Friday, February 9, 2018

Nanea's Hawaiian Care Package

Direct from Hawaii to DC!

Last up on our trip around the world is somewhere a little closer to home… for some of us, anyway: Hawaii! 

I’ve mentioned before that my Aunt Diane and Uncle Greg lived in Hawaii for several years while my uncle was stationed at Pearl Harbor. I was complaining about how it was hard to find guava products and macadamia nuts in my neighborhood because I’ve really been wanting to make guava bread, and Diane surprised me with a care package filled with Hawaiian goodies to try out, or get reacquainted with! 

They’ve since moved back to the northeast (hopefully for good!), but it was a lot of fun to get to sample these treats and remember the fun times I had visiting them while they lived in Hawaii.

A lot of the things we think of as authentically Hawaiian are actually imports to the islands. This includes pineapples, guava, macadamia nuts, and coconuts. Many of these crops became associated with Hawaii because they thrive in the tropical climate, which made them popular on various plantations and farms throughout the island. Today, you can still enjoy treats featuring these goodies all over the islands. 

One crop that might not immediately come to mind when you think of Hawaii are onions. Sweet onions were first developed in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, with several states claiming they were the first to produce these tasty veggies. Maui onions are small, sweet onions that are extremely tasty to eat in any form, and they make for delicious flavored potato chips.

Maui Style Maui onion chips are crunchy and addictive, with just the right amount of onion flavor. You can find these on the mainland, but they’re definitely not as common, which is both a good and bad thing. Good, because my brother and I finished this bag pretty darn quickly when I first opened it up.

Next up are the guava macadamia nut cookies from Kauai Kookies. Kauai Kookies was founded in 1965 by Mabel Hashisaka. Although she’s retired, the company is still family owned, and currently run by her two daughters. 

I’m pretty sure my aunt and I stopped by one of their storefronts when I was visiting her over the summer. They have three different locations on Kauai, and you can order their products directly from their website.

The box my aunt sent contained eight cookies, which were a pretty decent size and dyed a pale pink, the way a lot of guava flavored products are. They were just slightly fruity and very sweet, with a nice snap to them.

Kauai Kookies has a nice variety of flavors for their classic cookies, including chocolate chip, coconut, and Kona coffee flavored varieties, as well as plain macadamia nut. I’m tempted to place an order for more now that I’ve polished off the box Diane sent me! 

Next up were Cook Kwees Maui Cookies, a shortbread cookie with macadamia nuts in them. Unfortunately, the package got a little banged up in transport.

However, the cookies were delicious. Not to say the Kauai cookies weren’t, because they were, but there’s something so nice about a good shortbread, don’t you think?

My next treat was Island Princess guava jam, which has made for some very yummy toast since I opened it. Island Princess is a company that’s primarily famous for their chocolate and macadamia nut products, but they also produce other treats, including mango and pineapple jam. Again, you can order this directly from their website if you’d like to try it yourself.

And last but definitely not least, Hawaiian Sun strawberry guava pancake mix! I was really interested to see what this tasted like. Hawaiian Sun is another Hawaiian company founded in the fifties, starting in 1952 as papaya farmers. They’ve expanded to offer a variety of fruit based products, such as juices, and lots of different breakfast mixes!

It’s very simple to make, too. Half a cup of water, and you had your batter ready to go.

The packet only made about five or six large pancakes, which is also a novelty. Most pancake recipes account for quite a few more, which can turn making them into a major chore, not to mention you’re then left with a ton of leftovers if you’re not making them for a big group. 

I really don’t love making pancakes (which is probably making my mom laugh to hear, considering I never understood why pancakes weren’t a more popular breakfast at my house growing up) because they take forever, and by the time you’re finished making them, your stack is usually cold. This was a really nice change of pace, and I’d happily make it again for one or two other people. 

The fruit flavor wasn’t overpowering, and I’d maybe go as far as to say that it was subtle, which is fine by me. Sometimes fruit flavored baked goods are too strongly fruit flavored for me, and considering this flavoring is occasionally artificial, it can be off putting. I didn’t find that the case here at all, and would be really interested to try some of their other mixes to see what they’re like.

So there you have it! A fun care package from our 50th state. Thanks again for sending it to me, Di! (And sorry it’s taken such a long time to show up on the blog… I promise I’m all caught up now!) 

Although most of these brands aren’t something Nanea would have been familiar with until she was an adult, I’m sure she still would have gotten a kick out of them. Plus, it’s given me some fun ideas for future desserts to try my own hand at! I’m sure homemade guava cookies would be tasty, too. 

Plus, if you don’t happen to have friends or family in the Aloha State, most of these products are available direct from the companies or on Amazon. If you give them a shot, let me know what you think!

I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!


  1. Lovely! I lived on Maui for awhile and I still miss raw macadamia nuts and fresh guava.

    1. I miss the fresh coconut! Coring my own is always such a pain, sometimes literally...

  2. How fun! I've never been to Hawaii, but I hope to visit it someday. Where I live, we have a few Japanese grocery stores and they actually stock Hawaiian products as well, so I've tried some of these products myself. I love maui onion potato chips--they're definitely addicting! And now I'm curious about those pancakes. I'll look for them next time I go shopping!

    1. I hope you find some! They were a really nice treat. I'd really like to try some of the other flavors one day.