For the second year since the pandemic began, one of the biggest festivals in the Marianas has returned.
A Bit of Taste of the Marianas Food Festival History
The Taste of the Marianas is the largest and one of the most anticipated events held by the Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA). It is traditionally held every Saturday in May during Tourism Month.
The event features affordable dishes from local hotels and restaurants, live entertainment, and arts and crafts sales.
Entrance to the festival is free. Park at your own discretion.
Taste of the Marianas 2022
Due to low tourism in May 2022, the 23rd Annual Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival was postponed and held for two consecutive weekends in June 2022 when there was a boost in visitors due to the NMI Pacific Mini Games 2022.
This year’s festival was held on June 18, 19, 24, 25 & 26, from 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM at Garapan Fishing Base.
There were about 29 food and 4 drink vendors – the most the festival has had.
Along with the vendors, entertainment, and arts and crafts, there was also a Sukiyaki Eating Contest and Burrito Eating Contest, along with a cooking demonstration of local favorites Apigigi and Titiyas that was held on the 24th.
Typically cash was the only form of payment, but this year, debit and credit cards were accepted by most, if not all, vendors.
I absolutely love and look forward to the Taste of the Marianas every year. It was always a fun event to hang out with friends and eat mouthwatering dishes.
In 2022, I attended the festival twice during the second weekend.
I arrived two hours before closing time on the first night that I attended. After doing my initial walkthrough, I was just thinking, “wow. There are A LOT of vendors.” Many of them weren’t around the last time I attended, which was about five years ago. Moreover, the place was still pretty packed, but a lot of vendors had already sold out most of the dishes on their menus.
I was tempted to order from a place that had red rice, but many of the vendors either didn’t sell them or were sold out. By the end of the night, I ended up ordering from my OG restaurant – Furusato Japanese Restaurant.
Didn’t I get food from them at the Flame Tree Arts Festival? Yes, I did. So I had to get from them again here? Yes…I did.
Also, for the first time I’ve experienced, there was barely any line at Java Joe’s, a popular establishment known for its pearl shakes, espresso, fruit smoothies, and other pastries. Of course, I had to take that chance and excitingly ordered a chocolate pearl shake from them.
On the second day, I attended closer to their opening time. I had a better chance at looking through all the vendors and what they were selling.
My thoughts after seeing the festival during the day were, “wow. There are A LOT of stalls.” With all of the vendors fully stocked, I was excited about more options, but I think that that’s what made deciding what to get that much more challenging. I almost became frustrated because there were just too many options that I wanted but my wallet couldn’t afford them.
And unsurprisingly, the line to Java Joe’s was long this time around.
My friends and I were able to order from at least four different vendors. I was challenged to order something from a vendor that I had never tried before. And with about 60% of the vendors being places I have never tried food from before, it was fun deciding what to get (please note the sarcasm).
After a couple of conversations in my mind, I decided to order a Bulgogi Bowl from BAB Korean Restaurant. I’ve always wanted to try food from there ever since I saw it, and I thought this was a good chance to get a little taste of what they had to offer (no pun intended). We also ordered some lemonade from them.
As much as it would’ve been nice to experience eating at one of the available tables and watch some live entertainment, we left after getting all of our foods.
I think that the 23rd Annual Taste of the Marianas went above and beyond in providing various tastes of what the islands have to offer.
It was interesting to see the booth decorations of the various food vendors. I commend all of the staff who worked effortlessly in preparing the food for two consecutive days on the first weekend and three consecutive days on the second weekend.
I loved that the location was at the Garapan Fishing Base. It made walking around so much easier, and there was a lot more room to breathe. I loved that the stage was in the middle and the eating area was directly in front of it so attendees can enjoy eating while watching some live entertainment.
Unfortunately, because the food was my main priority when attending, I did not catch a glimpse of the arts and crafts booths, as well as the live entertainment. I’m sure they were just as amazing, and the festival wouldn’t be complete without them.
Also, I was happy that on both of the days that I attended, the sky was clear, and the weather was warm – cool.
I can’t wait to see what they have in store next year!
Do you plan on attending any future Taste of the Marianas Festivals?