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2014 Hawaii Hispanic Heritage Festival

The beautiful young ladies of  Ballet Folkloric Costa de Oro from San Francisco. Photo by Pomai

The 2014 Annual Hawaii Hispanic Heritage Festival was held on Saturday, October 11, 2014, from 10am to 6pm at Kapiolani Park, Waikiki.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, this free community-wide event featured Latin food booths, crafters, cultural exhibits, a keiki section, community/ health agencies and lots of entertainment. It regularly attracts up to 10,000+ people according to event officials.

Featured entertainment included the following:

“Ballet Folkloric Costa de Oro”, Eddie Ortiz & Son Caribe Salsa Band, Rodney Perez & TropiJazz, Mariachi Loco, Ballet Del Club Cultural y Deportivo Bolivia, Sophia and Ivan Danzas Colombianas En Hawaii, Grupo Café Colombia Dancers, Yuki Komiyama Salsa Dance Teams (Fuego y Agua) and Soul Brazil Band, Zumba with Carolina Enriquez. Plus:
DJ Ever & DJ Jose, Jose Colina Aiza & Cuban Rueda/Salsa Dancers.
Photos courtesy of HispanicEventsHawaii.com

Following are photos I took of the event, which I was there from about 1:30 to3:30pm. Enjoy.

Puerto Rican wooden mortar & pestle called a “Pilon”, pronounced P-lon (it’s quite large)

Colombian Dancer

Colombian Dancer

The beautiful young ladies of Ballet Folkloric Costa de Oro from San Francisco.

Beautiful young lady of Ballet Folkloric Costa de Oro from San Francisco.

Flautas and Steak & Chicken Tacos

Flautas and Steak, Pork Carnitas and Chorizo Tacos

Specialty Hot, hot HOT! Sauces

Habanero and Ghost Pepper Hot Sauces…. someone call the fire department!

Soul De Cuba Lechon Asado and Black Beans Plate

A Puerto Rican Barbie Doll!


Carne Frite

Mammah’s Kitchen Pastele plate

Mammah’s Kitchen Empandas

Cuban Relleno De Papas

Hola Gato Rebote Tienda and Senor Elmo

A big crowd enjoying the entertainment at Kapiolani Bandstand

Salsa dancing lessons with audience volunteers

And how was it? As mentioned earlier, I arrived around 1:30pm and spent about 2 hours there. It was pretty crowded. I’d say about 75% of what it normally looks like at the Okinawan Festival, by far Hawaii’s largest culture festival. I think they could do a better job with the culture booth, such as dressing up mannequins in cultural attire from each Hispanic country represented at the festival. Otherwise you won’t get to see that unless you spend the entire day there to catch the performers in their outfits.

That said, the only performance I was able to catch in its entirety were the beautiful young ladies of Ballet Folkloric Costa de Oro from San Francisco (I added the first part of that name). They were fantastic, and so adorable! In fact, I have a video I captured of them, however it’s shot from a distance, so you can’t see that good. I really should have gone up on the steps in front the stage like the other photographers were doing. This also reminds me why I still need a DSLR as part of my food blogging tool kit.

The Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican food vendors had a decent variety to offer, including some unusual ethnic dishes, which is what I expect to find a good culture festival.

One unusual dish there I tried for the first time from Papa’s 2U called the Rellenos de Papa….

Papa’s 2U Rellenos de Papa. $5 each

These are basically mashed potatoes formed in a ball that’s stuffed with seasoned ground beef and then deep fried until lightly golden brown.  They also had a vegetarian version that’s stuffed with seasoned spinach and cheese. I had asked for the vegetarian Spinach Rellenos de Papa, however I mistakenly was given the seasoned beef version instead….

I didn’t feel like walking back to exchange it for the vegetarian version and settled with it. So how thisRellenos de Papa? Excellent! The ground beef’s seasoning had your typical Spanish flavor elements, while not being spicy hot at all. What really set it apart was the deep-fried lightly golden browned mash potato “masa”, which was su sabor es realmente bueno!  I’d like to try experimenting with this concept at home, stuffing it with things like sauteed mushooms and bell peppers. Stuffs like that. The only thing I didn’t get was the plain shredded green ‘n red cabbage and sliced radish it sat on, that had no sauce or dressing for it, yet it was enough that I didn’t want to waste it. So I ate it all up, plain as it was. Maybe I should have walked back to check if they forgot the dressing for it.

I also tried the Pasteles Plate…

Closer look at the Pastele…

Like Hawaiian Lau Lau, Puerto Rican Pasteles won’t win any food award for presentation, however its TASTE sure will! And Mammah’s Kitchen Pasteles was ROCKIN’ IT! This Pastele was money! Pretty much as good as “Hawaiian style” Pasteles gets.

And I’m glad it was, as it was the only thing justifying the $10 plate price, as the Gandules Rice and Bacalau Salad it was served with was pretty lame. The salted cod was bland, as was the “dressing” it was lightly covered with. The gandules rice was too dry. The flavor was good (not great), but most of all, it needed way more moisture. It also could have used some cubed pork in it for added flavor, which is how I make my Gandules Rice. I also use the Goya Sazon seasoning as well, which does the job quite well and so easy.

In retrospect, I wish I had tried the Flautas. I’ll look-up Serg’s and try it at their restaurant.

Wrapping it up, this was my first time at the Hawaii Hispanic Festival, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The entertainment featuring such diverse representation of the various Hispanic countries, along with the equally diverse ethnic food and fun crowd made it a great event.  Improve upon the cultural tent, and perhaps add a Hispanic “Country Market” selling related goods and this event would be outstanding!


7 thoughts on “2014 Hawaii Hispanic Heritage Festival

  • October 23, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Pomai, I do not know much or at all of Hispanic culture.  At festival should there be some

    Cuban Sandwiches or is that different culture?  I only know some Spanishs do not like

    to be mistaking as Latinos and known as Spanishs  Hey I am a island boy and would

    like to learn more.

    • October 24, 2014 at 7:51 am


      Cuba is most certainly a part of what the United States designates as “Hispanic”, and you’re right! While there wasn’t any I’ve seen, they really should have had Cuban Sandwiches there! Hello?!

      Now it’s interesting that you mention Spanish people from Spain not liking to be called “Latino”, or “Hispanic”. From what I’ve read online, the term “Hispanic” isn’t even used in modern Europe, but is an American term identifying people of countries that were once colonized by SPAIN. They even consider the people of Spain “Hispanic”, which I think is wrong. Most “Hispanic” countries are geographically South American, spanning all the way to Peurto Rico, east of Florida where the Spanish Empire dominated. All except for Brazil, which was ruled by Portugal. Which for rightful reasons, has Brazil being the only South American country that doesn’t fall under the general “Hispanic” umbrella. Nor do I believe Brazilians themselves consider themselves “Hispanic”. Basically, if you’re from Latin American (South) and speak Spanish, you would consider yourself “Hispanic”.

      Then there’s some who mistakenly think Portuguese are “Hispanic”, with the only possible grounds fro that being they share geographical border, however that is completely false! Portugal was never ever colonized by Spain, nor do they have hardly if any influence on their language and culture by the Spaniards. Portugal is way older than Spain, for crying out loud!  Incredibly, the U.S. census bureau is considering adding those of Portuguese ancestry to the list of Hispanic countries on the list by 2020. WTF? Needless to say, there’s a huge outcry by the Portuguese-Americans on this, with a lobby group already formed to protest it. And being half-Portuguese myself, I stand by them on that! At its most basic core, Portuguese people do not speak Spanish! Hello!

      Here’s an excellent explanation I found on a Yahoo! Answers discussion board on the subject:

      The original question was:

      Are Portuguese people considered Hispanic?

      Answer by Heterónimo:

      “There are a lot of confused people around here…

      First, there are several meanings to the term “hispanic”, but the one you’re using is the american one, that is, Hispanic is someone whose family is from one of the spanish speaking countries of Central and South America. That’s it.

      No one in Europe uses the term “hispanic”, not even in Spain.

      As for the Portuguese, for some mysterious reason many Americans seem to think they have some relation to the spanish or to Spain. It’s simply not true.

      Portugal is the oldest country in Europe and one of the oldest in the world.
      It was created in 1143, in a time when what was to become “Spain” was 6 different kingdoms all rivals to one another not even dreaming they would become one nation. Spain gained its current shape and size in 1492, so do the math, Portugal is OLDER than Spain almost 450 years.

      One other thing, Portugal did not “come from Brazil”, that’s like saying England came from the USA, Brazil is a former portuguese colony, like many other around the world, the african nations of Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, St. Tome and Principe, Angola and Mozambique. The indian cities of Damao, Diu and Goa. The chinese city of Macau. And the island of Timor near Indonesia, once part of the first global empire of the world, the portuguese empire, far wider and more important than the spanish one, it reached from Lisbon to Brazil to Africa to India to China and to Japan, where the portuguese were the first europeans ever to arrive in 1543, founding the city of Nagasaki and introducing the firearm to the japanese. To this day there are 250 words in the japanese language that comes from the portuguese, including “arigato” deriving from the portuguese word for “thank you”, “Obrigado”…

      So please, do not use the term hispanic, your family is PORTUGUESE, therefore european. For another mysterious reason many americans seem to think the spanish or portuguese can be named “latinos” like they were some kind of separate race from the other europeans. They are not, Europe is a multicultural entity, there are europeans blond with blue eyes and dark skinned with brown eyes, they’re all european, only ones are northern european and others southern european”

      • October 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm

        Being an old Latin student, Hispanic derives from the word for the old province of Rome called Hispaniola, which included Spain and Portual, as we now call these countries. The region is the Iberian Peninsula, again Roman nomenclature. So I am not sure where the Hispanic nomenclature for Spanish colonies derived.

        • October 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm


          It’s said that according to the Roman Empire rule in defining the Iberian peninsula, the grand region of Spain was referred to as “Hispania“, while where Portugal is located, being bordering within, was interestingly separated in identity, being known as “Lusitania“.

          The “Hispanic” nomenclature is an American geopolitical identification for immigrants of the Unites States of their country of origin in its most broadest sense, under the broadest definition possible: those countries (mostly South American) that were colonized, ruled and influenced by SPAIN. In my opinion, it really shouldn’t be any more complicated than that: If you’re from any country other than the “motherland” that’s been colonized by Spain, and you speak the part, plus live and celebrate your Spanish heritage, you are HISPANIC.

  • October 24, 2014 at 8:16 am

    I love flautas.  They’re like a less deadly chimichanga!

  • October 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    It so interesting for many people in Hawaii do not really know much of Latino and

    Hispanic culture. I still never had a Cuban Sandwich but saw on web and look so good.

    Food Network is pushing it in their shows too.   In San Francisco there a few places

    that serve it also.

  • October 24, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    That chicken stew and the tacos look really good. I happened to be on Oahu and wanted to go. Just to honor trace Spanish blood. But the festival was only one day, and schedule did not allow. I did make it to the ukulele festival with my daughter though.


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