I’ve never given much thought to Foodland. Having first opened in the late 1940s long before I was born, it always was just there, part of the fabric of Hawaii.
Growing up, when my dad insisted on only getting his poke from Foodland, I never questioned it. When my mom gave me an extra Maika‘i Card and told me to use it, I did. Without even realizing it, Foodland has been a part of my life longer than some of my closest friendships.
Now, with any good and long relationship, there comes a time when you stop seeing what’s right in front of you. Kind of like how I sometimes take my fiancé for granted.
So when all the fuss began over its new flagship location at Ala Moana Center, I didn’t pay much attention. Then pictures of its interior started popping up, and people began telling me just how fun the new space was.
OK, I told myself, it’s time to head over there.
Indeed, the new Foodland location lives up to all the hype. It’s big and bright, with a layout that offers just about everything. It’s so snazzy, too, with a setup that feels in tune with the way other markets have become places for more than just produce. There are hot and cold food stations, premade baked goods, a kombucha bar and Bubbies mochi ice cream. Another corner of Foodland is dedicated solely to Sugarlina sweets.
My favorites, of course, are the items you can pick up on the go. There’s a donut station, for example, that pops out miniature-sized versions covered in flavored granulated sugar. I sampled the lilikoi-sugared donuts, and though I didn’t get any hint of the passion fruit, the donut itself was soft, not too dense and much too easy to eat all at once. (Each bag comes with six donuts.)
I also found a section of pressed juices and infused waters, which were colorful and fun to look at. The Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca I indulged in tasted good, too. It was a light and refreshing beverage with a price that was slightly cheaper than others I’ve encountered lately.
There’s no forgetting the poke, either. This time I opted for a bowl with the “California Roll” ahi piled on top. It was a little spicy, with chunks of imitation crab meat and soft, perfectly cubed bits of tuna. Other options available that morning included familiar combinations like regular spicy ahi and ahi with shoyu.
Mind you, selecting only three items to indulge in was extremely difficult. There was so much more to be had, which really only means one thing: an excuse to go back for more.
PARKING Easy breezy
WINE O’CLOCK The wine selection looks extensive
RETURNING SHORTLY FOR More poke and pressed juice