Did this: Mangoes at the Moana 2016


DSC05043The mango festival has come a long way in eight years since Mark and Candy Suiso first started it in Makaha. Starwood now puts on a big event, featuring cooking demos, a silent auction, a mini farmer’s market, mango tasting, and of course, a mango throwdown with eight renowned Oahu chefs creating mango-themed dishes, from sweet to savory.

You could buy a wide variety of fresh mangoes, beyond Hayden: Momi K, Pope, Rapoza, Gouveia, and more.

You could buy a wide variety of fresh mangoes, beyond Hayden: Momi K, Pope, Rapoza, Gouveia, and more.

DSC05064DSC05067DSC05062 DSC05063Snooze, I lose: The pickled mango sold out first at the mini farmer’s market. But I could still get mango bread, mango curd, and mango drinks.

DSC05061Celebrity emcees Will Chen, Guy Hagi and Augie Tulba returned to entertain the crowd.

DSC05042 DSC05046The winner of this year’s mango throwdown: Chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka of MW Restaurant, with her mango “shave ice” atop mango ice cream and tapioca. Her team also did two cocktails, one with rum and one with tequila. If you’ve ever had the fruity shave ice dessert at MW, you know how this blows everything away — especially on hot Hawaii days.

DSC05032 DSC05033Southern Wine & Spirits featured the alcoholic Mango-licious cocktail, and non-alcoholic Thyme for Mango. Both were very refreshing, with unexpected little taste twists!

DSC05048 DSC05052Chef Mark Noguchi showed that you can make mangoes savory and hearty with his papio dish. It was topped with spicy pickled mango and a crispy chip for additional texture, making it a crowd favorite.

DSC05028 DSC05060Mango risotto? Chef Hiroyuki Mimura of Taormina Sicilian Cuisine topped his with grilled scallops, shrimp, kale and other goodies and it was so good, I’m going to head to the restaurant to get a full size and try the rest of their special July mango menu (ends July 31).

DSC05057 DSC05059Chef Ed Kenney of town specializes in simple dishes, and his mango bread did not disappoint. At first I thought it would be plain, because it looked so simple. But they heated each slice on a griddle, then topped it with fresh ricotta and olive oil. The sprinkle of Hawaiian salt flakes put it over the top, giving each bite had a range of flavors and textures. It was heavy, though, so I could only eat one; if I had room, I seriously would have eaten two.

DSC05036 DSC05034Chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Cafe, the reigning champion, made malasadas stuffed with mangoes and ricotta, then drizzled with mango sauce and — get this — truffle oil. You could smell the goodness from the other side of the courtyard! The edible flowers were a gorgeous little touch.

DSC05039 DSC05040Chef Ronnie Nasuti of Tiki’s Grill made a great mango-macadamia-coconut crab cake with mango puree — the red dot you see is a baby tomato. I love it when chefs do savory dishes with mangoes! This one should go on the regular menu!

DSC05053Morimoto Waikiki featured a mango-vegetable tempura fritter with mango sauce and micro greens. This was great on its own, but we really liked the pop of savory with the bit of spicy pork topping.

DSC05030Five years ago, I blogged about Carolyn Tada Portuondo when she had Caked Las Vegas. She’s now back home and is now the executive pastry chef at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. She hit it out of the ballpark with her mango semifreddo atop a vanilla wafer and mango sauce…all topped with mango pop rocks.


I always say that I liked all the dishes at this event, and it’s true! The dishes this year were even better than before, though. I hope the restaurants have these dishes when I go to visit for more!