Long Beach Ceviche Rumble Fest attracts chefs from all over SoCal to compete

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Kristen Naeem
The very first Ceviche Rumble Fest took place in Long Beach at the Long Beach Police Officers Association park on Sept. 28, 2019.
Fourteen vendors set up booths in the park to sell ceviche and other types of seafood to the public.

Seafood vendors from all over Southern California gathered in the Long Beach Police Officer Association Park on Saturday, Sept. 28 for Ceviche Rumble Fest 2019.

Along with selling various Latin American seafood dishes to festival attendees, such as octopus and aguachile, the 14 vendors were also competing to win The Best Ceviche Award.

“There’s a lot of great vendors that are focusing on ceviche and seafood, so we wanted to have a platform for them to come and show what they’ve got,” organizer Fernando Flores said.

Ceviche is a Latin American dish of raw marinated seafood.

The recipes used to create the staple seafood dishes varied between the chefs of each festival booth and were influenced by the personal histories of those serving them.

Darrell Baker, chef of Cefishè seafood catering business, told the Signal Tribune that his food utilizes recipes from the Baja Peninsula that are influenced by places Baker lived as a child.

“I was raised in between Ensanada, Tijuana and Los Angeles, so it’s a mix of everything” Baker said.

Cefishè is currently only doing pop up events and catering but expects to open its first food truck soon.

Many of the vendors competing were small business owners who do not have a fixed location for their businesses, solely doing deliveries, catering and pop up events.

Four judges tried ceviche dishes from each vendor and gave scores based on factors such as the freshness of ingredients and overall taste.

Among the judges of Ceviche Rumble Fest 2019 was Robert Carbajal, chef and owner of the Mariscos El Guero ceviche bars in Corona and Chino Hills, as well as the Mexican restaurant Birrieria El Chivito.

The food blogger Jorge Reynaga, known online as Mexi Papa, also served as one of the judges. Reynaga shares stories, opinions and information about Mexican restaurants all throughout California on his social-media platforms.

In the end, The Best Ceviche Award trophy was given to the catering business El Jefe Baja Style from Riverside County for its ceviche tostada that included shrimp, avocado, onion, tomato, lime and cilantro among many other ingredients.

Ceviche Rumble Fest was the first Long Beach food festival of its kind, but Flores is optimistic about repeating the event in upcoming years.

“Maybe every year can be a little bigger, and we can invite more of the community over” Flores said.

Jose Reyes, who emceed the event, also hoped to repeat and expand Ceviche Rumble Fest next year in order to showcase a wider range of ceviche.

“Next year we’re going to make it explosive,” Reyes said. “Bring all cultures to this, bring different varieties of ceviche because its not only Mexican but they do it in Peru, they do it in Colombia, Venezuela and Costa Rica” Reyes said.

Aside from food, the South Gate party entertainment service Yummy Funny Fiesta painted children’s faces and the band La Kultura played live Spanish music for attendees.

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Kristen Naeem, Staff Writer

Kristen Naeem is a Pakistani Guatemalan- American who was born in Los Angeles and raised in Long Beach. She currently resides in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood...