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Taste festival to feature J’s Fried Rice Eating Contest

(MVA) — Can you eat 10 lbs. of fried rice? How fast?

Those are the two questions contestants in the J’s Fried Rice Eating Contest will answer this Saturday, May 18, at the 21st Annual Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden at American Memorial Park.

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Herman’s Modern Bakery serves indigenous Chamorro and other cuisine at the 21st Annual Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden on May 11, 2019, at American Memorial Park.
Bubba Gump serves the crowd at the 21st  Annual Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden on May 11, 2019, at American Memorial Park.
Natashia Kaneshi of Team Nat, third from right, wins 1st  place in the BBQ Whole Chicken Cook-off at the 21st Annual Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden on May 11, 2019 at American Memorial Park.   From left, Miss Marianas 2018 and competition judge Celina Cabrera, Marianas Visitors Authority acting Managing Director Judy Torres, competition judge Mike Guerrero, Team Nat member, MVA community projects manager Martin Duenas, and competition judge Thomas Kim.  MVA photos

The Marianas Visitors Authority has found six contestants to take on each other and a mystery celebrity competitor from off-island in the event, with the first person to finish in under 30 minutes winning $1,000 cash.

“Ten pounds of fried rice is really enormous, so this Saturday’s contest is going to be a real feat of feasting,” said MVA community projects coordinator and lead event coordinator Ray Villagomez. “We have also invited a mystery celebrity from off-island to challenge our local talent, so it’s going to be an exciting night. We invite everyone to come out for a great match at 7 p.m. this weekend at ‘Taste.’”

If no contestant finishes in the time limit, a consolation prize will be awarded for the most fried rice eaten in the period.

At last Saturday’s (May 11) BBQ Whole Chicken Cook-off, Team Nat garnered 1st place for their entry served with a side of salsa, winning one-night stay at Hyatt Regency Saipan, dinner for two at Kili Café at Hyatt, and a $250 gift certification from Chairman M restaurant. Second place went to Kumpaires, the duo of Freddy Salavaria and Francis Mendiola, who also won 2nd place in last week’s Kadun Pika Cook-off. The duo won Sunday brunch for two at Hyatt Regency Giovanni’s, Sunday brunch for two at Fiesta Resort & Spa World Café, and a $150 gift certificate from Chairman M. Team Ping took 3rd place, winning a cultural dinner show for two at Fiesta Resort and $100 gift certificate from Chairman M.

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 MVA and is one of the largest annual 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 includes delights from the kitchens of Hyatt Regency Saipan, Tony Roma’s/Capricciosa, Fiesta Resort & Spa, 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 6 to 10 p.m. each Saturday, closing at 11 p.m. on the final night. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/mymarianas or email communityprojects@mymarianas.com.