Food Gifts from Hawaii
I live in New York and have a friend who is visiting Hawaii. I would love some suggestions for food items that travel well (candy, sauces, jams, etc.) that she could bring back to NY for me. I LOVE to get my hands on new things. Thanks in advance.
It really depends on what you like. When I visit Hawaii, I often bring back: mac nuts (there are tons of different flavors, so I get a variety pack), dried seafood (dried cuttlefish/squid, etc.), jams/jellies/butters (lilikoi/passion fruit, guava, poha berry, etc.), coconut syrup (lots of people on the mainland love this stuff), seasoning salt blends, coconut balls (the bright red ones), etc. For myself, I also bring back mochi crunch (arare) in bulk, li hing flavored stuff (fruit, gummy candy, etc.), crack seed (preserved plums and other fruits usually sweet and salty), Kauai Cookies (shortbread with mac nuts - YUM), pipikaula (dried seasoned beef that I've frozen for transport). In the old days I'd also bring mochi, Liliha Bakery cocoa puffs, etc., but the liquid/gel bans have made that kind of stuff more difficult.
Be sure your friend remembers what can go in carry on, and what has to be checked. A friend's sister recently bought jellies and jams to bring back to the mainland. Alas she ignored her brother's advice and tried to bring about a dozen jars in her carry-on luggage. By the time she was done arguing with TSA it was too late to check the jars and she had to dump all of them in the trash.
ps: have your friend find a crack seed store (wholesale unlimited is one of the more popular). Lots of interesting snacks. http://www.cybersnacks.net/index.html
We stumbled across the Honolulu Cookie Company, which sells small pineapple-shaped shortbread cookies in a variety of flavors. The ones which we liked the most were the tropical fruit ones: pineapple-macadamia, lilikoi (passionfruit)-mango and mango-macadamia. There are several outlets throughout the islands (several in Waikiki and one at Ala Moana). The coffee-flavored ones are really good, too. We bought these as gifts for our relatives and friends.
In addition to what has already been recommended, I would suggest having your friend visit the Farmer's Market at Kapiolani College. My favorites are Pahoa Jam, Big Island Bees Ohi'a Lihua Blossom honey (seriously, buy the big jar, because it is THE best honey). All of the honey there is great! Kaiulani Spices (locally made spices, I love the Hawaiian blend and the curry). You can get 100% Kona coffee there.
I am also a closet fan of the yummiest syrup ever: coconut syrup. Pancakes will never be the same again. You can get this at Safeway and ABC store.
Kapiolani Community College Farmer's Market
Honolulu, HI, Honolulu, HI
Another good thing is strawberry syrup from Maui. It's really good mixed with balsamic vinegar for salads. You can get it at KCC farmer's market. If the Alii Kula lavender people are there they
sell some amazing products (food and non-food) they come the last weekend of every month.
The too sell a strawberry syrup made with lavender although it's not strongly lavender which I
find a good thing.
I agree the honey from the market is fabulous, there are so many varieties to choose from, they
have samples of them to try.