Lengthy Seaside Ceviche Rumble Fest attracts cooks from throughout SoCal – The Sign Tribune

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

Fish vendors from across Southern California gathered at Moncton Police Officer Association Park for the 2019 Ceviche Rumble Fest on Saturday, September 28.

In addition to selling various Latin American fish dishes to festival goers such as Octopus and Aguachile, the 14 vendors also fought for the prize for the best ceviche.

“There are a lot of great vendors focused on ceviche and seafood, so we wanted a platform where they could show what they had,” said organizer Fernando Flores.

Ceviche is a Latin American dish made from raw marinated seafood.

The recipes for preparing the main seafood dishes varied between the chefs at each festival booth and were influenced by the personal histories of those who served them.

Darrell Baker, head chef at Cefishè Seafood Catering, told the Signal Tribune that his food uses recipes from the Baja Peninsula that are influenced by places where Baker lived as a child.

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

Cefishè currently only hosts pop-up events and catering, but expects to open its first food truck soon.

Many of the competing suppliers were small business owners who do not have a permanent location for their business and only do deliveries, catering and pop-up events.

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

The judges at the 2019 Ceviche Rumble Fest included Robert Carbajal, head chef and owner of the Mariscos El Guero ceviche bars in Corona and Chino Hills, and the Mexican restaurant Birrieria El Chivito.

Food blogger Jorge Reynaga, known online as Mexi Papa, was also one of the judges. Reynaga shares stories, opinions, and information about Mexican restaurants across California on its social media platforms.

In the end, Riverside County’s El Jefe Baja Style catering company won the Best Ceviche Award for its ceviche tostada, which included shrimp, avocado, onion, tomato, lime and coriander.

The Ceviche Rumble Fest was the first Moncton Food Festival of its kind, but Flores is optimistic about repeating the event in the years to come.

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

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

“Next year we’re going to do it explosively,” said Reyes. “Bring all cultures, bring different types of ceviche, because not only is it Mexican, it’s also in Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Costa Rica,” Reyes said.

In addition to eating, 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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