If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive souvenir to bring home from your Hawaiian vacation, look beyond the cheapo 4-for-$10 T-shirts. Take something home that will really give your friends and family a taste of the island. That’s right, folks. I’m suggesting that you shop for souvenirs…at the grocery store. Check the snack aisle or the Asian food aisle, and you’re bound to find something that your friends at home have never even heard of before. Here are a few suggestions:
Crack Seed: This local favorite is primarily a variety of dehydrated and preserved fruits. Crack seed came to Hawaii with the first Chinese immigrants who came to work the plantations – and it’s here to stay. The sweet and salty dried fruit is often flavored with li hing mui. You can pick up crack seed at any grocery store or stop in at a specialty shop like the Crack Seed Center in the Ala Moana Shopping Center.
One-Ton Chips: The Maebo Noodle Factory has been making One-Ton Chips in Hawaii for nearly 60 years. Made with dough similar to that used to make wontons, these chips are crispy and slightly sweet. You’ll find them in the grocer’s snack aisle or – sometimes – at Costco.
Hawaii Popcorn: You can get this ready to eat or in a microwavable version, but you can bet you’ll have a hard time finding it beyond the islands. The Hawaiian Hurricane flavor is a blend of popcorn, rice crackers, and nori. Unique, yes?
In the Honolulu/Waikiki area you’ll find plenty of convenience stores that may (or may not) carry some of these items. Your best bet for a full service grocery store is the Foodland at Ala Moana Center near The Equus and Ala Moana Hotel.
–Kris Bordessa of Honolulu On The Cheap and Big Island On The Cheap
[Photo Credit: Flickr/roboppy]