Visiting the Crack Seed Store Kaimuki in Honolulu is a neighborhood experience. You’ll be taking part in a quintessential Hawaii tradition replete with unique flavors and smells. This takes on even more significance since the number of traditional crack seed stores in Hawaii has rapidly declined.
In addition, there are new owners, following famed “Uncle” Kon Ping Young’s retirement just before Covid. But worry not, we were pleasantly surprised how the store hadn’t changed under the new yet familiar owners.
We’d often wondered when Uncle would retire after having held down the store for over four decades. The transition, which probably couldn’t have come at a better time, was easy. The new buyers are the ones who own Honolulu’s Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery, which sells some of the same products as the Crack Seed Store. Uncle shared his secrets with new owner Mei Fang, as the tradition was passed to her family.
From our perspective, not much changed, other than we still miss finding Uncle running the business solo, as he generally did all of those years. Now multiple people were helping, and the line was much shorter.
Popular Honolulu activity for visitors.
The customers haven’t changed much either since the handover. It is as popular with Hawaii visitors as it is with locals who have been going there, as we have, for decades. Some products weren’t there before, but we didn’t find anything missing.
The Young Family was always more than helpful to us. We were given free samples to try. Newcomers are taken to the “bunny slope” for the first Crack Seed experience, typically plum. The plum was sweet and salty. We were hooked and always wanted more sensory overload. The samples will take you to the end of the Hawaii rainbow.
It’s all a matter of personal taste from there, and that’s where samples definitely come in handy. Our favorites include the traditional dried plums in various forms, including rock salt. Also, lemon peel (now about 6 varieties).
Hawaii Crack Seed Defined.
Also called Li Hing Mui, it’s a Hawaii snack delicacy of Chinese derivation. Crack Seed came from when travelers packed sweet and salty dehydrated fruits to supplement plain rice. The salt replenished what was lost due to heat and also acted as a natural preservative for the fruits. Chinese immigrants brought this tradition to Hawaii in the mid-1800s, and it’s remained popular ever since. If you’re wondering, The Crack Seed Store sources its products from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Head to The Crack Seed Store.
The Crack Seed store located in Kaimuki (Honolulu) is the real deal for the best in Hawaii and a unique experience you simply won’t forget. There you’ll find a plethora of large glass jars filled with tasty delights. It isn’t cheap (compared with Long’s), but the quality is incomparable. And you’re welcome to taste before you buy.
Look for the traditional plums and lemons to mango, strawberry, lychee, and more. Depending on the time of day you arrive, a fast-moving line may be streaming out the door. Don’t let that dissuade you. This uber-popular store has been featured globally, and if you visit, you’ll soon understand why. See you there!
The Crack Seed Store Kaimuki, 1156 Koko Head Avenue, Honolulu. Street and metered parking nearby. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. If you can’t visit in person, you can order online and get free shipping when you spend $100 or more.