Costco is a big deal in Hawaii. Everyone loves Costco because they do a great job stocking the local, Hawaii-only eats! Here's what to get at Costco Hawaii.
The famous macadamia nuts at Costco Hawaii
There's no place like Costco on a Sunday morning in Hawaii.
It is packed. Costco is busy on all days and at all hours. But come on a Sunday morning and it's like wow. You're also guaranteed to run into people. Your middle school friend's mom! Your former co-worker! Your cousin! You get the point ^_^
"Going Costco" in Hawaii is like a really fun, non competitive sport. The samples are abundant, the people are nice (I miss the sample lady who always said, "it's so good, it makes you want to go yeeeeee haw!!" I haven't seen her in years, but she always made our visits feel extra special.)
Aside from getting great deals, Costco Hawaii makes a point to carry the good local stuff. The seafood section has fresh poke, they have local baked goods, snacks, and savory foods. If you're visiting Hawaii for an extended period and plan to cook, stop by Costco and stock up on local goods. Also stop by Costco on your way to the airport to bring back fun Hawaii food gifts!
Below are the Costco Hawaii items we often purchase (I also noted options you can buy online in case you can't make it to Costco Hawaii in person):
I always pack this four-pack box of hurricane popcorn when I fly back to SF or NYC. It's good to keep a few emergency packages at home (never know when someone will stop by), and people love it when you give it as little snack gifts. Everyone loves hurricane popcorn and this kit makes it easy.
Hurricane Popcorn Online
Costco Hawaii carries the 32 ounce size of lomi lomi salmon from Taro Brand. Made from tomatoes, salted salmon, onions, and green onions, lomi lomi salmon is a refreshing "salad" that is essential to any Hawaiian meal.
Spam gets all the media attention, but we eat just as much (if not more) Portuguese sausage. Redondo's the main Hawaii Portuguese sausage company (been around since 1949), it's the tasty stuff.
I like it best at breakfast. Make rice, scramble eggs, and slice (like quarter inch thickness) and panfry the sausages. Sometimes I fry up several slices for afternoon snack. Hits the spot good.
You know that miso black cod that Nobu's made so famous? We've been eating that for years in Hawaii. We don't treat it as a fancy dish, but something we make at home for a weeknight dinner. It's easy to make your own (Miso Butterfish recipe here) but if you want one that's already marinated (all you have to do is put in the oven for 15 minutes), Costco Hawaii has miso butterfish ready to go.
Remember this saimin post? Stock up on all the fresh saimin noodles you need at Costco Hawaii! These big packs comes in handy when we have a bunch of friends/family over for saimin lunches. They also hold well in the freezer.
Visitors love them, locals love them, and all the Chinese grandparents really love them! These Mauna Loa macadamia nuts come in a pack of six small jars, good for snacking or gift giving. The nuts are roasted and you can get them plain, salted, or in sweet and savory flavors.
Macadamia Nuts Online
We always kept a six pack of this lau lau in the freezer growing up. It made for great lazy day meals when no one felt like cooking (though don't forget to make rice 🙂 ). Lau lau is made of fatty pork and salted butterfish wrapped in lu'au leaves and ti leaves. It's bundled into a little package and steamed. Lau lau is one of my favorite Hawaiian foods! Bigger post about lau lau here.
See that sign? Fresh Poke Made Daily! Costco has great quality food across the board, and that also goes for their housemade poke. You'll typically find ahi poke, but they sometimes also have poke made with other types of fish and seafood as well!
Grab a container, go back to the apt/home and cook rice. Cold poke + hot rice = classic Hawaii lunch/dinner. Here's everything you need to know about poke in Hawaii.
Kakimochi / Arare / Mochi Crunch
We eat lots of kakimochi in Hawaii. Kakimochi also goes by the name arare and mochi crunch! I hear them all equally.
Eat kakimochi plain as a snack, use it to make you own version of hurricane popcorn, make kakimochi cookies (which are very popular in Hawaii, it's like a crushed kakimochi studded shortbread), and even just toss it with li hing mui.
Costco on Oahu, Big Island, and Maui
My go-to Costco location is Costco Iwilei in Honolulu (Oahu). This is one of the largest locations, they have the most stuff and the newest stuff. I'd consider it the "main" Costco in Hawaii. It's conveniently close to the Honolulu airport.
There are also Costco locations on the Big Island and Maui. Each island may offer island-specific treats and it is fun browsing all the food sections to uncover these gems.
Ok, go enjoy Costco Hawaii! I'll keep updating this list with more good local eats ^_^