Seo Ji-Seok and Hawaii’s Korean Festival 2012 was hot, yet so cool. (Part 1)

hawaii korean festival 2012

Hawaii’s Korean Festival 2012

Hawaii’s 11th Annual Korean Festival was hot yet so coooool.

Aside from the Hawaiian heat making its way into summer, there were a lot of really good performances and events on the festival grounds.

I know all you Seo Ji-Seok fans wanna know if the man arrived.

Yes… he did. But I’m going to save that for Part II of this post (which comes out two days, but if you can’t wait, go here)! But I promise, the wait will be worth it!


On the Korean Festival 2012 grounds …

There were company sponsored tents -some Korean , some not–  and most set up games where you could win prizes. Korean media companies also attended, like KBFD, KORL 107.5 FM, Radio Korea.

kbfd hawaii

Keeaumoku Supermarket sold Korean snacks and drink, under a tented ‘store’ which also sold skin care, pop rice cakes, etc… The Korean Artists Association of Hawaii had a craft tent, which let you sit down and create your paper lotus, do face painting or ink rubbings. This reminded me of how festivals in Korea (click here), always have an art booth, where kids (mostly) can participate and create art, related to the festival theme.

korean artists association of hawaii   lotus Paper lotus


Why was I there on a Saturday?

Although I was meaning to go on my own, my family and I volunteered with the Hanguk Drama Friends Club (of which my mother and sister are now official members) to work some of the scripts booths!

m & l

my family of volunteers


What made the Korean Festival worth your Saturday?

Down to the nitty gritty…

From Taekwondo exhibitions, Korean dance and drumming groups, Samul Nori music, flash mobs and eating contests… throughout the day, there were ongoing cultural events and performances, which gave you more than one reason to love Korea.

korean festival

korean festival   teakwondo teakwondo  hanbok hawaiiTraditional dance group (ladies in traditional hanbok) hanbok queens Hanbok Beauties.

Here’s one of the dance groups I got to see and marvel at. They were really quite incredible and I wish I got their name!


What is Flash mobbing?

It’s a form of expression that’s been popping up around the world. People converge at a place to perform a curious act for a short period of time and then dispers. Examples can be a ‘silent disco’ or a catchy dance performed in train stations, in the middle of city squares, etc.. and Korea is one of the countries, which seems to have recognized it and taken a liking to it.

K-pop in Paradise Hawaii brought their own flash mob act  to the festival to show their Korean inspiration… K-pop.

flashmobb hawaii

flashmob hawaii

[Short video] Flashmob at the Hawaii’s 11th Annual Korean Festival


Making a mess at the Choco Pie Eating Contest

What are Choco Pies?

They’re like graham cracker sandwich with a layer of melted marshmellow in the middle and dipped in chocolate.  And Korea loves them!

choco pies

Choco pies

Don’t ask me why because I personally think they taste like cardboard, but my Korean students thought they were great rewards when I bought them for camp prizes.

So it was more than fitting for the festival to have a Choco Pie eating contest for children and adults. Prize? For the kids it was some type of Nintendo-like game and for the adults it was an iPad. Oooh and Aaaah. Korea does know how to seduce people to stuff their faces with large quantities of choco pies!

choco pie kids

choco pie kids

Choco Pie Eating contest in Hawaii

Choco Pie Eating contest in Hawaii


Oh the Heat and the Spice: Kimchi Eating Contest

There was one event I really wanted to see….

Kimchi Eating eating contest korea

Kimchi Eating contest   kimchi eating

The Hawaii heat was starting to get to me. Soo hot! I don’t know how some people could bear it and yet ladies and gents lined up to take place in the Kimchi Eating Contest.

Now for the food…

Was there Korean food at a Korean festival? … uhhhh, sorta?

The festival food was lukewarm on the Korean theme, yet it still drew unsuspecting crowds.

Food lines were long, selling festival foods with some Korean dishes sprinkled in. Keeaumoku Supermarket had 3 tents to ignite a Korean flavor. On the whole however, restaurant most tents stayed fairly safe, catering more to the standard Hawaii carnival palette vs. standard Korean festival dishes.

korean fest

Korean festival food hawaii


Are we  being Japan, Korean… or just Hawaii?

Japan and Korea share similarities in culture. Unfortunately, they have a tense history and Korea resents Japan for it. Thus, Korea is proudly Korean.

So I wonder if small ticks unhinge… like being at your own festival and having to order dishes with a Japanese name.

Waiola Shave Ice  served up an awesome frosty dish with red beans, which slightly resembled Korea’s patbingsu (minus the fruits)It was titled something like …”Azuki bean shave ice “. In a way, it’s titled this to be more recognizable to locals; Hawaii adopted azuki as their term for red bean, mostly because Hawaii used to be predominantly Japanese at one time.

Azuki, however, is Japanese.

Pat is the Korean word for red bean.

The only reason I know this is that I lived in Korea and my three favorite ‘universally-Asian’ (or so I thought) foods, like azuki and tofu, got me blank stares.  Ignorant, I didn’t think Koreans had their own word for these things!

They do–  Pat and Dubu.

The other word that screwed me in Korea was..

“Mochi”= Korean  (Duk)

“Mochi” (Japanese) = “Duk” (Korean)


.Next up… Feeding Hawaii’s Korean drama addiction: Hawaii’s Korean Festival 2012 and Seo Ji-Seok.

Shipping to the U.S. and Canada on the North America site.