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Korean Festival 2012

Summer’s the season in Honolulu for cultural festivals, providing the wonderful opportunity to virtually visit another part of the world and its people right in our own back yard. From the largest of all being the Okinawan Festival, to the Greek Festival, and my “peeps”, the Portuguese Festa soon to come, this past weekend we once again visit the annual Korean Festival, held Saturday, July 14, 2012 at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii. And I must say, I’ve been to most of the Okinawan Festivals in the past recent years, and it looks like the Korean Festival is catching up with them in attendance. The “K-joint” this year was PACKED!

Without further ado, let’s check it out, with over 300 photos I took to share with you in the following gallery. Note, both of the following links are the same gallery in your viewing choice of either Flash (automated 5-second interval slideshow) or HTML format (thumbnail-linked high resolution jpegs). Enjoy!…

Click on either image above or here for Flash Gallery or here for HTML gallery. 

Of all the interesting items on display in the Korean Cultural Tent, the ones I found most intriguing were first of all, this traditional soup pot…

Not sure if you can figure it out, but that “puka” (hole) in the center is where hot coals go to both cook and keep the soup warm, which I think is absolutely GENIUS! I know Koreans also use sizzlin’ hot stone pots for soups like Soondubu Jjigae and Dolsot Bi Bim Bap, but I’ve never seen soup served in a Korean restaurant in one of these before! I’m gonna’ have to get check Palama Market and see if they have a modern version of this, as I so want one! Neat-ohz! lol

Being the “gadget guy” that I am, the other item that caught my eye immediately was this here Korean Sundial…

The volunteer I asked about this didn’t have much more information on it, so I hit my Android to looked it up, and sure enough, that’s exactly what it is, co-created by Jan Yeong-Sil, a prominent Korean scientist and astronomer. Read more about him and this here Angbu Ilgu (앙부일구) (仰釜日晷)  on Wikipedia here.

Another point of interest that grabbed my attention were the “Five Phases of the Korean War” historical records they had up on display right outside the Cultural Tent. Here they are for you to read in full clarity* (click image for full-size legible view, or download the PDFs that follow):

Korean War PDF* downloads:
Phase 1 | Phase 2 | Phase 3 | Phase 4 | Phase 5

*Files courtesy of the U.S. Army Center of Military History

As for Korean grindz, to tell you the truth, I had walked all the way from Kahala Beach to Kapiolani Park (purposely; which isn’t that far, but far enough), so by the time I got there, I wasn’t hungry at all and didn’t eat much, as I usually aren’t right after I exercise. I did however get tempted to try a Korean Pancake, except not the savory type called Pajeon with green onions and seafood in it, but the sweet variety called Hoddeok. Check it out…

These Hoddeok were selling two for $3 (3 scrips).

Hoddeok (Korean Sweet Pancakes)

Let’s try it…

So how is it? Not bad! Not great, but not bad. Pretty good actually. Very glutenous and densely doughy, not being that airy. Both flavor and texture-wise, it’s kinda’ like Pizza dough, but not as toasty nor firm to the bite as that. The outside has a greasy crispy-thin outter crusted layer going on, while inside all that doughy-thick mass, the brown sugar and cinnamon are caramelized into a syrupy candied goodness, while you also get a little crunch from the finely chopped nuts mixed in it. The thing is, I don’t think it tastes Korean at all, but very American. Throw some Kim Chee in there and maybe we’ll talk! lol

Summing it up, I give Haddeok in this take 2 SPAM Musubi. Definitely worth trying, with lots of potential.

I also took video of the grand finale of the moment, where all the performers from various groups joined together on stage for a “drum dance”. Check it out…

Well, that’s The Tasty Island’s coverage of this year’s Korean Festival. The event is getting better and better every year! For more information about Hawaii’s Korean Festival, please visit their website here.


4 thoughts on “Korean Festival 2012

  • July 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Looks like an interesting time! Their dress is so colorful. I’m going to have to go back and read those war history pages when I have the time.

    I thought that one photo was tortilla soup at first, at least until I saw the little mochi things floating in it.

    • July 20, 2012 at 5:15 am

      Spotty, the “little mochi things floating in it” are actually Aburaage, which are fried bean curd (tofu).

      Which now that I think about it, I don’t recall someone “Mexifying” Tofu, where there’s definitely possibilities!

  • July 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Ah walking from Kahala where I used to live to Kapiolani Park is a long enough walk for us normal folks. 8) And after a walk like that even if I was hungry eating Korean food wouldn’t be my first choice in the summer especially if I had to walk home again. LOL.

    Thanks for the interesting pictures! The sundial information was very interesting. This has been a question I’ve had for a very long time and I think you can answer it. “Why do Koreans use metallic chop sticks and rice bowls?” Despite being to Korea a few times I could never get a definitive answer on this.

    I’ve had Hotteok before in Japan and in Korea. I too didn’t care for the sweet ones either. Being that it is a street food / yatai food it was too greasy for me to be a sweet desert. However your idea with kimchee is spot on. I think having kalbi, kimchee with a little gochujang in the middle would be really good. Maybe you can make your own. I found this recent video of a food blogger based in Honolulu who also write for the Star Advertiser that shows you how to make Hotteok in her YouTube video. Search for “lalalinzy.” Let us know if you make it.

    • July 20, 2012 at 6:01 am

      Milo, Well, you know I once did a piece called “Let’s Talk Chopsticks”…


      Where in that post, I noted all this, where most of the historical references I found online…

      “This Korean Chopsticks measures 8″ length x 1/8″width x 1/16″ thick at the tip x 1/4″ width x 1/16″ thick at the handle end. The spoon measures 8-5/16″ length x 1-5/8″ width at the spoon end x 3/8″ width x 1/16″ thick at the handle end.

      Notice the ornately-decorated, matching handles and satin-matte finish in that area for better hand grip. On the back of the spoon it says 18-10, which must be indicating it’s made of 18/10 (18% chromium/10% nickel) stainless steel.

      Also notice I placed the chopsticks to the RIGHT of the spoon in accordance to Korean tradition; putting them to the left of the spoon is forbidden.

      There’s a few reasons I found on why Korean chopsticks are made of stainless steel. The most practical one being that the South Korean government prohibits the sale and consumption of disposable products, including chopsticks. So stainless steel was chosen as the most durable reusable (easy to wash and care) material to make this utensil out of, just as western forks, spoons and knives are made of.

      Another reason mentioned is that after World War II, Korea had a shortage of wood resources and a surplus of scrap metal.

      The most radical reason I’ve read is that they were distributed to the masses during World War II to serve dual purpose as throw dart weapons in case enemy forces invaded their country. Which is credible, as if you feel it in your hand, the front point end is heavier than the back handle end, making it ideal for throwing with the point spearheading into its target. Filing the blunt tip into a sharp point would be easy to do as well.”

      Which of course, EVERYTHING you read online is fact. LOL! But seriously, that sounds on point.

      As for getting a definitive answer on that, I’ve asked several Korean folks (mainly those working in restaurants who live here in Honolulu) what their take on Metallic Chopsticks are, all of which didn’t have any definitive answer on rules. It was kinda’ like “anything goes”. Then again they’re obviously not as connected to it as those who live in Korea.

      My question is, what are the dining etiquette and overall food differences between North and South Korea (leave all Kim Jong *** jokes aside please)? I guarantee you take the solders on both sides of the DMZ and sit them around a grill loaded with Kalbi, Dongtaejoeng, and choke banchan, and they’d all be singing “Kumbaya” in their BVDs together. LOL!

      As for the Hatteok with Kalbi, Kimchee and gochujang, I’m skeptical that would work, as the dough is too glutenous. But hey, ya’ never know until you try it!


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