KCC Farmers’ Market (Saturday mornings) is Hawaii’s most popular farmers’ market, loved by locals and tourists. These are my favorite food/drinks at the market.
Welcome to the KCC Farmers’ Market!
This market is big and has GOOD food. But you must come prepared. Bring sunglasses and a hat. Make sure you have on sunscreen. The market is crowded. Crowded with local and tourists so patience is required. The rewards are worth it. Fresh grilled abalone, fried green tomatoes, bowls of phở, onigiri, sugarcane juice, and more.
What to Eat at KCC Farmers’ Market
This list below notes all the regulars stops I make at the market, but please stop by any (perhaps all!) the vendors. Each one has something special to offer be it local fruits, mochi and musubi, or ginger ale sodas. The vendors rotate often, so let me know if you see something new ^_^
Kona Abalone is mom and dad’s favorite stand at the market. They offer local abalone from Kona (on the Big Island).
We like to get the three abalone sampler for $20. They grill the abalone and then you get one each of…
…the plain, the garlic-butter (most popular flavor), and miso-garlic. It’s one of the pricier treats at the market but well worth a try.
This is where we get our vegetables. Ho Farms supplies a lot of great Hawaii restaurants, and being able to access their goods on a retail level is a treat. We love the tomatoes (top photo of this post), and they grow so many different kinds. Also the finger limes, okra (pictured above), beets, and allllll the good Asian vegetables.
Pig and the Lady
Pig and the Lady is a popular restaurant in Chinatown (they have a sister restaurant called Piggy Smalls in Kaka’ako, and they’re opening a second Pig and the Lady in Tokyo). They’ve gotten big but happily still show up at the market every Saturday. Menu offerings change weekly (check their instagram for specials), but you can always count on a great bowl of noodle soup be it phở, bún riêu, or another Vietnamese favorite.
I like to try as many different things as possible on each visit (there is just so much to eat). But the one item that is ALWAYS on my eat/drink list is ginger ale from Pacifikool.
They make a many different flavors, but I drink the classic Island Ginger Ale (ginger syrup, lime, and carbonated water) most often…
…and sometimes switch it up with a special flavor. The one above is called Superkool and has spirulina and matcha.
There’s also the orchid lady (she’s at the back corner of the market). We get an orchid from her on each visit…sometimes we get it for the house, or for my grandma or one of my mom’s clients. The orchid lady is sweet and kind, and her orchids make us happy.
Nosh is a newer vendor at the market, and they makes pão de queijo sandwiches. The bread is fresh baked at the market so you get it hot! Each one is a nice three-bite size (so you can try more things 🙂 ). Pão de queijo is a Brazilian cheese bread…at first it seems odd to offer Brazilian bread at a Hawaii market till you realize that it tastes like a mochi cheese bread! And you know we love everything that’s remotely mochi-esque in Hawaii. You can also buy their pão de queijo frozen to bake off at home.
Big Wave Tomato
Pesto grilled pizza! Big Wave Tomato has been at this market since the very start and it is still one of my favorites. They smear on lots of pesto, the top with local tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Then it gets grilled! Hits the spot so good.
Next to the orchid lady is the coffee jelly people. They’re mainly sell coffee, but they also make a coffee jelly drink that is veerryy delicious. Coffee jelly on the bottom, milk in the middle, and whipped cream on top. Mix it well.
Mix, mix, mix…and drink up!
Two Hot Tomatoes
Like Big Wave Tomato (the grilled pizza vendor), Two Hot Tomatoes is also one of the OG market vendors. They’re famous for fried green tomatoes, fried zucchini, and fried sweet onions. I like ordering a combo of half-green tomatoes and half-sweet onions.
Soft-Serve and Frozen Yogurt
There are two main soft-serve and frozen yogurt vendors at the market. There’s the macadamia nut soft-serve (pictured above)…
…and the one I really like which offers papaya frozen yogurt.
Pictured above is papaya on the left and coconut-ube on the right. If you want to get fancy, you can order the frozen yogurt on a fresh papaya half. Enjoy and eat lots ^_^
KCC Farmers’ Market: Insider Tips
- Bring hat and sunscreen. It is HOT. Especially if you go anytime after 9am
- Bring napkins/wet naps. There’s lot of eating with your hands and things tend to get messy.
- Transportation – driving is ideal (parking lot is packed but you always manage to get a space), but you can also take the bus (lots of lines running from Waikiki), or Uber over.
- Bring cash.
- The earlier, the better. Popular food items sell out on the early side AND it gets blazing hot after 9am.
- Bring a friend and snack around! Best way to try more things is to share them.
- The market has equal parts prepared food/snacks (you definitely have to have a meal or two while here) and actual farmers’ market veggies and fruits.
Info: KCC Farmers’ Market | 4303 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816 | kapiolani.hawaii.edu/project/farmers-market
Price: Ranges from $3 coffee to $20 abalone. Lots of samples! 🙂
Hours: Saturdays 7:30-11:30am (there is a Tuesday night market, but that one isn’t as good)