As my last post suggested, the best way to enjoy your Hawaiian vacation is in a condo, villa, house, apartment…something with access to a kitchen. If your family is anything like mine, we love to grill out…so extra bonus if you have a place to stay that has grilling accommodations as well. I’ve mentioned before that I have weird food allergies…I have some of the more normal ones like wheat and dairy, but then I also have things like pineapple and coffee that I don’t do well with either…it’s stupid, I know! But, it is what it is. At any rate, cooking for ourselves makes life a little easier for me. We don’t do it every night…I mean who wants to be cooking and cleaning every night of their vacation, right? However, I am super lucky that I married a good cook, and in a couple of years when Thing 2 graduates from Culinary School I will likely be kicked out of the kitchen all together!
Having a kitchen and being able to create your own meals not only saves you a little money, but it also gives you the opportunity to live like the locals a little. I love a good grocery store or farmer’s market! I highly suggest that you go to a local market for your produce and meats…you don’t want to miss out on that local goodness. We often go to Wal-Mart to get some of our staples like bottled water for the room, bread, cereal, coffee filters, clorox wipes, and even toiletries because it is much cheaper there. But, you definitely want to buy your produce and meats at either a farmer’s market like Kumu Farms on Maui, or a local grocery store. I also highly recommend going to visit the Maui Farmers Market in the Upcountry on Saturdays, it’s a feast for your eyes in every way possible…some of the biggest and weirdest and prettiest produce I’ve ever seen…and the Upcountry Farmers Market tops my hippy list! Ok, back to groceries…sometimes it’s hard to know which brands are good and which aren’t and food is too expensive in Hawaii to be playing that guessing game! Maui has a variety of grocery stores…Foodland and Safeway are the ones we frequent most…and on Kauai, it’s only Foodland that we frequent. So, without further ado…here is my ten must have grocery items from the Hawaiian grocery stores…in no particular order!
- Big Island Bees Honey. Big Island Bees is the brand of honey. They have several varieties, which come from the type of flower that the bees pollenated. Macadamia Nut is our favorite flavor!
- Honey Cream Pineapples. I have only found these at Foodland on Maui. This is a varietal of pineapple. It is much smaller than a regular pineapple and they have cut the leafy tops off. The flavor is less acidic and more sweet than normal pineapples. Also, if given the option on normal pineapples…Maui Gold over Dole…and generally speaking the smaller the pineapple, the sweeter. If you need to learn how to pick a ripe pineapple, head over to my Girl You Tripping Facebook page and watch a video from a Maui farmer on how to do just that!
- Coconut Macaroons from the Foodland Bakery Department. You do not even have to be a fan of coconut to love these little macaroon cookies! We love the chocolate dipped ones the best!
- Fresh Fish. Please, please, please try local fish when you are on the Islands! Try Ono, Wahoo, MongChung, Opakapaka…do not miss out on the stuff you can not get anywhere else in the world! My very best tip for buying fish in Hawaii is to talk to the person you are buying your fish from…they know us mainlanders are clueless and they want to teach you about their fish and their food!!! They will tell you about the fish and the best way to prepare it! For fresh fish on Maui…this will probably only apply to the west side visitors…Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Kapalua…Safeway in Lahaina gets their fish in daily at around 8AM and most of the good stuff is gone by 2pm. There is also the Maui Fish Market in Kahana. On Kauai, you’ve got to go to the Dolphin in Princeville! It’s a restaurant, but they also run a fish market on the back side of it!
- Hawaiian Kettle Stlye Chips. Orange bag…Luau BBQ Flavor! I’ll throw Maui StyleMaui Onion Potato Chips in here as well…but they are not as good as the BBQ ones and you can almost pick those up anywhere in the states now…I saw them at Sam’s in Oklahoma last week.
- Hawaiian Sun Teas & Juices. These come in 6-pack cans. The boys favorites are Lilikoi Passion and both the Island and Tropical Teas. I can not keep these stocked while we are there!
- Roselani Tropics Ice Cream. Do yourself a favor and try any of the Hawaiian-y flavors…they are all delicious!
- Aloha Spice Company Sea Salt. I swear by this stuff! I promise it makes a difference in the taste of your food! Lots of varieties…black, red, grey…all are fantastic! I like this brand because of the packaging….I can take what I do not use home with me because it’s in a ziplock type container…no glass…and no spilling.
- Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts. This is a no brainer…they are everywhere. I’m gonna get a little specific with you though…if you like these with caramel…Hawaiian Host is your brand. If you just like them covered in regular or dark chocolate I like Mauna Loa for the same reason I like that Aloha Spice salt…more packaging options and you can take home anything you don’t eat while you are there!
- POG. My boys are POG hounds, and it is yummy! For those of you that don’t know what POG is, it’s Passion-Orange-Guave juice. Meadow Gold is as good a brand as any for POG.
Well, that’s it…my 10 Hawaiian grocery store must haves! You can actually save a little bit more money if you enroll in the reward programs at the grocery stores. Foodland rewards program will even let you link back to your Hawaiian Airlines account…meaning you can earn flight miles by shopping there. Most stores have in-store specials and coupons that are available online…so you can print them out from the comfort of your own home before you even leave! Hope this has been helpful!
What are some of your grocery store must have’s that I have been missing out on all this time?