Monkeypod Jam, owned by Aletha Thomas, was launched in 2010 through the idea of supporting kauai agriculture. In fact, Monkeypod Jam uses fruit only from Kauai; the company, to this date, works with over 25 local farmers. All jams, jellies, and marmalades are made by hand, so you are receiving some of the freshest, most authentic, kauai-made products on the market.
Here’s where you can find them:
3687 Kaumualii Hwy, Lawai, HI 96765
Not only do they operate out of their physical shop in Lawai, but you can discover their products in various places on Kauai at both farmer’s markets and retail locations, including retail locations on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island. Take a look a look at their complete list here.
Take the time to check this company out, they have a lot to offer and are a unique business to the island of Kauai.
“E Ai I Ka Mea Loaa,” which translates to “eat what you have and be satisfied”
That is the motto of Aloha Aina Poi Company. For those that aren’t too familiar with traditional Polynesian foods, poi is a product of kalo, or taro, a plant that is considered a staple delicacy in Hawaiian culture. Its significance goes beyond than being a tasty dish; in ancient Hawaii it is believed to be the greatest life force of all foods.
Aloha Aina Poi Company is based in Waimea; their kalo products are straight from the farm to the table. It is a process that promotes the type of sustainable lifestyle the people of Hawaii once lived. Kaina Makua, who in a recent interview with Kauai Now, briefly explains the process as taking a year and a day; 12 months to grow it and a day to prepare it for consumption. In the interview, Kaina also refuses to label the company as his own, instead he describes it as the “peoples” company; at the end of a long days work he looks to pay the farmers more while providing a low priced product for the consumer. Yes, that makes margins thin, but taking in large profits was never Kaina’s primary goal. Hawaii was built on the working hands of its people, he wants to reinvigorate the once thriving kalo farming culture, that is the foundation and mindset Aloha Aina Poi Company is built on.
You may find Aloha Aina Poi at some of Kauai’s local grocery stores or take a trip to west Kauai and buy some directly. There’s no better place to try some traditional poi than right here in Hawaii. Just like all foods, it won’t be everyone’s favorite, but some things you have to try at least once.
Are you a fan of locally made products? So are we! Kauai has some exceptional locally made beer; wine and spirits as well as some fun places to shop for items you might not find anywhere else on island.
Koloa Rum: Produces award winning single-batch rum right here on the south side of Kauai. They are the first and only licensed distillery on the island of Kauai. You will find their tasting room at the Kilohana Plantation where you can try over 5 different types of rum. Tastings are every half hour, starting at 10:00 a.m. daily.
Nani Moon Mead: Nani Moon is the only producer of Mead (honey wine) in Hawaii. Handcrafted from local raw honey, fruit and spices. From dry to semi-sweet, there is something for everyone. The tasting room is located in Kapaa and is open Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 5:00.
Kauai Beer Company: Located in Lihue off Rice Street, this is a great spot to grab some high quality ‘pub’ food and sample some amazing quality artisan beer. Open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 3:00-9:00. Check out their ‘Truck Stop Thursdays’ every Thursday.
The Wine Shop in Koloa sells locally made products as well as specialty foods and gifts. One of the better wine shops on the island, Dan and Ellen are very friendly and knowledgeable. Join them for a wine tasting the first Saturday of every month or stop by to obtain a marriage license!
Princeville Wine Shop has a great selection of wine as well as some specialty items you can’t find anywhere else on island…Have you ever had duck bacon?
The Wine Garden in Puhi, just across from the community college, has a great selection of wine and cigars at good prices. They also have a large selection of Hawaiian made chocolates.
If you really want to dive into your vacation, trying the food that the locals eat is the best way. Sit down with a plate lunch and talk story or attend a luau and watch fire dancers as you sample some poi and kalua pork.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Plate Lunch: Plate lunch is Hawaii’s answer to fast food; usually served with an entrée, white rice and macaroni salad. Some of our favorites are from the local fish markets, grocery stores and food trucks.
Luau: If you haven’t been to a luau, you should. They offer a great overview of Hawaii’s past and present and a good history of the local food. Here you will try kalua pork, poi and lomi lomi salmon. Call us if you want recommendations for a good luau. (link to activity)
Pupus: The word pupu will make any five-year-old chuckle; however, in Hawaii, pupu means appetizer. Originally of Chinese origin, pupus used to consist of small meat and seafood dishes. Today it is a general term for any appetizer. Typical pupus would be chicken wings, poke, pot stickers, teri beef and spare ribs.
Saimin: Saimin is a noodle and broth dish originating from China and influenced by Hawaiian immigrant groups. Typically accompanied by char sui, green onion, fish cake and wontons, just to name a few. It’s true, sometimes we substitute ramen or cup o noodles to get our saimin fix. However, when we really want true saimin, we know where to go. On Kauai, Hamura Saimin is legend. Tip Top café has a good saimin as well as the new Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi if you want a more fine dining experience. If you want to try fried saimin, head to Bobbies in Waimea.
Poke: Ahi Poke is the most commonly known poke, fresh raw cubes of ahi mixed with sea salt, seaweed, kukui oil, sesame oil, Maui onion and soy. There are many different Poke combinations as well — tako (octopus), shrimp and salmon poke, just to name a few. Most fish markets and grocery stores have excellent poke. Be sure to stop by the Pono Market in Kapaa, the Fish Express in Lihue or the Koloa Fish Market in Old Town Koloa..
Musabi: A popular snack food that consists of grilled spam placed on a rectangle of rice and wrapped in nori (seaweed). Found at most grocery, convenience and liquor stores by the check out or in a warming rack. Spam is traditional, but many other combinations exist — hot dog, teriyaki chicken, egg and spam. Some of our favorites are at the Pono Market, Foodland, Lawai Mini Mart and the Salt Pond Country Store.