‘Taste of Hawaii’ returns to Capitol Hill

The event was on hiatus for three years due to the pandemic.
Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 5:14 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Hawaii’s congressional delegation and Chamber of Commerce Hawaii threw their annual Hawaiian-themed party on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

The Aloha spirit made its way back to Capitol Hill for the 7th ‘Taste of Hawaii.’ The event helps members of Congress, and their staff learn about the pacific island state through its cuisine, culture, and music.

“The Aloha spirit is palpable and everybody’s very happy to be here,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

The ‘Taste of Hawaii’ and its vendors returned to Capitol Hill for the first time in three years due to the pandemic.

“It’s a wonderful event and for the years that we had it before COVID, it was one of the best, well probably, the best attended taste of any states,” Hirono said.

“A lot of our businesses are still struggling,” said Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President and CEO, Sherry Menor-McNamara.

Menor-McNamara helps plan the party, which is part of a larger three-day program known as ‘Hawaii on the Hill.’ It allows Hawaii’s business leaders to meet with lawmakers while providing networking opportunities for Hawaii residents living in Washington D.C. who want to go back home for work.

“It just shows that Hawaii is all about community, working together, collaborating, making sacrifices, and going all in to ensure that Hawaii is on the map and speaking in one voice,” Menor-McNamara said.

Earlier this month, Senator Hirono made a tribute to the founders of one of the vendors who has been with Taste of Hawaii since the beginning, 95-year-old Mabel Hashisaka of Kauaʻi Kookie.

“It’s priceless. I mean, such an honor. We are so grateful, and she was so overwhelmed to receive such an honor. Thank you. Thank you very much. Mahalo.” said Ann Hashisaka, Mabel’s daughter.

Senator Hirono said you can sum up Hawaii and this event in one phrase: “Hawaii No ka ‘oi,” (which means) Hawaii is the best.