What’s on the Menu and Schedule at Saturday’s Korean Festival in Honolulu
All kinds of Korean food, eating contests, live entertainment and more are back after a two-year hiatus.
Manse! Or, hooray in Korean! If you want to eat way too much kim chee, drink soju, sing Korean songs and dance to K-pop, you’ll want to be at this annual cultural festival on Saturday. Here’s your guide to what you can eat, drink, watch and buy, where to park and so much more.
When and Where
The festival is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Honolulu Hale Civic Grounds, 650 S. King St.
What It Is
In its 18th year, the Korean Festival is presented by the Hawai‘i Korean Chamber of Commerce with the theme “Celebrating Together—Once Again.” After a two-year hiatus, the festival will take place at the Frank F. Fasi Civic Center Grounds. Expect delicious food, a kim chee eating contest, live performances, family fun and cool products for sale, both locally made and imported from South Korea. Organizers expect more than 25,000 attendees, with net proceeds going to the Korean Chamber of Commerce to help the local Korean and broader communities through trade and tourism missions, support of business-friendly legislation, student scholarships and more.
The festival has evolved over the years, with past events held at Kapi‘olani Park and Victoria Ward Park. “Our Korean Festival strives to unite first, second, third and all future generations in the celebration of their Korean heritage,” says event promoter Russell Luke. There’s something for all ages: traditional songs and dances, dressing up in traditional Korean hanbok for photos, games and coloring, and in the evening, K-pop songs and dancing.
Where to Park
Parking is free in the Honolulu Hale parking garage. There is also street parking available nearby.
How Much It Costs
Admission is free. Food, products and most on-site activities will require purchase of scrips. While prices were not finalized at the time of writing, organizers said food will range from $5 to $15 per dish, while water and soft drinks will be around $2, depending on the size of the can or bottle. You can purchase scrips with cash or credit card at designated booths around the venue.
What to Eat, Drink and Buy
Contestants will chow down on kim chee, spicy chicken ramen and jajangmyeon noodles in three separate eating contests. Come with an empty stomach if you plan to compete. As there will be only about 15 slots per contest, contestants will be chosen via raffle after signing up.
The soju and Korean drink tent is back this year by popular demand, serving Soonhari soju cocktail flavors and Chum Churum soju. Food and drink vendors will be serving Korean food all day, like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) from Hawai‘i Christian Church, Hokkaido ice cream in J-shaped cones from Hawaiian Honey Cones, spicy Korean sausage with pickled daikon and kim chee from Island Sausage, bulgogi tacos from Luna Events, and ube purple rice yogurt from Yomie’s.
Here’s the menu of food offerings:
- BBQ: BBQ Kalbi Beef Bowl with Rice and Cheesy Corn, BBQ Chicken Bowl with Rice and Cheesy Corn, Lemon Crunch Slices
- Hawai‘i Christian Church: Bulgogi, Kimbap, Sweet Honey Pancake, Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes), Kim Chee Pancake
- Hawaiian Honey Cones: Hokkaido Ice Cream in J-Shaped Cone
- Island Sausage: Spicy Korean Sausage with pickled daikon, kim chee and gochujang sauce; Kalbi Sausage with Taegu salad and garlic soy sauce
- Kukui Food/Soju Garden: Soonhari Soju Cocktail Flavors, Chum Churum Soju
- Luna Events: K-pop Popcorn, Bulgogi Tacos, Pork and Tofu Bao
- Rooftop Bakery: TBD
- Slice by HB Baking: Cutie Cup, Davie Doodles
- Voyage by Chef Amin: Andagi, Korean-Inspired Carnitas Tacos
- Yomie’s Rice X Yogurt Hawai‘i: Yomie’s Purple Rice Yogurt, Mango Purple Rice Yogurt, Ube Purple Rice Yogurt, Dragon Fruit Yogurt, Strawberry Guava Cheesecake Yogurt, Azuki Bean Oat Yogurt
What to Watch
Cheer for folks singing their hearts out in the Korean song talent contest at 4:30 p.m. There’s a K-Pop dance contest (new this year) at 6 p.m. Throughout the day, there will be song and dance performances by Chinchu Roche Janggo, Halla Huhm Studio, Hawai‘i Go Go Jango, Korean Farmers Music Association and Metro Christian Church Hālau. If you arrive early, you can catch the Royal Hawaiian Band’s opening ceremony performance. And, stick around for the special guest, virtual K-pop sensation Apoki, who will be performing at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s the tentative schedule:
3 p.m.—Kim chee eating contest
3:25 p.m.—Jajangmyeon eating contest
3:40 p.m.—Spicy chicken noodle eating contest
4 p.m.—Korean Farmers Music Association
4:30 p.m.—Korean song contest
5:25 p.m.—Kohine Singing Club
6 p.m.—K-Pop dance contest
7 p.m.—K Pop Dance—Switch
7:08 p.m.—K-Pop Dance—K-Era
7:15 p.m.—Aloha Dance Crew!
7:30 p.m.—Virtual K-Pop Star Apoki
Aloha Dance Crew!
K-Pop Dance Contest winner’s performance
Aloha Dance Crew!
Note: Times are subject to change.
- Arrive early—more than 25,000 attendees are expected at the daylong event. Beating the crowd = shorter food lines.
- Bring mats or lawn chairs if you plan to sit in the shade under the trees.
- Wear comfortable shoes for walking, and don’t forget hats and sunscreen.
- If you’re planning to enjoy the masitda (delicious) soju, be sure to have a ride or a designated driver in your party.
For more information, visit koreanfestivalhawaii.com.