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Justin Oba

Food Tour Guide and Pacific Northwest Foodie

 Raised in Tacoma, WA since I was 3 months old, I was adopted by my maternal Taiwanese grandmother and her Japanese/Hawaiian husband when my single mother couldn’t take care of me. Since I was a kid, I’ve always had a wide range of tastes and an indiscriminate palate. My grandmother would cook various Taiwanese and Chinese food for me growing up. From golden fried tofu served with steamed bok choy, to hearty beef stews with hard-boiled eggs that appeared brown from cooking and soaking up the savory soup base. 


My grandmother's husband - My dad, as far as I am concerned since her adopted and raised me - was born on the island of Oahu, and to this day makes the best-fried rice I've ever eaten. Despite living in the rainy and grey Pacific Northwest, his heritage was best celebrated in his diet and cooking. Breakfast as a teenager was typically a combination of either Spam, eggs, and rice or a bowl of "saimen" (in our case, it was instant ramen, but at the time I didn't know the difference) with or without the soup. It's safe to say that food was the subject of some of my fondest memories of childhood and even more so as a teenager and young adult.


As I got older, restaurants soon became part of some of my most memorable experiences. Sitting around a table with friends, enjoying food and drinks at our local Red Robin was how I connected with friends while visiting from college; Grabbing lunch or a drink at Happy Hour after work was how I developed relationships with friends old and new.

What's up with the name "Obalicious"? 

It is a play on two words: My last name, Oba, and "Onolicious," a Hawaiian Pidgeon word that is used to describe delicious food, and is sometimes shortened as "Ono". 


"Obalicious" was a nickname I picked up in college (IYKYK - I'm a man of many names), and thought it was a perfect word to use to describe my hunger and feelings for travel, food, and entrepreneurship. 



Trying to catch Obalicious in the wild? Click the links below for amazing content featuring the "Mac Without The Roni" himself. 


If you are looking to learn about the Seattle food scene, The Seattle Foodie podcast is the podcast to listen to. Hosts Nelson Lau and Monica Beach have not only eaten their way through most of what Sesattle's food scene has to offer, but is very active in the foodie community. Their podcast cast covers news, events, interviews, and covers their own eating experiences out and about the greater Pacific Northwest.This episode features a foodie interview with yours truly. 


GoSocial is an outstanding agency based out of Denver, Co, and Louisville, KY, with a focus on Public Relations and social media. Their podcasts interviews influencers from across the country, bringing together interesting perspectives and insights on the world of online and influencer marketing. I was fortunate enough to be a guest in one of their earlier podcast episodes, where I talk about burnout as an influencer and how it is important to have fun and remember your why as a content creator. 


Ya boy went international! Jess Kelly is a journalist and podcaster with a love for all things tech and industry, and her program with Newstalk radio, based in the UK, was invited to visit Seattle thanks to a partnership with Aer Lingus. I had a brief conversation with Jess in front of famous "1st Starbucks" in Pike Place Market, sharing some insights to the history of the famous farmer's market and Seattle's growing pains as a tech frontier. 


Remember when Amazon Go was first annouced to the public? I was one of the first to visit the cashier-less and automated store when the first prototype opened to the public. Located on the Amazon campus in Seattle's South Lake union neighborhood, I shared my experience visiting the store with Foodbeast, one of the best damn food media networks out there. Check them out for food stories and great content. 


My first deep dive into the land of Vegan desserts. I was invited to go around and sample different Vegan treats around Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, and who am I to say no to a good time? Really impressed by the many awesome desserts there are that do not use dairy or animal products. This video really shows me out of my comfort zone in terms of the food I choose to consume, but also on my realization that you didn't need products like eggs or milk to make something taste good. 


If you are scrolling on Youtube after searching about any topic including living or moving to Seattle, then you've probably seen a video or two from Rachel. Originally from the mid-west, her awesome vlog and content channel brings life to what's it like to be a young 20-something living in Seattle. For this video, Rachel invited me to show her and her best friend Gus around my favorite place in Seattle, Pike Place Market. There we visited some of my favorite food spots and shared a few history facts along the way. 


Are you a fan of Andrew and David Fung? These two University of Washington grads were influential in the Seattle content creator scene, and definitely one of the most successful channels across Youtube. In this video, I took Andrew Fung and fellow local Seattle foodies on a food tour with Savor Seattle Food Tours in Pike Place Market. I share history and stories about each place we visit in the Market, even checking out some hidden gems. 


This was a cool podcast episode with The Craft Beer Podcast (former the Portland Beer Podcast) that I was a guest on along with then Savor Seattle CEO Angela Shen. We were their to promote on then new app, called Passport on Tap. Unfortunately, the app didn't last long, and is no longer available or in business in the PDX area. You might learn a few things about me though if you give it a listen!


I was credited for one of the photos used in this awesome article from Seattle Metropolitian Magazine. The photo is from Manui's Tacos, whom I did a few photo projects in 2019 and early 2020. The photo used is a picture of a tray of tacos, and can be found around the middle portion of the article. 

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