Cat Chat 28: Making andagi

There’s nothing better than fried dough.

Except when that fried dough — in this case, the Okinawan donut andagi — is freshly made at the annual Okinawan Festival, held this weekend at Kapiolani Park.

While the annual festival serves such Okinawan staples as pig’s feet soup, yakisoba, Okinawan-style soba and shoyu pork, the andagi — and the many variations of it — are the big draw. The festival sells more than 100,000 balls of fried dough over the two days. People can’t seem to get enough!

So much so, the festival has introduced other andagi creations, including the Andadog — a hot dog covered in andagi batter and deep-fried — and Fundagi, a new dish this year that’s a combination of andagi and funnel cakes.

Another new menu item — and no, this doesn’t involve andagi batter — is taco rice, a popular dish invented in Okinawa. It’s a bed of rice topped with ground beef flavored with taco seasonings, shredded lettuce, cheese and salsa. Trust me, it’s good.

But there’s more to the Okinawan Festival than food. There will be entertainers from Okinawa, taiko performances, karate demonstrations, a country store, a texting contest and the last bon dance of the summer season.

We got a sneak preview of the festival from Ellen Higa, a veteran angadi maker who taught me how to correctly drop andagi, among other things:

Special thanks to the Hawaii United Okinawa Association for arranging this festival preview and Melissa Chang (@melissa808) for shooting this video