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I Love Poke Festival

I Love Poke Festival

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IMG_9367Do you ever wonder if you were forced to eat one food for the rest of your life what it would be? For me, the answer would be sashimi or poke. You can imagine then how excited I was to be invited to attend the annual I Love Poke Festival at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California. IMG_9294The event was completely sold out. No tickets were available at the door. The I Love Poke Festival has become a tradition in Southern California. Chefs from all over compete in a poke contest to find out who makes the best poke. They're judged by a panel of judges for the coveted title. Aside from poke, the event had lots of other food and entertainment to celebrate Hawaiian food and culture. I got to try all the different poke stands while chowing down on other types of Hawaiian food and listening to some awesome live music! It was a good day. Can you tell?IMG_9265Chef Alvanette Pacheco of Specialty Produce made a Watermelon "Poke" with coconut cream, sweet & spicy Szechuan candied walnuts, smoked serrano sea salt, and arugula. Sneaky, sneaky! Poke is the Hawaiian verb for "section" so even though we think of poke as ahi tuna,  watermelon can be definitely be "poke" too!

IMG_9302This was a poke with sriracha sauce. IMG_9297Poke with Taro Chips by Chef James Harris. IMG_9300 Spicy Teriyaki Poke. These were the tasting portions. The portions they displayed for the judges was much more drool worthy!IMG_9361How gorgeous! Very drool worthy!IMG_9357I wish I was at the judge's table! *Ahem. Next year folks?IMG_9399The texture of the taro chips really made it unique. The juxtaposition of textures made this particular poke stand out. IMG_9355Spicy Aioli Poke Musubi. IMG_9362 Jay at the judging panel. You can follow him hereIMG_9347There was also some Poke and Musubi Apparel. IMG_9331Being that we were right next to the beach, the weather was extremely cold so I skipped the shaved ice line and went for the cinnamon sugar malasada with strawberry filling from Dough Dough's Hawaiian Cafe. It was a good dessert to nibble on while watching the hula dancing and live entertainment going on. IMG_9308Hawaiian Springs Water was there to quench our thirst.IMG_9303After taste-testing so much poke, I was so happy there were egg rolls as well!IMG_9319There were also tasty Hawaiian Bread Sliders!IMG_9349And spicy chicken drumsticks!

Here's a quick video I made from the I Love Poke Festival below.

The I Love Poke Festival was a lot of fun. Congrats to my friend Fiona Leung who put on such a great event and thank you for having me!

My Dim Sum Guide is on LA Weekly

My Dim Sum Guide is on LA Weekly

Night Owl Cafe

Night Owl Cafe