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Jul 11, 2008 01:37 PM

Moving to Oahu... Please Help Me Stock The Pantry

Fellow Hounds I look forward to discovering all the gastronomic pleasures that await in beautiful Hawaii... but first order of business... i will need to figure out where the stock the kitchen. What are the best places to buy:

> Locally Grown Produce (Any suggested cookbooks for unique Hawaiian items?)
> Asian Produce (Bok Choy, Brocoli etc.,)
> Meats (Everything from Steaks to Oxtails, Pig Ears, Game Birds etc.,)
> Fish & Shellfish
> Belgian Style Ales & Microbrews
> Fine Wines
> Spirits... Fine Single Source Tequila, Rum, Scotch and Liquers
> European Style Cheeses (Roquefort, Gouda etc.,)
> Mexican Ingredients (Other than Mercado de la Raza)
> Fine Deli Items (Jamon, Prosciutto etc.,)
> Spices & Dried Herbs
> Legumes, Grains & Flours

Ideally we are taking about non-glitzy places that have products superior to what you find at Whole Foods, without the marketing b.s., and at much lower prices!

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  1. For Asian produce and fish and shellfish - I was impressed with Don Quijote and Marukai.

    Be sure to check out the Japanese dept store Shirokiya!

    1. I lived on north shore of Oahu 18 years ago ~ last visit was 1993. Being used to the Bay Area and eveything readily available, I had a hard time adjusting to living there. I was lucky enough to have mango, papaya and avocado trees on the property, but pretty much the only place to shop was at the Foodland past Waimea Bay, across from Shark's Cove.

      Back to town ... there is the Saturday Farmer’s Market at KCC (Kapi’olani Community College), 4303 Diamond Head Road. Their hours are 7:30 – 11am. URLs with more information:

      For Asian produce, try the shops in Chinatown. It is relatively small by San Francisco and Oakland standards, but I will bet you'll find your oxtails and pig ears there.

      Kokua Market Natural Foods Co-Op, 2643 S. King Street carries grass-fed beef.

      Fish & Shellfish: Tamashiro Market, 802 N King St.

      For Belgian Style Ales & Microbrews / Fine Wines / Spirits... Fine Single Source Tequila, Rum, Scotch and Liquers, check Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquors, 1216 10TH Ave Honolulu, HI 96816

      Don Quijote, 801 Kaheka Street is an Asian/American supermarket one-stop shop. Reputed to have the best Mexican section of any other grocery stores there.

      Couldn't really help with:

      European Style Cheeses (Roquefort, Gouda etc.,)
      Fine Deli Items (Jamon, Prosciutto etc.,)
      Spices & Dried Herbs
      Legumes, Grains & Flours

      ... although you might check these markets. They may carry those items:

      Down To Earth Natural Foods (
      )2525 S. King Street (across from Starmarket near University)

      Umeke Market Natural Foods & Deli (
      )4400 Kalanianaole Hwy, Kahala

      Foodland (chain), 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. They are everywhere, but this one is downtown.

      I made a good map that references the places above. Also included links for Marukai, but there seems to be more than one ~ Marukai on Ward, and Marukai Wholesale Mart on Kam Hwy.

      Link to the map:


      5 Replies
      1. re: AntarcticWidow

        Aloha indeed! Mahalo that was very generous of you... we will spend the first few months in Downtown... so most of those places will be extremely convenient!

        1. re: AntarcticWidow

          "Don Quijote, 801 Kaheka Street is an Asian/American supermarket one-stop shop. Reputed to have the best Mexican section of any other grocery stores there."

          I got out to Don Qi a couple of weeks ago and have some observations:

          There is indeed, oddly a Mexican section... its small no more than 10ft long of an aisle. It obviously has less items than Mercado de la Raza, but it did have somethings worth mentioning.

          > They have Nopales in a Jar by Dona Maria. I normally wouldn't get too excited about packaged version but if you know how to treat them... drain then marinade in either vinagrette or citrus... they will work fairly well in salads. Or if you want to cook with them... you drain very well then sautee or braise with strong flavors... eliminating the briny taste with okay texture.

          > They have also have Clemente Jacques brand Jalapenos.... as well as La Sierra brand refrieds which are quite superior to more widely available brands like La Costena, El Mexicano etc.,

          > They also carry Mexican Dry Pasta. Now I am not suggesting anybody get too excited about Mexican Pasta there isn't anything THAT unique about it other than its top notch, 100% Durum wheat and sells for much less than imported Italian or American brands. In addition, some of the shapes like Stars, ABCs, Melon Seeds etc., are good for the deliciously simple Pasta Soups that Mexican kids grow up with. I will make one of these for my daughter next week... and will post recipes on the my Cooking Mexican in Hawaii thread.

          Outside of the "Mexican Section" there are many nice ingredients at Don Qi that are used in Mexico's Regional Specialties:

          > Very High Quality Thin Steaks (some of it Wagyu)... are well adapted to make Tacos
          > Smoked Marlin for Cabo or Sinaloa style Marlin Tacos
          > Very fresh Oysters for Oysters on the Half Shell with Salsa Verde
          > A great abundance of interesting cuts of Flesh widely used in Mexico... Oxtails, Tongue, Goat, Pheasant etc., etc.,

          I will get more specific as I use ingredients purchased at Don Qi in my cooking.

          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            yes, DQ is an interesting place to shop. I lived about 2 blocks away forever ago (it was still holiday mart back then). I miss it from time to time, never sure what you might find. Like a lot of places, don't get too attached to any one product, it may or may not be there next time you go back, but it's usually worth the trip. A lot of the produce is better than you find in other markets, and almost as reasonable as Chinalown. Also the bakery (used to be) pretty good. And if you want a rice cooker, thats definitely the place to go.

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              I don't know what most Supermarket concepts are like in Japan... but Don Qi felt comfortingly similar to the typical Mexican Supermarkets (like Gigante etc.,) in that you have your Cell Phone service vendors, Pharmaceuticals etc., in the front, Furntiure, Equipment, Media sections... large Produce section, large Meat section with lots of variety... etc., the only thing missing... is that in Mexico with labor being so cheap... there are tons of employees all around the store providing information & tastes tests on products etc.,

            2. re: Eat_Nopal

              Update on Don Quijote...

              Do do carry a couple of pedestrian Mexican cheeses.... the Cacique brand versions of Manchego & Queso Fresco / Ranchero.

              They also have the Japanese version of English / Canadian style Back bacon & Hawaii made Chorizo that is nice & lean like it is typically made in Mexico.

          2. Wow, authentic Mexican/South American meets Hawaiian cuisine.

            Do not have recs. on markets, etc., but cannot wait for your reviews. You have contributed so wonderfully on many threads, and I look forward to your weighing in on them all.

            Wish I had some help for you, but look forward to your observations in the future.



            1. Wow, good luck, eat nopal!
              I look forward to hearing about your pacific island food adventures, and make sure that you keep the great mexican tips coming, too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: vvvindaloo

                Thanks BH & VV... I look forward to reporting on many stuff.

              2. Aloha Nopal

                You have been here a few times, so I know you are ready for some level of frustration. Some things you just won't be able to find, others only able to find sometime. And the "small" whole foods doesn't open till sometime this fall. the new safeway in Kapahulu has a fairly wide cheese selection - along with a wider selection of a lot of other goods. As you know our hispanic population is thin, so those foods are going to be the most problematic. As far as "deli foods", well.... let us know if you find any. In addition to Tamuras listed above, check out Fujiokas. A smaller selection, but sometimes one will have what the other does not. Hope things work out well for you.

                1 Reply
                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  Thanks... are there any Portugese shops that might specialize in aged sausages & hams etc.,?