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2024 Kauaʻi Poke Fest: Sat. June 8, 2024

Hawaiʻi is famous for many things, and poke is most definitely one of them. Poke (Hawaiian meaning “to slice, cut crosswise into pieces”) is not only healthy, it’s incredibly delicious, too. From straight-up classics like ʻahi limu (seaweed) and spicy poke to poke bowls, poke nachos, poke musubi, and so much more, poke offers an ʻono taste that is an iconic staple of Hawaiʻi.

Kauai poke fest

Poke has been a part of Hawaiian culture since the early Polynesians, who would salt their raw reef fish for flavor and to preserve them. Add limu and ʻinamona (crushed kukui nut), and voilà, the O.G. poke was born. Fast (way) forward to the late 19th century when advancements in fishing techniques allowed for greater access to deep water fish, predominantly ʻahi (tuna), which then replaced poke’s traditional reef fish.

At this time, Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino immigrants also arrived in Hawaiʻi to work on pineapple and sugarcane plantations, bringing with them shoyu, soy sauce, and sesame oil, among other classic staples. These flavorful ingredients made their way into poke prep, and poke’s culinary presence began to pick up steam.

Poke’s popularity took off in the 1970s as poke began to make its way into most Hawaiian supermarkets, seafood restaurants, convenience stores, lūʻau, graduation parties, birthday celebrations, weddings, and more. Poke is one of those IYKYK kind of things. And if you don’t know and haven’t tried poke yet, here is your friendly nudge to do so. And what better place to do so than the fourth annual Kauaʻi Poke Fest?

best Kauai poke

The Kauaʻi Poke Fest at Kōloa Landing Resort at Poʻipū will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2024, from 2:00 to 7:00 P.M. Celebrity chef and the unanimously agreed-upon “Godfather of Poke” Sam Choy will be there. If you want to experience poke at its very best, you better get your ticket fast (word on the street is they will sell out).

Sam Choy founded the first-ever Poke Festival and Recipe Contest in 1991 in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi and is a huge proponent of all things poke. He is a renowned and respected chef throughout the Hawaiian islands and one of twelve chefs responsible for the Hawaiian Regional Cuisine Movement, which put Hawaiian cuisine on the world map.

This culinary movement showcases a distinct Hawaiian fusion cooking style and focuses on using local ingredients instead of ingredients shipped across the ocean. The Hawaiian Regional Cuisine Movement strives to connect local farmers with restaurants and resorts, replacing the replicated mainland dishes with fresh, Hawaiian-focused foods.

Ok, back to this year’s Poke Fest. The 2024 Kauaʻi Poke Fest will be held on the Garden Lawn in front of the Kōloa Grand Ballroom located at 2641 Poʻipū Rd. Kōloa, HI 96756. Get your tickets at

The 2024 Kauaʻi Poke Fest features:

  • 20 professional & amateur chefs showcasing mouth-watering, creative poke dishes for your sampling pleasure
  • over a whopping 700 pounds of fresh ʻahi poke onsite
  • live entertainment
  • a poke demonstration by Sam Choy

Here’s the timeline of events:

            2:00 P.M. – Kauaʻi-Made Farmer’s Marketplace opens

            3:00 P.M. – opening ceremony, live music, and early access to the poke tasting hall (VIP only)

            4:00 P.M. – poke tasting hall open to all general admission ticket holders

            6:00 P.M. – voting ends, vote counting begins, & poke demonstration by Sam Choy

            6:45 P.M. – winners are announced

            7:00 P.M. – closing ceremony

VIP and General Admission tickets are still available. VIP tickets to the 2024 Poke Fest will get you into the tasting hall early with exclusive access to the celebrity judges, poke chefs, and an early tasting of the poke dishes. All tickets include onsite parking, attendance to the Poke Fest, all the poke you can eat, the poke demonstration by Sam Choy, and two drink tickets.

poke bowls Kauaʻi

Proceeds from this year’s festival will be donated to the Maui Strong Fund, providing resources to support the immediate and long-term recovery needs of the people and places affected by the devastating Maui wildfires. Purchasing a ticket to this year’s event is truly a win-win – you get to experience some of the island’s best poke AND give back to Maui during a time our Maui ʻohana needs us most.

Also, a little heads up: there will be a few more celebrity judges on deck, so keep your eye out for Chef Sheldon Simeon, Nick and Nate Herbig of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kumu Leināʻala Pavao Jardin. To learn more about these impressive judges and their positive impact on our Hawaiian communities, visit

Grab your ticket to the 2024 Kauaʻi Poke Fest, and get ready to be wowed! I don’t know about you, but I sure am hungry for some local, fresh Kauaʻi poke. See you there!

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