Chow Bella

Arizona Aloha Festival 2014: Shaved Ice and Spam Musubi

This weekend Tempe Beach Park is filled with food, music, dancing and jewelry celebrating the cultures of the Pacific Islands at the Arizona Aloha Festival.

Marking its 20th anniversary, there was no shortage of good food, refreshing sweets and long lines at the event Saturday. It continues today, Sunday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See also: Arizona Aloha Festival 2014 (Complete Slideshow)

Warning: There was a severe lack of shade Saturday, with long lines leading up to booths serving Hawaiian, Samoan, Guamanian and Polynesian food.

The mixed plates from the Paradise vendor choices were plenty enough to attract anyone, such as chicken, short ribs, garlic shrimp and spam musubi. All plates came with a side of white rice and that insanely delicious macaroni salad.

We could tell the garlic shrimp was cooked a little too long becaue of the rubbery texture, but the garlic and other seasonings made up for it.

See also: 20 Lessons Learned at Devoured Food + Wine Classic 2014

There was enough spam musubi to go around, wrapped in seaweed and rice, perfect with Sriracha sauce drizzled on top.

Temperatures were well into the 80's on Saturday, and the best way to beat the heat was with Hawaiian ice. A pile of ice about four inches high topped our cup, and the choice of flavors ranged from watermelon, green apple, rootbeer, POG -- passion fruit, orange and guava -- and coconut. Hawaiian cream was squeezed on top of the refreshing ice. It was an instant cool down and satisfaction.

Fresh coconut juice was another good way to cool off.

The best feature -- aside from the food stands -- was the mini market-type tent, where tables were set up with tubs filled with many different snacks native to the Pacific Island culture. Japanese peanuts, pickled mango, dried cuttle fish, wasabi peas and many others filled the tent that had a line wrapping around one half of the tent. We're all for taking a little bit of the Pacific home in an edible fashion.

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Natalie Miranda