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Off Track: 11 Hawai‘i General Stores You Must Visit

March 7, 2021
Eugene Kim photograph from flickr

From the Honolulu Magazine website

Butter mochi and spam musubi on the counter, still warm in the plastic wrapper. Fresh poke mixed before your eyes. Curious house specialties, local products of wit and whimsy … You’ve got to love Hawai‘i’s hole-in-the-wall general stores.

Humble to the point of ramshackle, they’ve earned a place in our hearts for all those drive-around-the-island days of our youth, when we were starving and pooled damp dollar bills for a picnic spread on the overheated hood of a Toyota.

Sometimes, though, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” as Joni Mitchell reminded us. So when’s the last time you hugged Fort Ruger Market, Ching’s or Kahuku Superette? Isn’t it time you went back?

With that in mind—and hoping you can go home again—the HONOLULU team hit the road for a tasting tour. Our criteria were strict: groceries with grinds (aka no TP, no rating); some kind of food special that earned the hype; and, of course, local to the max. Some of our old favorites no longer exist; perhaps, overwhelmed by competition, they threw in the towel. But jewels in the rough abound, as you’ll see in these pages:

From → Off Track

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