Island Goodies

The other day, Paula and I were sitting in the car in the parking lot across Libby Manapua – grinding away – when we saw a car pull up on the side of the store.  A local couple got out of their car and the girl went into the store while the guy stood outside by the car.  Paula mentioned that the car was a rental car.  Then the girl came out with a bunch of packages and we could see the multiple pink boxes stacked in each of the packages.  I said that they must be on their way to the airport – that’s why the guy was watching the car as it probably has all their luggage in the trunk (I can relate as I’ve heard too many horror stories of peoples luggage getting ripped off).  And the boxes of manapua was omiyage to take back home.

btw, I think Libby has the best manapua.  The bread itself is so ono!  If I got stuck with a Libby manapua that they forgot to add the filling – I’d consider it a bonus!

Then the other day I was conversing with my Hilo friend, Annie Yonashiro, and she suggested maybe a blog post about the different island foods.  Thanks for the idea Annie – we love to talk about food!

So, what are the goodies from all of our neighbor islands?  Not necessarily omiyage stuff, but must-haves when you’re on the island.

Maui has their guri-guri and manju.  Big Island has their chocolate strawberry mochi that @Ynaku turned me on to.  Kauai has their Goteborg musubis and Hamura saimin and pie.  Molokai has their bread.  The list goes on and on.

So MLCer’s – what are the goodies from each island?  Doesn’t have to be only food stuffs.  Like a Lightning Bolt t-shirt from Maui.  Or a Sig Zane aloha shirt from Hilo.  But no lava rocks from the Big Island.

Thanks again Annie for the blog idea!

33 Responses to “Island Goodies”

  1. Aron says:

    Hilo has K’s drive in. GRAVY BURGER and TWIST CONE. Cannot be best or duplicated anywhere!

  2. KC fan says:

    When I was living on Maui, went to Ichiban Okazuya in Wailuku. Pretty good,old fashioned, prepared shrimp tempura, cone sushi, kimpira gobo. Parking little tight ,but worth it. Also Asian Cuisine same shopping center by Ah Fook’s market. Great Japanese and Korean food. Gives a lot.

  3. Kathy says:

    I can remember when Libby’s manapua was in an old wooden shack (oops, showing my age). Gone but not forgotten was Naka’s Okazuya and Farrington Inn for great teri burgers, both in Kalihi. I remember Tip Top cookies in Lihue fondly. And still plugging along is of course Toshi’s in Palama. You can probably tell I went to Farrington.

    • Rodney says:

      …and the Kalihi saimin shops; Palace, Hall, Saimin House,etc.
      You know, with the new football stadium at Farrington, Saimin House should have after-football specials. Walking distance!

  4. HbH says:

    No longer there but a favorite I fell in love with. It came out after I left home. Anyone remember the little pushcart in Kaneohe for hurricane popcorn? Now an international thing. The buggah is addictive like crack. Def an oahu grind

  5. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Kaohu Store in Wailuku was a place for good hotdogs…had some pretty neat sauces for them. But recently, they changed ownership, and I haven’t tried the current hotdogs they sell.

  6. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Something we’d bring back from Hilo was Frank’s Foods Oven Ready Pork Butt at KTA.

  7. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Not really for bringing back dozens like my co-workers do, but I enjoy a fresh, hot, melt-in-da-mouth Krispy Kreme with coffee when in Kahului.

  8. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Once in a while I pick up a couple loaves of multi-colored, multi-flavored Rainbow Bread from Low International in downtown Hilo.

  9. sameguydifferentchannel says:


  10. Seawalker says:

    That’s how we knew when we got to Kau. Around 52 miles from the airport car rental. Hang the next right or you passed it.
    Hamura Saimin used to be a can’t miss meal. Nowadays, you just drive right by Rice St.

  11. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    I like the dry aku, smoked ahi, and marlin at Kai Store in Hilo.

  12. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Sugai Kona Coffee is my go-to place for Kona Coffee in Holualoa. My favorite there is the Peaberry.

  13. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    When I’m in Pahala on the Big Island, I stop by Ka’u Coffee Mill for Ka’u Coffee. Just drive in to Pahala, turn right at Ka’u High School and keep going up the hill until you begin to wonder, “Just where the hell am I?,” and then it’ll appear on your left. In the gift shop, they sell the products they market along with several other brands of Ka’u Coffee from growers in the area, some of which are award winners. Really great stuff!

  14. Kage says:

    Along with everything everyone else listed, I like to try different Kona Coffee or even Kau Coffee when on the BI.

  15. 4G says:

    Maui Kitch’n Cook’d potato chips. Haven’t had those in awhile – hopefully, they still around?

    Pretty good read on them:

    • mows says:

      Just had some in the office last week and they advertise a new spin finish process to make them less oily. Seemed to still be oily though I guess not as much oil on the bag like before though. Was ono.

  16. Seawalker says:

    Agree with @Mark, Mrs. Barry’s cookies. The chocolate-dipped kine. Somebody gave us an assorted bag when they returned from the BI. Whacked ’em. Natural born bakers, them guys.

  17. Keoni says:

    Yup, anything from Kanemitsu’s Bakery in Kaunakakai is ono. Sometimes get their pineapple coconut bread – broke da mouth, brah!

  18. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Last time I was in Kauai, the Menehune Mini Mart in Lawai was replaced with a 7Eleven. If I remember, I’ll check and see if the new store sells manju, next time I go.

    Adding to the items mentioned from Kauai, there’s Chocolate Opihi (sound gross, no?) from Kauai Chocolate Company in Eleele. Actually, it’s a whole macadamia nut stuck on a cookie with caramel, covered with chocolate. Tastes good!

    Ishihara Market in Waimea brings in kulolo once a week (don’t know if I can say which day) and sells out by lunchtime.

  19. Kelly Kanbe says:

    Somebody recently gave me chocolate truffle mochi from Maui Specialty Chocolates in Kahului. It was super good, even having been frozen and thawed.

  20. Masako says:

    A couple of Big island trips ago we visited my cousin living in Hilo. She wanted Manapua and Elephant ear from Char Hung Sut. My auntie said now she asked for Poi donuts from Liliha Bakery. My niece in Kona like us to bring Napples for her.

  21. Masako says:

    We haven’t traveled much to the Neighbor island because the fares has gotten so high, I mean you can spend a little more and get a trip to the Mainland or Japan when they have those $500 fares. Fortunately M’s brother lives in Kona so we get there every so often. There are four things that i am willing to make the drive to Hilo for. Hilo lunch house has this mustard cabbage maki sushi that is really good. The prices there are reasonable for Okazu. Next time I go I want to pick up lunch over there, the rest of the food looked so good. There is this Kelly Boy peanut butter cookie that is only sold at the Hilo KTA, that is the best peanut butter cookie i’ve ever eaten. Then there is Georges Meat market which my friend told me about. They sell beef jerky that the texture is like potato chips. They should have gave me sample, I would have bought a lot more than I did. The last one is Warabi, I like to stir fry it with fishcake. Of course there is Two Ladies Mochi and Big island candies and Nori’s but if time is limited in Hilo I would go with the first four. On our last trip we had a lava rock experience, we didn’t try bring them some but we think the person who rented the car before us did and then chickened out and left the rocks in our car. I’ll tell this story if Rod does a Halloween post. This past trip there was not much I bought in Kona, I usually buy Kona coffee but luckily on my last trip my brother in law had too much so my sister in law and I took some off his hands. A Kona thing we always make time for is Manago’s, the pork chop is great but this time I tried the butterfish and it was great.
    I visited Molokai once and the Hot Bread was to die for. You go down this alley next to Kanimitsu bakery after midnight and knock on the door, this scary looking lady answered it and you tell her you want Hot Bread then tell her the toppings you want, stuff like peanut butter, cream cheese, jelly, cinnamon. I couldn’t decide so I got “the works” with everything on it. They close the door than a few minutes later it opens and they give you your piping hot bread. It is so yummy! I am almost tempted to visit Molokai again just to get this bread.

    On Kauai I like the Lawai manju and Hamura’s saimin and Lilikoi pie. On our last trip there years ago we went to Kauai cookie and talked story with the owner, he ended up giving us some of that red salt from the salt pond on that end of the island. There is also suppose to be a good taro chip place but it was closed.

    On Maui we like to eat Guri guri, have a meal at Hailinmaile general store, dry mein and manju from Sam Sato’s and Chocolate peanut butter mochi from Maui Specialties. On our last visit M wanted to visit a place where stand up paddleboards are made and that was pretty neat seeing the process.

  22. KAN says:

    When we were on Maui last year, Mom made us (yeah, like we needed prodding!) go to Sam Sato’s in Wailuku for their manju. My cousin who lives on Maui brings it back to O`ahu every time he visits. (Poho–I can’t eat manju any more, but Mom loves it.)

    Uncle George Kahumoku’s mamaki tea from Maui. I can get it on line, but shipping costs the earth.

    Tex’s Drive-In malassadas. Maybe not great as omiyage since I hear they’re best eaten hot.

    Two Ladies Kitchen mochi, Hilo. (Rodney, my guess is that’s where your/Ynaku’s strawberry mochi comes from.)

    Speaking of mochi, my favorite on O`ahu comes from Kansai Yamato. Used to be a kiosk in AlaMo’s Makai Marketplace, but they’ve moved. Sweetie & I do a Kansai Yamato run on our way to the airport too.

    Speaking of manju, on Kaua`i, the former Lawai MiniMart used to have the best manju–the apple manju was soooo ono. They’ve changed names a couple of times since I was there.

    I hear Big Island Candies has chocolate covered ika only at their store–it’s not in their catalog. Not sure I’d like it, but I’d like to try it at lease once.

    • Masako says:

      I bought the chocolate covered Ika once years ago just to try it. It was ok. A couple of years ago I got another bag in a New Years Fukubukuro from Big Island Candies. I think M ended up eating that one.

  23. GARETH says:

    Manapua and other dim sum from Char Hung Sut in Honolulu. Donna’s Cookies from the Big Island (sometimes available in Honolulu at the Marukai membership store). Manju from Home Maid Bakery on Maui. Kauai Kookies. French bread from Kanemitsu Bakery on Molokai.

  24. Bruce Lee says:

    Cream puffs from Maui, forget the name of the bakery or 2 Ladies Manju in Hilo. But the one thing that I can’t get anymore is “Smoked Kalding (Goat)” from BI 🙁

  25. chrisw says:

    It’s been so long since I went to a neighbor island, I can’t think of anything different from what was mentioned already. So, I will just say that I wish I had a Pa’ala’a Kai Bakery Snow Puffie in my hands right now! I feel a road trip coming soon! Who like drive??? LOL!

  26. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Sometimes when going through TSA at the neighbor island airports, the screeners jokingly point to my bag of omiyage and say, you’re good, but we gotta confiscate that bag! Hahaha

  27. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    I travel to all the islands for work, so there’s a LOT to list. But of all the places I go to, my wife only wants Hawaiian Wedding Cookies from Mrs. Barry’s Cookies in Kona. It’s like, “Don’t come home without it!” LOL

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