Delicious foods from around Hawaii

My Favorite Hawaii Groceries

It’s July 4th weekend. That’s always a time to be thinking about family, friends and food. It brought to mind those special food products that people most associate with Hawaii. And which of those are the very best.

When you come to Hawaii, what groceries do you stock up on? And which of these do you plan to take home with you to extend your Hawaii vacation?

Visitors are always buying interesting products, and sometimes they spot things that we take for granted or don’t even notice ourselves.

Here’s the A list (in no particular order) that I’ve compiled thus far. What can you add to it?

Hawaii coffees. Molokai Muleskinner continues to be a favorite. I’ve been on their plantation and like what I see. If I’m going to the mainland and need gifts, I’ll see what coffee is on sale at Longs.

Fruits and vegetables. Local produce honor stands are a favorite source. The Saturday farmers market at Kapiolani College and Wednesday market at Hilo are my top choices.

Locally produced cookies and chocolate. Big Island Candies for cookies and chocolate. It’s been a long time since I stopped at their Hilo factory. Kauai Cookies is another favorite and you can get free samples at their Hanapepe factory.

Breads. One of my favorite sources is from the truck-based oven at the Waimea (Big Island) farmers market. Another is the Hawaii Star English muffins, especially the poi variety.

Crackers. I like those from Diamond Bakery. Remember that Lavosh Hawaii crackers are actually from California. Who knew?

Alcoholic beverages. There’s a long list from around the state including wine from Volcano Winery and Koloa Rum.

Juices and Drinks. Mrs. Cheng’s Soy Milk is high on my list. I’ve only seen it sold on Oahu. Normally I pass on POG.

Chips. I like the Atebara chips from the Big Island that have been around for something like 75 years. There are just so many other choices to consider.

Granola. Kauai’s Anahola and Oahu’s Melissa’s. I also make my own and serve to Beat of Hawaii fans who stay with us.

Macadamia nuts. What else do you have to say. Salted, chocolate or plain. Yum.

Crack seed. These most popular local snacks come in all flavors and types. Typically they’re both sweet and salty. My favorite store is located Kaimuki in Honolulu.

Cheese. I’ve tried goat cheeses from Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai.

Honey. All of the islands produce local honey that’s simply superb.

Ice cream. The major brands include Tropilicious, Dave’s, Lappert’s, Roselani, Bubbie’s and more. One of my favorites is Ono Pops sold on Oahu. Obviously ice cream is very popular in Hawaii.

Seafood. Try local Hawaii fish of all kinds.There’s also local shellfish such as Lobster, crab, and shrimp. On Kauai I find good deals at Fish Express across from Wal-Mart.

Meat products. From locally produced Portuguese sausages to grass fed beef and local eggs.

Poke. From lomi lomi salmon to ahi shoya and beyond.

Sodas.Waialua Soda Works.

Mustards. Auntie Lillikoi’s award winning products are great.

Sauces and syrups. From pancake to barbeque.

Note: Beat of Hawaii is not affiliated with  any products mentioned.

18 thoughts on “My Favorite Hawaii Groceries”

  1. Unlike this article’s author, one of my favorite food discoveries on my first visit to Hawaii, in 1974, was POG.

    Since then, I’ve visited Oahu 3 times, the Big Island twice, Maui once, and Kauai (North Shore is the best!) 16 times and found more. Later discoveries included Ahi and Ono, plus, my wife’s favorite and now one of mine, Hawaiian-style poki salad.

    I agree with Elliott’s comments (July 1, 2AM) about poor imitation of Hawaiian juices, the Hawaii’s Own brand of frozen juices. Is there any better brand that is sold on the Mainland? If so, does anyone know if it’s available on the San Francisco Peninsula (I live in Belmont, halfway between The City and San Jose)?

    Thanks for a terrific website. I subscribe to your e-mails and always enjoy them, even though we don’t expect to be able to visit Hawaii again for a long time (job losses in 2002 & 2009).

  2. Katie and I must be neighbors — how funny! Not only do we have access to some Hawaiian food treats here, Japantown San Jose rocks with aloha spirit.

    Something I’ve not found here, though, and try to remember to bring back when I visit Kauai is NOH Hawaiian Curry mix. In fact, I picked up some asparagus and shrimp on sale yesterday so I think I’ll use some of my NOH stash for tonight’s dinner. I use coconut milk with it instead of the recommended water, btw. My mouth is already watering!

    Mahalo for the fun topic!

  3. I love anything at the KCC Farmer’s Market. I would be happy if they were open every day!

    My favorite sweets are the Hawaiian host Mac Nut Crunch and the dark chocolate macadamias. YUM. I got lucky last year when I found the Mac Nut Crunch at a Grocery Outlet store in California for $3 a box. I bought 22 boxes. 🙂 They’re a fun thing to bring to friends, family, cookouts, concerts…

    I love the Lilikoi drink from Hawaiian Sun. It’s my favorite. Guava is a close 2nd. You can get them in Japantown in San Francisco and at Oto’s Market in Sacramento. (Oto’s is FABULOUS for those who live in that area!)

    I also like Aloha Shoyu, furikake seasoning for my rice, Hawaiian Hurricane popcorn, any of the tropical teas from Hawaiian Islands Tea Company (again lilikoi is my favorite), and of course Big Island Bees Ohia Lehua honey, which you can get online or at KCC Farmer’s Market.

    I was very pleased to see you list Coffees of Hawaii, my friend David got me onto that. I have about ten pounds in my cabinets, a pound of just about everything they make. (I am that addicted.)

    I also like to bring back candy lei. Never underestimate the power of a lei made of sugar.

    FInally, that orange-label “Old Time Brand” Hawaii Sea Salt is absolutely essential. You can get it at Costco. You gotta have ‘um if you going make Kalua Pig!

    I grew up in Aiea (summers from age 10 through 16) so to me Hawaii is home. I still miss Daiei but at least Shirokiya is there…and there you go, that’s yet ANOTHER wonderful place to buy good food!

    ALOHA and Mahalo!

  4. Wow…after having just gotten back from a wonderful week in a beach cottage on the North Shore, I have to say I’m already missing alot of the foods I was eating in Hawaii!
    Number one is the Apple Bananas. can you say *YUM*? Wow! *THAT’S* what a banana should taste like…not these Cavandish bananas we have here on the mainland!
    Second? We went to the Dole Plantation and these was a stand where this guy was making Cinnamon Roasted Macadamia nuts…you know, like the ones they have a German festivals? But instead of almonds, it was MACADAMIA NUTS! How awesome was that? Being German, I appreciated the nod to the German roasting, but as a lover of Hawaii, the Macadamia nuts is a far better recipient of the roasting!
    And yes….I did get a chance to try a Spam Musubi. A short trip to Zippies and a quick lunch of Spam Musubi and cokes and I have to say what a treat!
    Plate Lunches…L&L Loco-Moko! a lot of food but good!
    And while I can get Kona beer here in Northern Virginia (funny though, it’s cheaper in my local super market than when I purchased it at the Malamas in Haleiwa…($13/6 pack in Malamas, $9/6 pack at my local Harris Teeters) But, for some reason, drinking a Kona Long Board on the back deck of a Hawaii beach cottage, watching the waves tastes better than sitting at my dinner table in my house drinking the very same beer!
    And Shaved Ice…MMMM! Went to Matsumotos right there in town where we were staying…*ALWAYS* a line, but worth it! My first foray for eating shaved ice and I had the works! Red beans, ice cream and three flavored shaved ice…yum!
    And there is something about eating garlic shrimp from a shrimp truck that makes it taste better…I make a mean garlic shrimp, but when getting it from a shrimp truck, the flavor is altogether fuller! Although, I have to say, when we stopped at the shrimp place Romy, in Kahuku, I was a little taken aback by the heads still being on the shrimp…
    I could go on and on, but I think this will suffice…for now…only back a week and I want to return to Hawaii already!

  5. Kauai Honey is a favorite. This year I shipped the larger size home. After some searching I have only been able to find this online through Hilo Hattie, and not the larger size (24oz).

    I am fortunate to live near one of the last Japantown’s in the United States – San Jose, CA. You can find a variety of Hawaiian goods there, along with and a place for your plate lunches and poke at “Hukilau”.

  6. Used to enjoy the taste of the Islands in “Hawaii’s Own” frozen concentrate juices here on the Mainland. Now the main ingredients are water and corn syrup, only 10% fruit juice in the can. Mix the concentrate with water and you only get 2.5% juice, no pulp any more. What a rip off!!! Mind as well have Kool Aid…

  7. Have alot of fun in Hawaii Iris, I’ve been there myself, you’ll have a ball, go into ‘The Alamoana ( Mall ), it has a whole bunch of shops, Fern Grotto and watch ‘Waikiki Calls’ at the Waikiki Shopping Plaza, you’ll love it!! I was in Hawaii in 1985. I love macadamias, especially the chocolate covered kind!

  8. Leonard’s malasadas, kulolo, Hilo Brand Fishcake, Love’s Sweetbread, lychees, lilikoi, guavas, mangoes, papayas, long johns (pastries), poke, limu, local fish, S & S Saimin, lau laus, poi, guava jam & jelly, Hurricane Popcorn, crack seed, li hing mango, li hing mui, sweet whole seeds, li hing cranberry, I could go on, but anything that you can’t easily get on the mainland or is just cheaper & more available in Hawaii. I’m going a week from today, can’t wait!

  9. I especially like the Portuguese sausage sold at the Diamond Head Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. They grill ’em up right there and have frozen to purchase and take home. So onolicious!

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