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Honolulu Portuguese Festa ’08

The Portuguese Festa (prounounced “FESH-tah”; a.ka. festival) took place today, Saturday, September 20, 2008 in the McCoy Pavillion at Ala Moana Beach Park from 9am to 5pm.

This was my first time attending this event (shame yeah?), yet I’m sure glad I made it this year! I found this experience very, very enlightening and interesting in tracing my roots.

As you might know, I’m half Portuguese, with my late and great father being pure Portuguese, while my mother is Hawaiian, German and English, in that order of quantity.

Being in the blood, it’s due time I be here.

The folks working at today’s event were friendly and just fantastic, with plenty of knowledge about our Portuguese culture. I really felt like I was around one big extended ohana and right at home.

If you missed it, don’t fret, I got you covered. Following is a pictorial walk-through of today’s festivities. Enjoy!…

Like the Greek Festival, there’s a $3 donation/entry fee at the door.

Ani’s Portuguese Sweet Breads and other baked specialties….

Hawaii Lieutenant Governor James “Duke” Aiona serves up Portuguese Bean Soup to the people…

Duke – a former first circuit court judge – is Portuguese, Chinese and Hawaiian. That’s a common ethnic mixture in Hawaii. In person, he’s a very friendly, down-to-earth guy.

I also got a picture with Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, who made a round at the event. The picture came out blurry though, as the person with her taking the photo didn’t hold the shutter on my camera to activate the auto focus. Oh well.

This is the Vinha D’ Alhos…

Looks and has the texture like Kalua Pig, but WAY different in flavor.

Portuguese style chicken with a roll, beans, pickled onion and pepper…

Cod Stew (the master batch cooking in a wok on a propane burner)…

A Portuguese Hot Dog, made with a jumbo hot dog-sized Portuguese Sausage and Portuguese Sweet Bread Bun…

One of the workers there raved about this, saying it was so ono. I just wasn’t in the mood for that kinda’ “heft” on this hot sunny day (ya’ know?), so didn’t try it.

I’m getting flashbacks from my “Great Portuguese Sausage Shootout” entry here (lol)…


Chow Chow…

Also for sale were these delicious boiled and salted Lupini beans, which are called Tremocas (c is pronounced as ‘s’) by the Portuguese. They’re similar in texture to boiled peanuts, except more “legume-like”, flavor-wise – like a cross between a kidney bean and a peanut…

Tremocas, a.k.a. Lupini beans

Portuguese cook books for sale ($10 each)…

I’m diggin’ this shirt!…

I’m guessing Vin D’ Alhos is what was served in this particular dishware…

My father had a massive Portuguese flag, which my sister now has it.

A traditional Portuguese table setting…

The dance group in traditional Portuguese dress…

Turns out that image-stabilized 12x optical zoom on my new Sony (gently used) DSC-H5 works out quite well! I was standing from the backside of the pond in the courtyard taking the photos. Nice.

The crowd enjoying the day…

Back to the displays and goods for sale…

As you might know, the Ukulele was introduced to Hawaii by the Portuguese. The beautiful instruments on display here today are from KoALOHA Ukulele Company.

The “Pineapple” Uke’…

Get a load of this one!…

That would be a great one to display at a Tiki Bar.

Highly detailed fretboard inlay…

I like their headstock design as well.

Gettin’ jiggy wit’ it…

The Portuguese (such as Magellan) were some of the greatest sailors in the world…

Portuguese men like sailing, while Portuguese women enjoy doll making…

Wow, Barbie and Ken ain’t got nothin’ on them! They’re kinda’ creepy-lookin’ though, huh? lol

A majority of the population in Portugal are Roman Catholic…


Hand-crafted dishware imported from Portugal…

The rooster is the symbol of Portugal, and it’s prevalent everywhere you look at the Portuguese Festa. I’ll explain the story behind it later and add into this entry…

The following items for sale at the Festa today are more Japanese, yet you might find them interesting to see…

That just about wraps things up. I really enjoyed it, and will be back for next year’s Festa for sure!

Final note, I’m really happy with the photos coming out of my new/used Sony DSC-H5. The flash metering is well-controlled, preventing over-exposure in just about all the shots I took using it. Also, I hardly need to post-process most of the photos, as the color accuracy and sharpness look spot-on straight off the memory card. Most of all, that 12x optical zoom and image stabilization has already proved to be a valued feature. Very nice!

Luxury condos tower over Ala Moana Beach Park: Hokua Tower (left), Nauru Tower (center – the half-round one) and Hawa Iki Tower (right)…

Ala Moana Beach…

13 thoughts on “Honolulu Portuguese Festa ’08

  • September 21, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Great photos. I was there but got there really late in the afternoon. I wish I could’ve been there earlier.

  • September 21, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    I think my cholesterol just spiked from looking at those photos. Time to take my meds.

  • September 22, 2008 at 3:29 am

    Your photos looked amazing! I felt as if I could just reach out and grab a malasada and a bowl of Portuguese bean soup!

    What is chow chow and how is it eaten?

  • September 23, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Hey, I remember you! cools. You got quite the collection of photos there good job

  • September 23, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Mark, looking back at your photo blog, I remember you as well. You and I stood together to get that photo of the folk dance group behind the stage. You got some great shots as well. Looks like you arrive earlier (or stayed later) than I did.

    Jenny, glad you enjoyed the photos.

    Chow-chow is a pickled condiment, used in a fashion similar to Mango chutney, served on the side with savory entree dishes such as roast meats, stews, sandwiches, etc.. Growing up, my mother always had chow-chow in our refrigerator, which she would use on a regular basis. Although it was being sold at the Portuguese Festa, it’s origins aren’t from Portugal. The Chow-chow being sold here were made by the same vendor who was selling the Pickled Onions. The ingredients on the label looks similar to the Chow-chow I remember my mother used to get, which includes: Pickles, Cauliflower, Cocktail Onions, Mustard & Vinegar.

    Robyn, that’s a good question. I have a friend who is Irish who also makes a KILLER pickled onion, so my guess is that pickled onions were prevalent all over Europe (and the world for sure), with every region having their own spin on it. You’ve probably heard of or had the Japanese version called Rakkyo (which are actually shallots).

    CP, yeah, it’s said that Portuguese cuisine leans on the side of rich, and that reflects even more so in the particular dishes that became popular in Hawaii that are featured at the festival. When I suggested to Non DeMello – the man cooking the malassadas – to make “Maladogs”, he laughed. Talk about taking meds!

    Hey Stephen, I checked out your ‘PhotoLulu’ blog. You got some really great shots as well! I’m curious how Frank’s comedy routine went. Was it funny?

  • September 23, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    The beans are lupini – and chow chow on the islands?! I always thought that chow chow was Pennsylvania Dutch… the type made around here loads every vegetable you can think of into it! Did you have any of the bacalao stew?

  • September 26, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Yup the beans are lupini, but the portuguese call them Tremocos ( the ‘c’ is pronounced like an ‘s’)

  • October 22, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Eh, Pomai, I’m glad I finally stopped to read all that I’ve missed on your blog lately and caught the FESTA! As a poi-dog who is Podagee too (me and Duke got it all in common there) it’s nice to see this. I really hope to catch the Festa one of these years. I hope you are well. See you later roundz HT. Malama pono!

  • April 19, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I find your website, because i want to know more about honolulu.

    I´m portuguese, i´m pediatrician, and perhaps i have a congress there in octuber 2009. I´ve seen some years ago a film about portuguese, special from madeira that colonize honolulu.

    Its very nice to see that so far from portugal, portugal is so alive. You are very patriotic. We should need that fire in our hearts, is this time of crise-economic and of valores.

    if i go there i would like to localized a lady named Genevieve Medeiros (mother was from madeira, and ther father from philipins), or ther sons. My father had been in her house in honolulu in 1960, when he was in portuguese navy. We have photod of that time. Her children werw very younguer…my father talk me a lot of that family… i have 45 years old, so i supose that they are a bit older…And i don´t kmow if Mrs Genevieve is stil alive.

    If any one can help me on fiding yhis family, i´ll be very gratefull.

    email: cmd.cid@netcabo.pt

  • October 5, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    aloha everyone:)

    I’m portuguese like al of you, but i’m here in Waikiki just for a couple of months studying. I’m impressed how big our comunity is. Everytime i say i’m portuguese there is always someone that says he’s too!! Even if none of them speak portuguese:)
    But i do.. sooo if anyone would like to know something about our country in particular.. i will be here till december:)
    I’m really sad that i meissed the wonderful fet they did.. Does someone knows if will it be another one soon??
    Força Portugal…:)

  • March 9, 2012 at 9:42 am

    when is the next festa(s) in honolulu for the year 2012 ?


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