestants: Don Ho’s Island Grill’s Chef Robert Denis, Kauai Grill’s Chef Colin Hazama (again!), Tokkuri-Tei’s Chef Hideaki “Santa” Miyoshi, RumFire’s Chef Matthew Naula, and HMSHost’s Chef Kendall Uyehara. Mahalo also to our Starwood contacts: Candice Lee Kraughto, Jocelyn Elfstrom, Joanie Matsumoto, and Chaunce Lovett, among others. Mahaloz to the “World Wide Ed” community for reading this far and always showing your support in whatever I do. I know I’m forgetting a lot more, so thank you to anyone and everyone who helped make the inaugural Rice Fest a reality. See you guys next year! πŸ™‚


Video highlights from the 2010 Hawaii Rice Fest

The Rice is Right – Mana Bu’s Has the Best Musubis in Hawaii

June 1, 2010

Growing up as a second generation Japanese American, my taste buds have not always lined up with what was being offered here in Hawaii. Sure, I can pound a plate lunch as good as the next fella, but I contend that it is only because of the presence of “two scoops rice”! LOL!

I remember when mama used to pack us little home lunches that featured rice as the staple. Whether it was as a starch to go along with the other items, or as the star of the show in the form of onigiris (musubis/rice balls), you could bet your bottom dollar that we were well fed rice (rice) babies.

In the middle of the onigiris, we would often find a treat when she slid in oshake (salmon), chirimenjako (small anchovies), or any variety of kombu (kelp), and then she would wrap it all up with a tasty slice or two of nori (seaweed). As I grew up and eventually flew the coup, I realized just how spoiled I was when I suddenly had difficulty finding onigiris of the same caliber.

Enter one Mana Bu’s on South King Street.

Mana Bu's on South King Street
Mana Bu’s on South King Street

Self proclaimed as Hawaii’s Musubi Headquarters, Mana Bu’s serves up healthy onigiri – like mama used to make – at very reasonable prices. Here’s an interview I recently had with company president Manabu Asaoka.

[Edward Sugimoto] Please give us a little history about yourself.

[Manabu Asaoka] After graduating from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, I worked at The Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance as a marine (hull) insurance underwriter for 16 years. At the age of 38, I decided to change my life to be more enthusiastic, independent and happier, so I quit my job. (Since The Tokio Marine is one of the most highest-waging companies in Japan, this decision may’ve sounded reckless or ridiculous to my co-workers and bosses.)

Prior to starting my own business, I believed that I had to “study” at the target place to grasp not only the market size but also its culture and the people’s sense of value. I got into HPU in September 2005 and obtained a Master’s degree in Communication (MA-COM). Throughout the Master’s program, I focused on the intercultural communication and the customer satisfaction models. At the end of 2007, I finished the MA-COM program with “Distinction” and started establishing my own business. Finally, I opened the musubi deli “Mana bu’s” on May 14, 2008.

A Look Inside Mana Bu's
A Look Inside Mana Bu’s

[Edward Sugimoto] Why did you decide to open a musubi place here in Hawaii?

[Manabu Asaoka] Hawaii was the most attractive market to try my own sense of business, because of its diversity of culture. Especially, as a Japanese national, Hawaii’s food culture was quite intriguing. It is clearly affected by Japanese dishes; most of the locals love shoyu and miso. On the other hand, I noticed that the local Japanese food had been somewhat skewed; the Japanese people in Japan would NOT eat tempura, sushi, mochiko-chicken, butterfish, etc. so often. Rather, they are more familiar with variety of veggie foods, even in the drinking situations at Izakaya. When it comes to some foods for “snack”, now in Japan, musubi is very popular. Here in Hawaii, musubi mostly refers to SPAM musubi and some super-dried bland musubi at the okazu shops, despite that the locals’ love of rice dishes. I just wondered why nobody had tried to focus on musubi. So I decided to do this by myself.

Mana Bu's Partial Selection of Musubis
Mana Bu’s Partial Selection of Musubis

[Edward Sugimoto] How important is it to you to keep your prices low?

[Manabu Asaoka] Before recognizing myself as a business owner, I am always a consumer in this local community. As a consumer, under this tough economy, if I can easily buy tasty and healthy foods, that will be fine. I will try to keep the price as cheep as possible using good quality ingredients. At the same time, I must say sorry to some customers who would like to use their check-cards / credit-cards. The “Cash Only” system is very very important for us to save the cost.

The popular Teri SPAM Lite Musubi from Mana Bu's - $1.30
The popular Teri SPAM Lite Musubi from Mana Bu’s – $1.30

[Edward Sugimoto] Did you expect the popularity that you’ve been enjoying thus far?

[Manabu Asaoka] No. But I strongly believed that as far as we make tasty foods and sell them with affordable price, the local customers would, sooner or later, notice our shop and be regular customers. In reality, it was pretty short time, though…

[Edward Sugimoto] Serving healthy food and using only the highest quality ingredients seems to be a focal point for you. Why?

[Manabu Asaoka] One of the core missions of this musubi business is “To provide the locals EASY ACCESS to Japanese healthy foods”. For this mission, we stick to using only familiar ingredients which are available at the local supermarkets. We would like to suggest to the local customers that the healthy Japanese dishes, such as musubi and some veggie kinds, are NOT difficult to make by themselves.

Sign at Mana Bu's
Sign at Mana Bu’s

[Edward Sugimoto] How many different varieties of rice do you use? Which is the most popular?

[Manabu Asaoka] We use:

  • White-rice: TAMANISHIKI
  • Organic White-rice: KOSHIHIKARI
  • Brown-rice: TAMANISHIKI
  • 10-Grain-rice: Our original blend which includes TAMANISHIKI white/brown rice.
  • Mochi-rice: HAKUBAI

Still, White-rice musubi is the most popular kind.

Close up of the Kombu Musubi using 10-Grain Rice - $1.50
Close up of the Kombu Musubi using 10-Grain Rice – $1.50

[Edward Sugimoto] How many different varieties of musubi do you offer? Which are the most popular?

[Manabu Asaoka] 32 varieties on weekdays. 33 on Saturday. Best sellers are…

  1. White-rice Salmon
  2. White-rice Teri SPAM-Lite
  3. White-rice Tuna & Mayo

Tuna & Mayo Musubi from Mana Bu's - $1.30
Tuna & Mayo Musubi from Mana Bu’s – $1.30

[Edward Sugimoto] Any new ones in the works?

[Manabu Asaoka] Another 10-Grain version is under consideration. Also, we would like to try some more fillings with organic white rice. However, it depends on the market’s expectation based on the local economy.

10-Grain Sign at Mana Bu's
10-Grain Sign at Mana Bu’s

[Edward Sugimoto] You just celebrated your 2nd anniversary right? Anything special planned?

[Manabu Asaoka] Precisely, it is on May 14. Although we are thinking to show our appreciation to the customers, we haven’t decided it yet.

[Edward Sugimoto] Anything else to add to your current or future customers?

[Manabu Asaoka] We just want to say utmost Mahalo to the local customers. Their smile always encourages me and my wife Fumiyo. We are very very proud of this business strongly supported by the local customers and the local employees.

Manabu Asaoka Poses In Front of his Musubi Selection at Mana Bu's
Manabu Asaoka Poses In Front of his Musubi Selection at Mana Bu’s

Ed’s Tips for Mana Bu’s:

  • Go early! – Manabu, along with his nutritionist wife Fumiyo, starts at 12AM-1AM every morning to prepare for the day. Mana Bu’s (which, incidentally, is a play on the Hawaiian term Mana, which means strength/energy) opens their doors at 7AM with 8 different kinds of musubis (and organic coffee). At 8AM, they have 16 musubis available and at 9AM, they have 32. They close at 1:30PM but are usually wiped out well before then.
  • They also offer healthy okazu and dessert options after 9AM.
  • If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask Manabu. He is a wealth of knowledge and can explain each ingredient to you.

I think my mama has finally found some competition, as, the Rice is definitely Right here at Mana Bu’s. Cue Bob Barker…

Mana Bu’s
1618 S.King St.
Honolulu, HI 96826 (map)
Phone (808) 358-0287
Mon-Fri: 7AM-1:30PM
Sat: 9:30AM-1:30PM
Sun: Closed

The Best Thing I Ever Ate
UPDATE!
Manabu just informed me that their shop is going to be featured in the nationally televised “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” show (on the “Regional Favorites” episode) on Food Network TV this month on June 14th! Oceanic Cable customers, support Mana Bu’s and tune in to channel 321 or HD channel 1321 on the 14th! Omedetou Manabu-san!