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Eating Flippin’ Great Omelets at Hawai’i CC’s Hiroshima Okonomiyaki Festival

March 14, 2016, 5:39 PM HST
* Updated September 8, 11:35 AM
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Hawai’i Community College knows how to throw a fundraiser, and I can’t wait for the next one .

On Saturday, March 12, the college’s Culture Club, along with the Hiroshima University of Economics, held a Hiroshima Okonomiyaki Festival to raise funds for Hawai‘i CC students to study abroad in Japan.

Carrie Mospens of Hawai’i CC explained that ten students from Japan visited Hilo, along with two professors.

“This event will help support our students to go to Hiroshima,” explained Mospens. “We are hoping to make this an annual event.”

Held at the Hawai’i CC Manono campus in Hilo, the fundraiser featured Puna’s Taiko drummers, who are always a dramatic show-stopper with their martial arts-influenced drumming. The audience was completely enthralled.

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Also featured were authentic Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki (omelets) prepared by Hawai‘i CC Culinary Arts students and students from Hiroshima. Hiroshima, Japan is famous for Okonomiyaki, which is a savory grilled omelet.

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Okonomiyaki are layered, as student chef Mitchell explained. He first made a perfect circle-shaped crepe.  Onto that went cabbage and bacon, as student chef Jericho heated and seasoned noodles for the next layer. The noodles were followed by bean sprouts, bonito flakes, furikake, sauce, green onions, a fried egg, and tiny Rice Krispie-like beads (tempura bits, I believe). That was followed by the addition of more seasonings and another crepe. Miraculously (don’t try this at home), the entire concoction was flipped and grilled. I ate a half and was stuffed. I know why there is a “NOM” in the middle of Okonomiyaki.

I stood and watched student chefs Jericho and Mitchell construct omelets, along with a throng of omelet-fangirls. I asked several of the ladies if they would now try making them at home. “No, I’d just make a mess,” claimed one. “I bought a kit in Japan because I like them so well, but they were terrible and didn’t come out anything like these,” said another, sadly.

In my omelet-induced excitement, I cornered Allan Okuda, Culinary Arts Program Coordinator, to see if Hawai’i CC would put them on the Hawai’i CC cafeteria’s menu (I have no shame.). Good news! They are already on the menu (check under the “Vegetarian” section).

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I met three of the students from Hiroshima while they were conducting an origami workshop, and they were very charming. They attempted to help me fold an origami crane. Eventually, it became obvious that this was not in my skill set and they allowed me to keep one of theirs.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will help Hawai’i CC students participate in a cultural study program at Hiroshima University of Economics. The aim is to strengthen historical ties between Hiroshima and Hawai’i.

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Photo credit: Marla Walters.

Photo credit: Marla Walters.

Photo credit: Marla Walters.

Photo credit: Marla Walters.

Photo credit: Marla Walters.

Photo credit: Marla Walters.

Photo credit: Marla Walters.

Photo credit: Marla Walters.

Photo credit: Marla Walters.

Photo credit: Marla Walters.

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