454 Waiakamilo Road
Phone number (808) 845-2921
I have been so good — SO good — lately about not snacking. See, I realized a few weeks ago that I’m getting married in less than a year. So I made a vow to eschew basically all the food I love: sugary, fatty, decadent “junk.”
Things have been going pretty well, though it has made writing this column quite the challenge. To ease the guilt, I’ve designated Gastronome as my cheat — a necessity, really, to keep things interesting.
This week, my cravings led me to Fujiya Hawaii for mochi.
Mochi always has been a particular weakness of mine. It’s far too easy to eat more than intended, especially because it has such delicate flavors. Though, if you are in the mood for something sweet, Fujiya does offer quite the selection of combinations.
The first is not some new invention. Mochi stuffed with a strawberry and white or red an (bean paste) certainly has been around for quite some time, but Fujiya executes it well. The mochi is soft, the strawberry a perfect addition of natural sweetness, and the white an smooth and subtle.
Then things get a little different. There’s a mixed berry mochi that has bits of strawberries and blueberries, and another that only has blueberries (shockingly huge blueberries at that, almost the size of a grape). Both were pleasant revelations that fruit in mochi needs to be more of a thing. Other fillings that weren’t available when I walked in but are listed on the menu include fresh raspberry, lychee, pineapple, mango, peanut butter with chocolate, chocolate coconut and more.
But perhaps the biggest surprise to come out of my visit to this little shop in Kalihi was discovering how good its packaged snacks are. Along with a variety of different senbei (rice crackers), there also are a number of arare to choose from. The rakka arare, for example, was puffy, salty and crispy.
My favorite, though, is what Fujiya has termed UACOCO Crisps. It’s a colorful coconut-based cracker similar to those flat ginger senbei your Japanese grandmother undoubtedly gave you to snack on growing up, but better. Every color matches a different flavor profile, and really does taste like it, too.
Here’s a breakdown of the flavors:
• Pink: guava
• Peach: orange
• Yellow: pineapple
• Green: matcha
• Blue: coconut
• Purple: potato
I had grand plans to simply taste one or two of the packaged snacks I purchased before giving it away to someone, but … Both of them are still on my desk, almost halfway gone.
PARKING A few tight spots right outside the store
ARRIVAL TIME Go early if you have hopes to sample the chi chi dango
EXPECT TO SPEND Well under $10, unless you have little resistance — like me