Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mini Josie Goes Grocery Shopping in Kihei, HI

Before I go to the grocery store, I relaxed with my new friend. He’s coming home with me.

Today is May 1, May Day. “May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i!” I still can’t find a lei that fits me, but I can sit INSIDE a lei. Good enough? Yeah, it’s made of real flowers! I’m posing with one of the two most commonly seen lei types in the islands; these dendrobium orchid leis are everywhere. The pineapple throne I sit on is made of Maui-grown pineapples, and they are a lot sweeter and more intense than mainland pineapples.

The tag on the pineapples. When they say ‘extra sweet,’ they are -not- kidding.

I wasn’t kidding when I said local people in Hawai’i love spam!! Did you know there were even this many different flavors available? Can you find me in this picture? I should probably try harder to hide...

The postal carriers are having a food drive day soon, I suggested that we could donate a couple cases of spam. Kanani agreed with me that that was a good idea, and says that that’s what she already does every year! You might be wondering what the spam sushi looking thing next to me is. It is called spam musubi, and it’s bigtime popular with local people in Hawai’i. It’s convenient and so delicious.

Next stop: the poke counter. I was at the grocery store mid afternoon, so you can see how crazy popular poke is here - they’re almost out of all that shoyu poke, and this is even a touristy town! (which means it has a lot of visitors, and they don’t tend to eat poke…) Lucky for Kanani, they still had lots of the spicy poke (the paler stuff in the middle.) Mmm. Yes, all of this is cubed raw ahi (tuna) fish.

Couldn’t be in Hawai’i without at least posing with some poi for a picture.

And now for something completely different. In the That’s Amazingly Random category, the store had these pac-man cakes.

Mmm, mochi. By the way, this is a regular grocery store I’m in; it’s not any specialty store. Mochi is just a regular, ordinary thing in Hawai’i.

Leis are not made only just from flowers. They’re made from other things, too. Here’s some lei made with candy, some with little packages of mac nuts, and some made with ribbon (representing local school colors.) See me?

Kanani posed with the poke bowl (poke on top over a layer of hot fresh white rice) and the spam musubi when we got home.

Mmm, spam musubi. Not so tasty: shrink wrap!

Mmm, plate lunch. This is the “Hawaiian” plate from Da Kitchen. Kanani’s favorite plate lunch is chicken katsu from L&L, but she says she also loves saimin, which apparently looks like ramen? I hope I get to try it. 

Your average plate lunch has two scoops of white rice, a meat, and a scoop of macaroni salad. No mac salad here, but two scoops of white rice? Check! The soup-looking stuff is “chicken long rice.” The stuff next to me looks like pico de gallo, doesn’t it? but if that’s what you’re expecting it to be when you eat it, you’re in for a big surprise. It’s lomi salmon! 

The leaf-covered item in the lower left is pork lau lau. Pork and some butterfish are wrapped in taro leaves, which are wrapped in ti leaves. You don’t eat those tough outer ti leaves - take them off and toss them away first! They’re just a wrapper. In the lower right of the container is the best part: the kalua pig! Traditionally, kalua pig is made by slow roasting a whole pig in an underground oven all day. It’s smoky, very tender, and very delicious. Notice that the soy sauce is “Aloha” brand? That’s not an accident. Hawaii has been heavily influenced by big waves of first Chinese, then later Japanese people who came here a hundred years ago to work in the sugar cane and pineapple plantations. I think they’ve been making Aloha brand soy sauce since maybe the forties?

To see more of Josie’s adventures, click here to view her Travel Log!


  1. Wow-what a fascinating account of all the different foods! I have been to Hawaii several times myself, and sampled some of these dishes, but the way you put everything together was so informative, like a food travelogue. So many kinds of spam! Was the musubi good? I like a good moco loco myself. The little pineapple friend is a perfect souvenir for Josie, and Kanani looks serene and lovely. Thank you for this very interesting, fun entry in Josie's travel diary.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Alice! Josie's host really knows how to tempt the taste buds! I've never been to Hawaii myself but after seeing all these photos her host sent me, I feel like I must go, if only for the food! ^_^

  2. I'm reading this post with my Kanani and she won't stop screaming "MUSUBI!!"

    1. Hahaha! You know what you have to do right? There's no help for it. You'll either have to learn to make musubi or take a quick jaunt to the islands. Kanani will be appeased! ^_^

  3. I lived in Kihei for a year. It was lovely, the plumeria blossoms smell heavenly! I still don't like Spam though . . . Perhaps I should return to Maui and try it again. You know, just to be certain. ;)

    1. Hahaha! It looks like that's your only option! How else can you be certain unless you go back and try it again? ^_~