MVA’s 1st BBQ Pork Ribs Cookoff won with mangoes


The first ever Marianas Visitors Authority BBQ Pork Ribs Cookoff last Saturday at the Taste of the Marianas at the Garapan Fishing Base was topped by Spencer Marchadesch and Angelo Camacho.

Bringing home $250 in cash, $50 worth of tokens for the festival, and a $100 gift certificate from Twins Supermarket, Marchadesch, who did not expect to win, believed that their unique mango sauce complimenting the ribs was what won the judges over.

“We knew that with the [mango sauce’s] concept and flavor, we had a chance,” he said.

Marchadesch explained that he and Camacho wished to create a special barbecue dish that utilized local ingredients.Having realized that it was already mango season, Marchadesch and Camacho discovered their winning component.

“Just last week, the mangoes started to ripen—we wanted to incorporate that [into our dish],” said Marchadesch.

Coupled with Saipan Brewing Co.’s mango beer, the ribs won over enough judges to win the competition.

The judges of the cookoff included MVA managing director Chris Concepcion, Docomo Pacific CNMI vice president and general manager Dino Manning, TanHoldings vice president for Corporate Affairs Catherine Toves, among others.

“[The cookoff] yielded a very positive reaction from the community,” said Concepcion, adding that there were eight participants in the competition.

Concepcion said MVA has been planning to make cook-offs an annual thing, starting with last week’s barbecue ribs cookoff and the previous week’s kadun pika cook-off.

“If not barbecue ribs, [we plan to annualize a cookoff] of something local; something we eat regularly in the Marianas,” he said.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said he was impressed with the 2017 Taste of the Marianas despite the change of venue.

“Two weeks ago, I came here and was overwhelmed by the people,” said Torres regarding the turnout of the festival.

Torres added that although the congestion of the festival may be remedied, the venue for the festival, according to his assessment of the people that showed up last week, was “a great place for this event.”

“I want to thank all the vendors and MVA for sponsoring the Taste of the Marianas. It has been 19 years and it seems that we are getting better and better every year,” he said.

This Saturday, which is also the final Saturday of the festival for the year, the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands would be holding a cookoff among island chefs.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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