As part of this year’s events in celebration of Chamorro and Carolinian Cultural Heritage Month in September, the Carolinian Affairs Office held an “Island Cuisine Night” at the Carolinian Utt in Garapan last Friday to highlight the CNMI’s culture through local delicacies.
Around 30-40 spectators were treated to live demonstrations of how to prepare buñelos, island-style sukiyaki, katdun pika, rice with coconut milk, and a live demonstration of how to harvest and make tuba, or juice from the bud of a coconut tree. After each demonstration and throughout the event, everyone present was treated to a spread of local dishes free of charge.
Carolinian Affairs Office executive assistant John Tagabuel said he was very pleased with the event’s turnout, and thanked the Refaluwasch Advisory Council, the Office of the Governor, and the Marianas Visitors Authority for making the “Island Cuisine Night” possible.
Tagabuel added that MVA made a monetary donation to the CAO for the event “to make sure that we start something” ahead of the world returning to normalcy. In the future, Tagabuel expressed interest in holding more CAO-hosted events, and a larger-scale “Island Cuisine Night” once tourists begin again to visit the CNMI. Recently, MVA’s board unanimously voted to adopt Cultural Heritage Month as an MVA signature event in hopes of promoting cultural tourism in the long-term.
Tagabuel hopes this recognition would entice tourists and the community to get involved with local culture and events hosted by the CAO and the Indigenous Affairs Office. Tagabuel also alluded to a “grand finale” event to cap this year’s celebration of Cultural Heritage Month, with more details coming soon.
“We’re trying to collaborate [with MVA] to make it a signature event and make it bigger. [We have an event] slated for Oct. 2, and we hope that more people can come out, especially our local people, to come and see what we still have, what we still try to preserve, and perpetuate our food, language, dances, music, and our art,” said Tagabuel.