Longs Drugs is pharmacy and drug store chain in Hawaii. It’s technically owned by CVS, but all locals call it, “Longs.” It’s a beloved local brand for many reasons. These are the 15 best local snacks from Longs Drugs!
CVS bought Longs Drugs in 2008. They renamed all Longs Drugs locations as CVS. Then all of Hawaii got real mad. Mad enough so that CVS promptly renamed them all back as Longs Drugs. Local brand loyalty is strong.
Longs Drugs is a drug store (same like CVS, Walgreens, Duane Reade, etc). But in Hawaii it is much more than that. The first location opened in 1954 in downtown Honolulu. Today, there are almost 70 locations spread across the Hawaiian islands.
It’s our pharmacy, but more importantly, it’s where we go for many local pantry ingredients, odds and ends, and snacks! Not just the ordinary stuff you can find at CVS locations on the mainland. But the good stuff. This includes fresh baked goods like sweet bread from Ani’s and manju (some flown in from other islands), chili from Zippy’s, saimin, and all the li hing mui snacks you can dream of.
Below, 15 Hawaii-only items from Longs Drugs!
Hurricane Popcorn (pictured at top) was the very first post on the blog ^_^. Hurricane Popcorn is wonderful and very snackable, made of popcorn, butter, furikake, and kakimochi (also called mochi crunch). There are multiple ways to get Hurricane Popcorn:
- Make your own hurricane popcorn at home (recipe in this post)
- Buy the microwave and shake mix
- Buy a fresh batch made in stores (Carousel Candyland in Kahala Mall makes my favorite)
- Or buy this pre-packaged one (pictured above!) from the market. I can confirm this also makes an excellent plane snack.
Furikake Chex Mix
Remember the Furikake Chex Mix recipe we posted about? It’s so much fun to make at home (it’s also a great group activity), but if you’d rather just eat it…no worries! Longs has you covered with ready made Furikake Chex Mix.
Hawaiian Sea Salt
We always keep Hawaiian Sea Salt at home and use it in many recipes on this blog:
If you’re in Hawaii, just pick up a bag from Longs. They have multiple types of Hawaiian Sea Salt, both red and white (taste is similar, just a matter of personal preference). If you’re not in Hawaii, you can order Hawaiian Sea Salt online – this is one I like.
Shoyu / Soy Sauce
We have our own local brand of shoyu (soy sauce) in Hawaii. It’s called Aloha Shoyu and you can find all the different versions at Longs. Bonus: you can find pretty much all the standard asian condiments at Longs in Hawaii! From wasabi to oyster sauce and chili sauce…Longs has it all.
Funny story: my parents were recently in SF and prepared sashimi for lunch. There was no wasabi in the apartment, so naturally they went to a nearby CVS to get wasabi. Imagine their surprise when they couldn’t find any wasabi there! They walked to two other nearby places before just deciding to take a car to the Japanese market. If you’re not at an asian market, asian pantry ingredients are surprisingly difficult to find on the mainland. I guess we are spoiled in Hawaii because asian ingredients are at all local markets, drugstores, and convenience stores!
Long Rice (for Chicken Long Rice)
These long rice noodles are the key ingredient to local style Chicken Long Rice. From homes to school cafeterias and all the good Hawaian restaurants, you can find Chicken Long Rice everywhere in Hawaii. This is why you’ll find long rice at Longs! They often have a sale on long rice and that’s when we stock up on many, many packages :).
Ani’s Sweet Bread
When I was living in NYC, I often explained to friends that local sweet bread is like the Hawaii version of challah…only tastier! It’s egg, just a tad bit sweet and buttery. The best kind is baked in a pull-apart circular loaf. Pull out a wedge and snack away. The top crust/skin layer is the best part…all the little kids (and many adults) eat that part first 🙂 This bread is also super good toasted.
Remember the POG juice post? You can find many different types of POG at Longs. There’s canned POG from the Hawaiian Maid and Aloha Sun brands, “fresh” refrigerated POG, and even a POG powder mix you can make at home.
Next stop, Zippy’s! We have a whole post devoted to Zippy’s aka Hawaii’s local diner. Zippy’s is famous for chili (many say the secret ingredient is mayo). They sell multiple types of chili…and you can find them all frozen at Longs. Chili with beans? No beans? Vegetarian chili? There’s a chili for every eater. Just make sure to cook rice at home. Because in Hawaii, we eat chili poured over rice.
Saimin! We mention saimin in so many posts (the ultimate saimin post, saimin at Liliha Bakery, Zippy’s, Sam Sato’s, Hamura Saimin, and even Sun Noodle). Long’s sells the Okahara’s saimin packs. It comes with the noodles and soup base. Keep it in the freezer for anytime you’re craving saimin at home.
Longs is a great place to stock up on omiyage (little gifts to take home from your trip to Hawaii). Many friends who visit insist on getting Kona coffee. Longs is a one stop shop to find a big variety at fair prices. We’ll do a whole post about Kona coffee soon.
Speaking of omiyage, macadamia nuts are another popular gift to take home to friends/family. You can find plain mac nuts, salted versions (I really like the salted garlic mac nuts!), sweet versions…some caramelized and others dipped in chocolate. There is often whole aisle at Long’s devoted to Hawaii omiyage treats (the Ala Moana Shopping Center location does a nice job with this).
Local Jams and Butters
Longs has solid assortment of locally made jams and butters. I’m partial to the butters made from lilikoi, mango, and guava. You can also find mini sizes which are great for omiyage/gifting.
Local Baking Mixes
Want to make butter mochi or haupia (coconut pudding) at home, but don’t want to do it all from scratch? This is when all the local baking mixes come in handy! Many college kids also keeps these in their dorms for when the homesick for Hawaii cravings hit.
Remember the manju post? Manju are small, flaky, baked pastries stuffed with different fillings like sweet potato and cinnamon apples. The best manju is made on Maui, and Long flies in orders from Home Maid Bakery twice a week.
I’ve had the most luck finding manju at the Manoa Marketplace location of Long’s – call before you go to confirm availability.
We are crazy for li hing mui in Hawaii, and Longs knows this well. At every Longs location you can find a whole wall lined with every type of li hing mui treat. From the whole seeds to li hing gummies (where the gummies are coated with li hing powder) and everything in between..and all at good prices. Stock up on your li hing dreams at Longs.
Soda crackers may not look like much, but they are a big part of Hawaii’s snacking life! When I was in elementary school, I would sometimes fake a stomachache so that I could get sent to the nurse. Why? The nurse would always give soda crackers to make your stomach feel better. The best soda crackers come from Diamond Bakery, and Longs offers their entire line of soda crackers.
If you are a soda cracker newbie, get the original/classic one first. Then you can branch out into the different versions (including one with furikake!) Soda crackers make good emergency snacks, quick breakfast on the go. Also really tasty with Vietnamese pate, anchovies, and really anything you can think of ^_^