Following a successful kick off of the 21st Annual Taste of The Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden on Saturday (May 4) in celebration of May Tourism Month, the Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) is now gearing up for this Saturday’s (May 11) festivities, featuring the BBQ Whole Chicken Cook-off.
The MVA is seeking 10 chefs to participate, and registration is free. Registration forms are available on The Marianas Calendar at www.mymarianas.com, and prizes will include:
first place, one-night stay and dinner buffer for two at Hyatt Regency Saipan and a $250 gift certificate from Chairman M restaurant;
second place, Sunday brunch for two at Giovanni’s at Hyatt Regency Saipan, Sunday brunch for two at World Café at Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, and a $150 gift certificate from Chairman M restaurant; and
third place, cultural dinner show for two at Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan and a $100 gift certificate to Chairman M restaurant.
At last Saturday’s Kadun Pika Cook-off, Shane Villanueva took from bragging rights and first place for his Pika Beer-flavored entry, earning a dinner buffet for two at Killi Café and one night stay at Hyatt Regency Saipan, a $250 gift certificate to Chairman M restaurant, and a $50 gift certificate to Ladder Beach Restaurant (nearly $900 in prizes). Second place went to Kumpaires, the duo of Freddy Salavaria and Francis Mendiola, who won Sunday brunch for two at Giovanni’s at Hyatt Regency Saipan, a $150 gift certificate to Chairman M restaurant, lunch for two at World Café at Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, and a $125 gift certificate to Ladder Beach Restaurant (over $400 in prizes). Benjamin Paul Mangloan and Buddy Igitol of Guns & Hoses took third place and a $100 gift certificate to Chairman M restaurant, seafood dinner for two at World Café at Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, and a $75 gift certificate to Ladder Beach Restaurant (over $200 in prizes). Other contestants were Andrew Songsong, Jesse Mesa, Angel Reyes, Jose Barola, and Richard Meimban.
CNMI Lt. Gov. Arnold Palacios joined members of the MVA board of directors and other dignitaries in opening the festival with an official ceremony, where acting MVA managing director Judy Torres welcomed the crowd.
“We would like to give a big thank you to our sponsors: Hyatt Regency Saipan, Imperial Pacific International, HANMI, Ina’s Kitchen, Dave Electronics, Hawaiian Rock Products, Ladder Beach Restaurant, J’s Restaurant…as well as our friends at the National Parks Service for once again allowing us to use the American Memorial Park for one of most anticipated events of the year,” Torres said. “We would also like to appreciate our government agency partners—CUC, DPS, DFEMS, DLNR, BEH, Department of Commerce, and the Saipan Mayor’s Office—for supporting this event. Thank you…for your continued support of the CNMI tourism industry and the MVA as we work tirelessly to promote the Marianas to the world.”
The MVA is also accepting applications for the J’s Fried Rice Eating Contest on May 18 sponsored by J’s Restaurant. The festival will also feature the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands Junior Chefs Competition on May 25, also sponsored by Triple J Five Star Wholesale.
The Taste of The Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden is an annual signature event of the MVA and is one of the largest celebrations in the Marianas.
The festival features international cuisine at affordable prices from local hotels and restaurant vendors, non- stop live entertainment on the main stage.
Each Saturday this year, the first 40 patrons to purchase $40 or more in Taste tokens will receive a free caricature sketch by Ronald Valiente.
Twenty-three food and drink vendors offer their tastiest dishes and brews at American Memorial Park during the event. The festival offers delights from the kitchens of Hyatt Regency Saipan, Tony Roma’s/Capricciosa, Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, D’Elegance Cafe, Kanoa Resort, Terry’s Snack Bar, Furusato Restaurant, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Mystique BBQ, Sierra’s Pearl Shake, Kinpachi Restaurant, Herman’s Modern Bakery, Ina’s Kitchen, Matty’s BBQ, Tropical Chill, The Hut, Pacific Islands Club Saipan, Kensington Hotel Saipan, Java Joe’s, and Thai House. Drinks are offered by Saipan Brewing Co., MarPac, and Pacific Trading Co.
The festival will be held from 6pm to 10pm each Saturday (closing at 11pm on the final night). For more information, visit www.facebook.com/mymarianas or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (PR)