I was so lucky to have had The Best of Hawaii’s Best Kitchens food festival happen to fall during the time of my visit to the Waikiki Area! With the combined benefit of a Groupon, by which I was able to get VIP access for $20 off, I was able to enjoy early admission, get a free souvenir photo and a fun goody bag in addition to the delicious food options.
The event was held in the Hyatt Regency, which had a beautiful spot for the event reserved on the rooftop. I arrived about five minutes before the official start of the festival, and with the number of other people with the VIP early admission alone, it’s mandatory to have the VIP admission in order to get a seat. People who came later with general admission ended up standing around juggling their plates and drinks, which didn’t look like fun at all.
Besides the fact that many more people attended the event than I expected, it was fantastic! There was live music and several cash bars available around all of the tables of food for sampling. I was able to try a lot of different dishes from Hawaii’s top restaurants that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to enjoy during the short time I was visiting. Some of my favorites included the Char Siu Tacos and the Braised Short Rib, though I didn’t have anything here that I didn’t like:
This event was also a great chance to meet people. I ended up sharing a table with another solo participant who was a tourist like myself, and also a Hawaiian couple, who were a great source of info for the best places around the island to see and eat. The only negative I’d have is that no drinks were included in the ticket price, but then we got a goody bag afterward full of tiny bottles of whiskey. I can appreciate the fact that the VIP bag was a nice way to advertise for some local places, but I’d much rather have had two drink tickets to use during the event than the VIP bag if that had been an option.
It looks like this food festival falls around my birthday every year, so maybe I’ll see you again next year, Hawaii’s Best Kitchens!