HFWF16: Urban Luau

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The sixth Hawaii Food and Wine Festival arrived on Oahu on Wednesday night with a round of themed galas, day events, wine seminars and battles for supremacy in haute ramen and brunch stretching through the weekend. The Oahu events follow a series on the Big Island and Maui, with dozens of celebrity chefs from Hawaii, the US, Pacific Rim and Europe showcasing Hawaii ingredients in unique dishes created for the festival.

First up on Oahu: Urban Luau at Kakaako’s new Salt complex. Favorite local spots like Helena’s Hawaiian Food, Alicia’s Market, Highway Inn and Haili’s Hawaiian Food served up classics; next to them, buzz chefs dished up haute-cuisine riffs.

Festival goers gathered in the SALT complex in Kakaako for an evening of delicious Hawaiian food and entertainment.

The SALT complex in Kakaako last night: ono Hawaiian-themed food and entertainment.

Chung Chow of New York City’s Noreetuh (second from left) and Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco (top row, left) joined Hawaii restaurants and chefs in showcasing Hawaiian-themed dishes. Both Oahu natives, Chow and Kapur run successful restaurants serving up contemporary Hawaiian-inspired cuisine.

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Chow’s Pono Pork tenderloin pastrami with pickled Napa cabbage, orange supremes and cilantro shoots was a twist on kalua pork with a nod to New York. It won over eaters with a big, smoky flavor balanced by sour and sweet.

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One of the night’s most unique dishes: Eddie Lopez of the Mill House offered a take on kulolo, served as ice cream spooned into mini cones.

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Those who wandered over to Mark Noguchi’s table were in for a surprise. The Pili Group chef served bites of a composed paiai appetizer with elements of octopus, fish, dried shrimp and limu directly into diners’ mouths. This was followed by a shot of beer. Ultimate pau hana!

Chef Mark Noguchi prepared a poke shot, beer back and treated guests to a VIP tasting experience... from the hands of the chef.

Noguchi prepared a poke shot, beer back and treated guests to a tasting experience from the hands of the chef. The eater here is his old boss, Ed Kenney of Town restaurant, Kaimuki Superette, Mud Hen Water and Mahina and Sun’s. Kenney is in the lineup at Saturday’s Foodtopia gala at Ko Olina.

Alicia's Market prepared a traditional Hawaiian poke. Fresh fish, crunchy seaweed and a salty burst from the sea asapargus made this dish a crowd favorite.

Traditional poke from Alicia’s Market: fresh fish, crunchy seaweed and the salty burst of sea asapargus made this a crowd favorite.

Traditional lomi.

Traditional lomi.

Hawaii Food & Wine Festival co-chairs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong. The state’s premiere culinary event started on Oahu six years ago and now spans three weekends on the Big Island, Maui and Oahu.

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Straight from San Francisco, chef Ravi Kapur wowed us with his billfish lomi with puffed poi, sweet Maui onions and Hawaiian salt.

Straight from San Francisco, Ravi Kapur created a billfish lomi with puffed poi, sweet Maui onions and Hawaiian salt.

The traditional kulolo is a little bit earthy, sweet and very sticky.

The traditional kulolo is a little bit earthy, sweet and very sticky.

The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival continues with The Hungry Monkey at the Modern Thursday night, Oct. 27, and A Culinary Flight at the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday, Oct. 28.

Here’s the full schedule on Oahu.