Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Chris Concepcion noted that the larger crowd of the 2nd Annual Marianas Beer and Barbecue Fest 2018 was comprised mostly of international guests.
One of the younger festivals in the Marianas, as noted by Concepcion over the weekend, the Marianas Beer and Barbecue Fest 2018 has attracted more tourists and locals alike to participate in the festival at the Garapan Fishing Base compared to last year’s, which was held at the same venue.
“We are very happy with the turnout. We have a larger crowd than last year, which is good,” he said, noting that MVA preparations for the festival was about six to eight months.
“We have a lot of overseas guests enjoying the event as well, so it’s good, while a lot of our locals came out and supported this event, so I am very happy with that,” he continued.
Two of the main highlights of the festival were the barbecue cook-off hosted by Chun Ji Restaurant and the Beer Olympics, which was hosted by Roil Soil.
The barbecue cook-off attracted only three teams of different backgrounds, however, the team to win it all was mostly inspired by local roots.
Ken Kalen and Eric Palacios, who comprises team D2C, won the first place prize for the barbecue cook-off by the way they know best: A family secret recipe.
“Since it’s a beer fest, we tried to make our barbecue like a chaser—instead of a meal, we incorporated [elements that go well with beer],” Kalen said. He noted that they tackled the competition according to the situation, which was a complimentary partner to beer, instead of barbecue as a meal.
“The ingredients we used, you can find in your pantry. It’s no secret actually, it’s a local ingredient—everybody uses it,” he continued, without disclosing the secrets to his recipe.
D2C went up against chefs from Hyatt Regency Saipan and a team that goes by the name of LT.
“The sauce of Hyatt’s short ribs was pretty good,” said Kalen, adding that the Hyatt team did not shy away from utilizing herbs and spices.
Team D2C won $50 worth of festival tokens and a two-night stay for four at Mango Resort complete with two pool passes.
Barbecue cook-off judges include 2018 Miss Marianas Celine Cabrera, Triple J’s Perry Inos, and Imperial Pacific Intl. (CNMI) LLC’s Tao Xing.