Finding Korea in Hawaii

After living in South Korea for a year, I was actually sad to leave!  Our year there was packed full of adventures and experiences and I'm so glad we have this blog to remind us of everything we did.

There were many Korean products and foods that I grew to love while living there and was saddened at the thought of no longer having access to them.  Little did I know, Hawaii has a growing population of Koreans that live here.  That means Korean products, food, and restaurants are here too!

I spotted a Korean supermarket when we first moved here and finally ventured into it recently.  I had a huge smile on my face the entire time, despite the familiar pungent Korean smells :)  The Palama Supermarket is in the Waimalu Shopping Center in Aiea off of the Kamehameha Highway.

They had a selection of fresh kimchi.

Red bean and red pepper pastes - yum!

A selection of baking and cooking mixes, flours, powders, etc.

Instant ramen and udon noodles.

Korean snacks and candy :) 

A few packages were actually written in Korean and English.  Almost everything else had a nutrition label written in English stuck on it.  This was really interesting to me.  I saw these items for a year and never knew the ingredients.  Now here they were, easy for me to read at last.  The ingredient list on many items surprised me.  Some were a good surprise containing few, all natural ingredients when I expected there to be more.   Whereas other things were a bad surprise, containing ingredients that I try to stay away from, such as MSG (monosodium glutamate) and other unnatural substances.

These Korean cookies are my favorite so I was really excited to find them here!  The ingredient list is questionable however... "contains wheat, milk, shellfish"...  uh, shellfish?!!  I'm sure that is referring to the "shell calcium" that is listed but it's still strange!  It makes me worry about non-Korean speaking people living in Korea who can't read the nutrition labels.  Someone allergic to shellfish probably wouldn't think twice about eating these yummy little cookies.

A fine selection of Korean coffee (Maxim!) and tea (leaves, powders, and jellies).

Korean drinks.  Aloe drinks can be found everywhere in Korea and have a cool refreshing flavor.

So what did I end up buying to satisfy my Korea cravings?  I bought some of my favorite Korean snacks; the crisp, buttery Lotte Waffle cookies and the sweet "shellfish" cookies.  I also bought some Korean teas that I love (honey citron and plum) which are a sweet jelly that you mix with hot water.  I also got some Korean pancake mix (only one brand without MSG) and some yummy pumpkin pasta.

I am SO excited that I can purchase these products here whenever I want, especially the teas!

"Joy is not in things; it is in us."
~Richard Wagner


  1. I love the shellfish cookies, and we've been potty training Gus using the Choco cookies that come in the cup. I've been curious about the Korean Pancake mixes I see at E Mart. Enjoyed your post! Hope you are feeling fantastic!

    1. Thanks Lee Anne! Have a Korean Pancake in a restaurant and then you'll see how to make one yourself. Super Easy and delish! I always winged it with mixes while in Korea but the mix I just bought has English directions: 1) Mix 1 cup pancake mix with 3/4 cup water and mix until smooth 2) Stir in bite-size pieces of vegetables and seafood 3) Heat vegetable oil in a pan and cook a scoop of the mix until golden brown on both sides.

  2. I can't believe you found a Korean grocery store there! That Honey Citron Tea is so yummy!!!!! They had it a few times last winter at Lanna. Speaking of, that is where I am getting take-out from tonight! That is one restaurant I will really miss.

  3. That's great. One visit here had my mom hunting down a Korean grocery store in Minneapolis. They seem to be everywhere! Mom said they had great prices on produce. I've been wondering what things I'll miss when we leave. A friend just showed me msg free spicy ramen at Emart. Yummy!