Crack Seed Store in Kaimuki (Oahu) is a legendary mom-and-pop shop known for li hing icees and crack seed (preserved, salted fruit snacks) offered by the pound.
Mr. Young and jars and jars of crack seed. My mouth is watering!
What is a “Crack Seed Store”?
Li hing icee (half-coke, half-strawberry), ready to drink
Crack Seed Store
These are both true:
- “Crack Seed Store” is the name of a store in the Kaimuki neighborhood of Oahu.
- “Crack Seed Stores” are what you call shops in Hawaii that sell crack seed.
Everyone loves the Crack Seed Store 🙂
What Is Crack Seed?
Glad you asked ^_^
“Crack seed” is a very Hawaii term. I’ve never heard of it outside of Hawaii. It refers to a category of salty-sour-sweet snacks centered around preserved fruits (mostly plums, mangoes, and lemons). These are several popular crack seed items:
- Li Hing Mui (which has many subcategories)
- Sweet li hing mui, salted li hing mui, red li hing mui
- Li hing mango, li hing cherry…basically li hing anything
- Lemon Peel
- Wet lemon peel, rock salt lemon, li hing lemon peel
- Pickled mango, dried mango, li hing mango, wet mango
This list could be 100x longer and more details, but you get the point. We’ll do a more detailed crack seed post soon.
What Is Crack Seed Store?
Crack Seed Store is where you go to buy crack seed. All the crack seed is kept in big glass jars. You just choose the one(s) you want, and decide on the weight (they’re usually sold by the quarter pound).
It’s like the candy-by-the-pound stores in the mall…but better. Much better.
Entrance to Crack Seed Store on Koko Head Avenue
Where Is Crack Seed Store?
Hawaii has multiple crack seed stores (we had a lot more, but many closed in the past decades), and today we are focusing on the Crack Seed Store in Kaimuki.
Kaimuki is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Oahu. My mom’s office used to be in Kaimuki, so I’d take the bus to Kaimuki after school. Get dropped off at 12th Avenue, pick up the latest Archie Comic at Gecko’s (in the original Waialae Avenue location), and then purchase a small li hing icee from Crack Seed Store. Comics and icee in hand, I’d just walk to my mom’s office a block away. What a life!
Scooping up lemon peel crack seed, sold by the quarter pound
What Makes Crack Seed Store Special
Crack Seed Store (like Tasaka Guri Guri in Maui) is a true Hawaii mom and pop business. They’ve been around for over 50 years, operated by the same family (you will see Mr. Young when you are there!), and little has changed in that time. Crack Seed Store was here before I was born and I hope it will still be here long after.
Talk to anyone who was born and raised in Hawaii and they’ll likely have their own story and memories about the crack seed store
What To Get At Crack Seed Store
We always get two things when we stop by the Crack Seed Store (which we do weekly):
Scooping the li hing mui and li hing mui juices into the icee!
Li Hing Icee
First decide on the size. I get the small size icee. Then decide what flavor: Coke or Strawberry? Did you know you can get both? Yes! Mixed together. That’s what I do. Then, you want to li hing (like it’s a verb) it.
First he fills the icee cup halfway with coke or strawberry. Then he opens up the wet li hing mui jar and scoops in some of the li hing “juice” AND a single li hing mui (with the seed) into the half-filled cup. Then he fills it to the top with more coke or strawberry icee. Then, pau! Your li hing icee (best thing ever) is ready to drink.
I usually drink the icee first and then save the li hing mui for the very end. Then I suck/chew the li hing mui and spit out the seed. Maybe keep a napkin nearby. This drink is extra amazing on a hot day.
Several crack seed treats including lemon peel, wet mango, and li hing mui powder
On every visit I also pick one “treat.” Will it be dried li hing mango today? Wet mango? Perhaps more li hing powder? Wet lemon peel? Perhaps king mui or li hing kakimochi (this one is really good). They have about 90 different types of crack seed, which is pretty amazing.
If you can’t decide, don’t be shy about asking for suggestions. Mr. Young is also super nice with samples if you are curious. I always buy a quarter pound serving of each because I know I’ll be back again next week (and also because I have no self control and if I get more, I’ll eat more). But if I’m going on a long trip, then I’ll load up with multiple treats ^_^
Li hing icees for two
Crack Seed Store: Insider Tips
- There are two main parking lots and lots of street parking nearby.
- They take credit card, but it’s better to pay in cash (especially when you’re getting one li hing icee, it’s only a few dollars).
- Other walkable places to visit by Crack Seed Store: Pipeline Bakery for pumpkin crunch and hot malasadas, Aki Restaurant for Japanese lunch, Moke’s Bread & Breakfast and Koko Head Cafe for breakfast/brunch.
- Go-to order: one li hing icee, half-coke and half-strawberry
Crack Seed Store: Info
- Crack Seed Store | 1156 Koko Head Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816 | 808-737-1022
- Price: Icee $2.50-3, Crack seed $3.50-6.50 per quarter pound
- Hours: Monday-Saturday (9am-9pm), Sunday (10am-7pm)