The slogan “Au’rice” boomed at last week Saturday’s inaugural Kauai Rice Festival and Spam Jamboree, where both residents and visitors were treated to a day of fun activities, and of course, ono grinds.
The daylong event, hosted by the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, featured a Spam musubi contest — billed as the island’s longest — and a fried rice competition with celebrity chef Sam Choy, who flew in from the Big Island to be a guest judge.
“This is a perfect match to be on Kauai,” said Choy, who noted that the event was on Rice Street and in the Rice Shopping Center in Lihue. “It’s so great to be a part of this and see the kind of talent we have here.”
A number of local food vendors, including Paco’s Tacos, Kauai Kookie, Salty Wahine, The Right Slice, and Monkeypod Jam, Aunty Lilikoi, Hoopulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill, were also on hand to sell their homemade products.
By the end of the day, Rodney Haraguchi of the Hoopulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill, said all of their homemade kulolo, made from mashed taro corms and grated coconut meat or milk, had sold out.
Cub scouts from Pack 148 at Lihue Christian Church were also on hand to sell their $2 handmade spam musubis to benefit the Kauai Independent Food Bank.
The 503 musubis sold that day, a scout leader said, required 90 cups of rice and 80 cans of Spam — donated from the Regency and Puakea and Garden Island Rehab and Health Care Center — and five hours of labor.
In addition to the donations made by the scouts, festival organizers were also on hand to collect donations of canned Spam and other luncheon for the Kauai Independent Food Bank.
In all, festival organizers said attendees donated 95 cans by the end of the day.