We told you about the best gifts to bring back from Oahu; now, check out these tasty and fragrant must-haves from Kauai.
The two essential M’s: Manju and Mochi
For the best local treats in town, head to Menehune Food Mart. It’s the tiny convenience store in Lawai (and Kekaha) that boasts more than most may realize.
I live by the peanut butter mochi and sweet potato manju. They’re the perfect snacks for lounging by the pool or road tripping around the island. Both snacks come packed in air-tight trays that are easy to fit in a carry-on, so you can enjoy the flavors of Hawaii back home, too.
Be sure to get to the mart early because the manju and mochi sell out really quick. Otherwise, pre-order, like I do, and you are guaranteed a box of sweet and savories from the Garden Isle.
MENEHUNE FOOD MART • 2-3687 Kaumualii Hwy., Lawai, HI 96741 • Opens Mon-Sun 6am-8pm • 808-332-8641
Kauai Kookies are so popular that they’re now sold all over the Hawaiian Islands. However, it’s at the original warehouse in historic Hanapēpē that you’ll get flavors not found anywhere else. Among the most popular are the banzai cookies (furikake and wasabi) and rocky road variations.
The warehouse employees are used to the swarms of visitors, who frequent the store almost every day. Not only do they offer free samples of any flavor of cookie or candy, but the employees also pack purchases for those long plane rides. They’ll box it up in no time.
KAUAI KOOKIE FACTORY • 1-3529 Kaumualii Hwy., Hanapepe, HI 96716 • To place a phone order, 808-335-5003; for online orders, www.kauaikookie.com
For the body and soul
Much like Kauai Kookies, Island Soap & Candle Works is a company that sells products all over the islands. But if you want to find the newest stuff, visit their shops on Kauai. They’re always mixing and mingling the island’s finest ingredients to make handmade soaps, candles, massage oils and skincare products.
The company also boasts a “Kauai Made” label, meaning, the Island Soap & Candle Works has passed all requirements to be considered a business that’s exclusive to the Garden Isle. There’s definitely something to those local ingredients because many customers swear by their products. One lady wrote on the company website that the Hawaiian botanical lotion helped clear up her rosacea, a skin disease that can become quite severe.
Because of the three-ounce liquid policy at airports, it’s best to pack your lotions and oils in a suitcase. I’d suggest taping the cap and keeping the products in a ziplock to avoid spilling into your luggage.
ISLAND SOAP & CANDLE WORKS (North Shore, Kauai) • Kong Lung Center on Kilauea Rd. on the way to the lighthouse • Opens daily 9am-8pm • 808-828-1955
ISLAND SOAP & CANDLE WORKS (North Shore, Kauai) • Princeville Shopping Center • Opens daily 10am-6pm • 808-827-8111
ISLAND SOAP & CANDLE WORKS (South Shore, Kauai) • Old Koloa Town Shopping Center • Opens daily 9am-9pm • 808-742-1945