What We Want to Eat at the 2019 Made in Hawai‘i Festival on August 16-18
We went through the full program of food vendors to make our must-have and must-try list of 17 local delectables.
Ubae’s cheesecake tarts, ube syrup and ube crinkles.
Photo: Steve Czerniak
Shinae Lee, intern
Must-have: I studied abroad in Brazil, so when I heard Nosh was selling pão de queijo at the Best of Honolulu Festival, I made a beeline straight for its booth. The cheese bread is made with tapioca flour, which makes everything extra gooey and delicious. Nosh also sells fillings like doce de leite and jalapeño, but I like to eat mine straight out of the paper bag, just like in Brazil.
Must-try: Growing up on the Big Island, ube was one of my favorite foods so naturally I was excited to hear Ubae dedicates its whole bakery to purple goodies. I can’t wait to try their mini cheesecake tarts and crinkle cookies.
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Katrina Valcourt, managing editor
Hawaii-grown cold brew on nitro! It was SO popular that we’re taking it on the road. ⤑ Next stop: Made in Hawaii Festival on Oahu, and then Aina Fest in Hawi! On tap: barrel aged #MauiMokka + Fair Trade Koko Kold Brew. Come see us, bring your reusable cup, and we’ll fill it up ♻️! #luckywedrinkhawaii
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Must-have: I first tried Big Island Coffee Roasters as part of a coffee subscription box years ago and immediately fell in love with its Maui Mokka coffee. Even though the beans are small, they are mighty. The medium-dark roast is rich with warming spice flavors and dark chocolate notes perfect for a late-morning cup while reading a magazine.
Must-try: I’d never heard of Monkeypod Jam before browsing this year’s vendor list, but this Kaua‘i brand’s selection of jams and preserves combines some of my favorite flavors—I’m looking specifically at the orange chocolate sauce. The Banana Foster jam, jaboticaba jelly, calamansi curd, salsa, marmalades and pickles all sound intriguing.
Christi Young, editorial director
Photo: Courtesy of ‘Ulu Mana
Must-have: At every Best of Honolulu Festival I make sure to fill a cooler with ‘Ulu Mana hummus and chips. Two weeks later, I'm almost out—especially since I polished off a full bag of the chips in one day in the office. My shopping list: Two containers of the Hoppin' Jalapeño (so my husband and I can stop battling over it), a Bangin' Beet (my daughter's favorite), and at least three bags of the chips, which I will have to immediately hide from myself to avoid a three-bag binge.
Must-try: You may see a trend, but since we highlighted ‘ulu in our March issue of HONOLULU, anything made with the sustainable fruit has been on my must-try list. So ‘Ulu and Kalo Bakery's intriguing lineup of vegan baked treats definitely grabbed my attention. I'm especially intrigued to try the ‘ulu mai‘a bread and kalo brownies or any of the amazing-looking vegan ‘ulu doughnuts I spotted on the bakery's Instagram.
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Martha Cheng, food and dining editor
Must-have: Maui Nui Venison. Maui’s Axis deer don’t have the dark, bloody taste of other venison. It’s so clean tasting that, on the tip of a hunter friend, I eat Maui Nui Venison’s loin medallions raw, sliced like sashimi.
Must-try: I second ‘Ulu and Kalo! I’m always interested in what products people create out of ‘ulu.
Stacey Makiya, senior fashion editor
Must-have: Som’ Good sauces are beyond good. No joke. I visited their booth at a festival last year and the guy who helped me was so convincing with his “broke da mouth” and “no mess aroun’” references that I bought three bottles. I tried the Butter Yaki Salad dressing on greens, soba noodles and steamed veggies. The Butter Yaki and Butter Yaki Garlic sauces I used as marinades on meats and salmon. Everything was ‘ono and broke da mouth.
Must-try: Rocket. Scientist. Chili. How can you not want to know what this is about? I googled the name and JC International, which is home to the Rocket Scientist Chili, popped up. The company offers lifestyle products and foods that encourage healthy habits. The tagline for the chili: Great Taste! No Waist! Pass me a spoon.
Brie Thalmann, managing fashion editor
Photo: courtesy of Naked Cow Dairy
Must-have: I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Naked Cow Dairy will be stocking its suuuper-‘ono sage cheese and black truffle butter, which I became addicted to after sampling both at one of its cheese-making classes. And I’ve heard amazing things about its guava-smoked and Hawaiian chile pepper cheeses, so I’m itching to try those.
Must-try: I’ll also be looking to chillax with a few bars of Franny’s Hawaiian Fresh Fruit Ice Pops. Franny uses locally sourced fruits and all-natural ingredients—the li hing pineapple and guava flavors sound like the perfect thing to beat this heat!
Robbie Dingeman, editor-at-large
Must-try: I’m curious to check out two ranches working for a more sustainable local beef industry: RKL Ranch from Kaua‘i and Kunoa Cattle Company to see what they’re selling at the festival.
Marisa Heung, special projects editor
Must-have: I tried Huff n’ Puff’s Kona coffee okoshi for the first time two weeks ago and have been craving it ever since. Okoshi isn’t usually a go-to snack, but there’s something about that earthy, slightly savory coffee flavor that makes this version addicting.
Must-try: Maffles. Mochi and waffles are both good eats in my book, so this breakfast-dessert hybrid—described as having the chewiness of mochi and the crunch of a freshly made waffle—is on my must-try list.
The 25th Made in Hawai‘i Festival is Aug. 16-Aug. 18 at the Neal Blasidell Exhibition Hall. The festival opens at 10 a.m. every day, closing times vary. Admission is $7, kids 6 years and younger are free. madeinhawaiifestival.com