KAPAA — Yes, Taste of Hawaii is about food, drink and music.
It’s also a cultural experience.
Kim Brun, sous-chef at Lava Lava, will be at Taste of Hawaii looking to provide participants something different than what they might be used to.
“We’re going to do different styles of cooking this year and incorporate different techniques and culture. Some Hawaiian-infused, some oriental fusion and Asian flavor to give people something different that they can get here instead of traveling to different islands and places,” Brun said. “My whole thing is to get people to experience culture by tasting food and everything that we can give them.”
Taste of Hawaii is scheduled 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Smith’s Tropical Paradise and is run and operated by the RotaryClub of Kapaa and volunteers. It is the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
Lava Lava will be just one of 34 different food vendors, each providing traditional, local and unique dishes. Brun said Lava Lava and the other vendors feature locally grown products.
“We want to show people on Kauai what we’re all about,” she said. “A lot of people came to us at Taste of Hawaii last year for something different and our business definitely started picking up after that.”
Chef Lee Hayden of Olympic Cafe in Kapaa sees Taste of Hawaii as a showcase of some of Kauai’s finest chefs, as well as some chefs who come from other islands.
“We participate every year. It’s a lot of fun and it’s great to see the other chefs from other islands and this island to get together,” Hayden said. “It’s a good fundraiser for the rotary club, they do a lot of great things.”
Taste of Hawaii tickets are $100 and will rise to $125 at the gate. Admission grants unlimited beer, wine and endless varieties of food.
“There’s a good mix of everything. All of the chefs bring their A game,” Hayden said. “The theme is like a Sunday brunch, but a lot of chefs will bring dishes that represent them and their restaurants. Signature dishes, signature cocktails and drinks, things like that.”
Among the dozens of signature dishes available will be Hayden’s ahi Furikake on white rice with whipped wasabi cream. Olympic Cafe will also feature cocktails, but with a twist.
“We’ll be doing Bloody Mary’s and Kauai 5-0 cocktails, but we’ll be doing them as popsicles this year.”
At Lava Lava’s booth, torched ahi on Asian salad with chili oil, ponzu sauce and wok-fried Asian noodles with lup cheong is on the menu.
As for the rest of Taste of Hawaii’s vendors, dishes and drinks, here’s a glance of some of the vendors who will be serving drinks and food:
• Anheuser Busch: Shock Top Belgian White Wolf Pup, Session IPA by Golden Road Brewery, Goose Island IPA by Goose Island Brewery, Space Dust IPA by Elysian Brewery, Apocalypse by 10 Barrel, Spiked Seltzer, Indian River Grapefruit & Spiked Seltzer West Indian Lime.
• Hawaii Nui & Mehana Brewing Company: Sampling of each of their nine beers.
• Kauai Juice Company: Minta colada juice, watermelon juice, kombucha on tap.
• Maui Brewing Company: Hefeweizen and Pueo Pale Ale.
• Nani Moon Mead: Nani Moon Meads, Deviant Margarita cocktail on tap.
• Cafe Pesto: Candy apple banana and Kaunamano Farm pastele.
• Lanai at Living Foods Market to the Garden: Loco moco; coconut porter braised wagyu short rib, truffled risotto, fried mini egg.
• Tahiti Nui: Poisson Cru.
• The Bistro: Fried chicken with “local style” slaw.
• The Green Pig: Braised pork belly.
• Tiki Tacos: Dakine street tacos (chicken or pork).
Tickets for the “Ultimate Sunday Brunch” can be purchased at www.tasteofhawaii.com. For more information, call 346-7095. Parking is available at Vidinha Stadium where attendees can board air- conditioned shuttles to Smith’s Tropical Paradise, provided by Roberts Hawaii.