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Okinawan Food and Festivities in Hawaii

An andagi is called an Okinawan doughnut but it really is edible performance art – the yummy result of hand-dropping perfectly round scoops of batter into hot oil. You can watch the show this weekend at the Okinawan Festival in Honolulu.

Andagi are sold year-round in Hawaii. The woman in this photo was set up outside a grocery store last week. Her fresh creations were sold three for $2.50. At the campus coffee shop, I see regularly a morning special of coffee and two andagi for $1.99. It was that special that first induced me to try them. The andagi were piled on a tray like a stack of croquet-balls.

The ingredients for an andagi are about the same as for a donut and they taste a little like a cake donut but less greasy. Maybe it’s because there is no hole in the middle. There is a very light crisp coating on the outside of the ball. Inside, it has the texture of a cupcake. They are sweet but not as much as a standard western doughnut; not sugary at all.

Andagi booths are one of the featured attractions for the annual Okinawan Festival this weekend. Festivities begin at 9 am on Saturday and Sunday at Kapiolani Park (easy walking distance from Waikiki). Most food booths and tents close at 6 pm but the andagi and soba (noodle) booths are open until 8 pm.

The festival attracts 50,000 visitors each year, according to organizers. It was begun 28 years ago as an effort to share the Okinawan culture with the public through demonstrations and exhibits. Many of the performances and exhibits are free and there are lots of activities for children.

The festival includes many Okinawan products and foods, such as soba, champuru (vegetables and deep-fried tofu), pig’s feet soup and an “anadog” – a whole hot dog on a stick that is dipped into andagi batter and deep fried. I might have to try that next!

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Sep 2, 2010