Wholesale Unlimited is where the locals go for Hawaii snacks. It’s the modern-day version of a crack seed store that sells prepackaged goodies instead of those fresh-out-of-the-jar ones that the old-school crack seeds are known for. From chocolate-covered things to snacks covered in ling hing mui, Wholesale Unlimited is packed with all kinds of Hawaii flavors.
It’s not surprising that this haven of local snacks remains unknown to most tourists. The name of the store is somewhat ambiguous and could sell pretty much anything at “wholesale” prices. I’m guessing the only way a tourist would know about this place is to find it by accident or have a local tell them about it. The shops – located only on Oahu – aren’t necessarily in the most touristy of places.
The closest ones would be in Downtown Honolulu or near Ala Moana Shopping Center – both about a 10 to 15 minute drive from Waikiki. From the outside, the stores don’t look like much. A plain white sign with black text and a yellow sunflower logo is not very telling of all the yummy goodness waiting inside.
Upon entering the store, customers are greeted with wall-to-wall snacks. Even the aisles are a goodies galore; the shelves lined from top to bottom with every flavor imaginable – sweet, salty, sour and spicy. The adventurous type will go for the hot arare, a Japanese rice cracker, or the dried fruits covered in li hing powder. (Most locals wouldn’t consider li hing an “adventurous food,” but to tourists, it could take some getting used to the sweet-salty kick). Those not as bold, like me, stick to the chocolate-covered gummy bears and locally-made cookies.
These local dressings are easy to pack in your suitcase.
We always go to Wholesale Unlimited before a trip. The prepackaged sweets are great snacks for the plane ride. If we know we’re meeting up with old friends or family members, we get a few flavors of Hawaii to share with them as well. Tourists could do the same when returning home from a trip to Hawaii. I’d recommend bringing the snacks as a carry-on, however. Because they’re mostly in packages, snacks – like cookies – may get crushed in a check-in bag.
Of course, those snacks won’t last forever. Order your favorite flavors online and have them shipped to your home.
WHOLESALE UNLIMITED • Downtown Honolulu 1046 Bishop St., Honolulu, HI 96813 • Opens Mon-Sun 830am-430pm • www.cybersnacks.net