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    10 Great Gift Ideas for Hawaii Graduates

    Manu with leis

    1.  Leis.  Lots and lots of leis. Flower, candy, or money, just make sure your graduate can barely see and breathe. Small kine shame if only get one or two.
    2.  Suitcases and packing cubes. Your graduate is about to embark on college or real life. Either way, they’ll need luggage to get there and packing cubes will help keep all their gear and gifts organized.

    3.  MONEY! The best gift of all. Life is expensive YO! From textbooks to electronics, cold hard cash comes in handy.                      4.  Noise cancelling headphones. Dorm life is loud and unpredictable. Noise cancellers will help your graduate focus on studying and not on their roommates snoring. They’re also great for travel and gaming.

    5.  Amazon Prime. Seriously, is there anyone who wouldn’t want to be gifted a year of Prime? If your grad is staying in the islands, he or she will thank you for helping them save an arm and a leg, the usual cost of shipping items to Hawaii. Prime also includes free streaming movies and music, and discounts on ebooks.
    6.  Rice Cooker. If you can cook rice, you will never starve. It’s a basic life skill anyone from Hawaii should have. A small three cup cooker is perfect for making spam musubis in your dorm. If you’re desperate enough, you can also make saimin and a number of other surprising things in your rice cooker.

    7.  Gold jewelry is how we mark important life events in Hawaii. A gold bracelet or pendent with a personal message or date engraved on the back is the perfect memento for this special occasion.

    8.  Gift cards. Walmart, Target, Starbucks, Snack Hawaii, really the list could go on and on. Give your grad the gift of choice.

    9.  Local clothing, so that they can represent the 808 State in style. There are so many great options. From t-shirts to hats to slippers, when your grad slips on your gift they’ll be reminded of home. Also, their Locals Only slippers will be a beacon that will help other Hawaiian students find them.

    10.  Yummy Gummy! Ok, maybe not for graduation, but this would be a great gift midyear to give your grad on the mainland just as they’re getting the homesick blues. It’ll give them a boost to help them make it through the year.


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      Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Salmon Recipe

      It’s not a luau if there’s no lomi lomi salmon. It would be like trying to eat a PB&J without any jelly. You just can’t do it. Fortunately, no matter where you live in the US, it’s pretty easy to make your own kalua pig and lomi salmon at home. Here’s our version of lomi lomi salmon below.


      • Salted Salmon (About 1 pound)
      • 3-4 Ripe Tomatoes
      • 1 Sweet Onion (Maui onion is our favorite)
      • Green Onion
      • Hawaiian Salt (Do not use table salt!)


      1. If you can’t find salted salmon at the store, you can make it yourself. Just buy a slab of salmon, rub Hawaiian salt all over it, Lomi (massage) that buggah and place it in a glass dish. Cover it with saran and place it in your fridge to cure overnight.
      2. On day 2, take out your salmon. Wash it and then dice it. Also make sure to take out all the skin and bones!
      3. Dice your tomatoes and sweet onion, and chop up a few stalks of green onion.
      4. Throw everything in a large bowl and add Hawaiian salt to taste. Lomi or massage it with your fingers to combine all the ingredients. Let the mixture rest and soak up flavor for at least a few hours before your party starts.
      5. Right before serving add crushed or cubed ice. The melting ice will make the lomi salmon nice and juicy!!

      Again, this is something we usually only make for parties in large quantities, so apologies if the measurements aren’t very exact. Just eyeball your ingredients to make sure you have the right ratio of tomato to onion to salmon. Also, the above Hawaiian plate can not be mailed to you :( 

      The 10 Best Asian Candies You Need to Try

      li hing mui drop candy

      1. Li Hing Mui Drops.  Sticky fingers don’t matter when your mouth is singing with happiness. The perfect blend of sweet and salty, this candy is still our favorite go to snack as adults. The salty li hing mui in the middle is what makes this candy!!

      2. Haw Flakes. These little pink discs of goodness are always so fun to unwrap and then separate. The sweet tart flavor of each disc melts on your tongue, and before you know it they’re all gone. If you’ve never had them before, they taste kinda like a fruit roll up, but aren’t so chewy. They’re made from Chinese hawthorn, a red tasty fruit that can also be found candied and sold on sticks throughout China.

      Sina ginger candy

      3. Ginger Candy. When Americans think of candy, we think of sweets. Asians aren’t really into sweet. They tend to prefer savory or spicy. Ting Ting Ja He ginger candy is the best of both worlds. It’s sweet but also spicy, which makes for music in your mouth. Ginger candy is also great for nausea and stomach issues, so bonus!

      Tomoe rice candy

      4. Tomoe Rice Candy. Does anyone else remember getting little Japanese toys with their rice candy? Nowadays, they come with a free sticker instead. Booo. Anyway, the toy was just one part of what made this candy so great. The best part was the edible clear outer wrapper. It made you feel like you were eating plastic like a rebel.

      White rabbit candy

      5. White Rabbit. This milk flavored chewy candy is the perfect blend of creamy and sweet. It’s funnest feature is once again an edible clear wrapping made from rice paper. The ubiquitous red, white, blue and black outer wrapper is known throughout the world, but did you know it once featured Mickey Mouse? That changed in the 1950s with China’s cultural revolution, when Mickey became a dangerous symbol from a foreign country. That’s when the name and logo changed to the white rabbit we all know and love.

      6. Lychee Jelly. These were all the rage about a decade ago, and they’re baaaaack! They’re a little bigger and now have bits of coconut gelatin in them, but they taste just the same. Throw them in the fridge to chill them first and then watch out for squirting juice when you peel back the label!

      Hi Chew Mango

      7. Hi-Chew. Asia’s version of Starburst, but in a multitude of fun fruity flavors. In fact, 170 different flavors since they began production in Japan. Ok, so they do have a little plasticy flavor, but it kinda disappears after you’ve been chewing a while, and then before you know it its dissolved into nothingness in your mouth.

      Marukawa bubble gum

      8. Marukawa Bubble Gum. It doesn’t matter that the flavor pretty much disappears after 10 seconds, this was the candy of choice as a kid. Mostly for the tattoo of course, or perhaps the cute little boxes the fruity flavors came in. And when the gum was all eaten you could use the empty box as a whistle.

      9. Green Tea Kit Kats. At one time this was the Omiyage from Japan that we all craved. Now you can find it at Marukai or Longs Drugs! With just the slightest hint of green tea flavor, these Asian inspired Kit Kats are creamy, crunchy, and not as sweet as the pure chocolate version. Oiishi kata!Daimaru Ume Hard Candy10. Ume Candy. There are so many varieties out there, it’s hard to say which is the best. But in general, ume candy is delightfully sweet and sour in all the right ways. What’s your favorite kind?

      Hawaii Care Package Ideas

      • Hawaiian Salt and Liquid Smoke. That’s pretty much all you need to make Kalua Pork at home. One of the easiest and tastiest Hawaiian dishes you can make, Kalua with or without cabbage, will give your loved one a little taste of home.
      • NOH seasoning packets. We love the Hawaiian Poke Mix* and the Hawaiian Style Curry. The poke mix comes with Ogo seaweed and chili pepper. All you need is some fresh fish and green onion and you’re good to go. The Curry seasoning is the only one around that doesn’t have MSG. Tastes just like L&L!

      • Kona Coffee. Whether you get Vanilla Mac Nut or 100% Kona, you can’t go wrong. It’s the tastiest coffee around, and nothing compares to it.

      • Cuttlefish or Dried Ahi Jerky. The stinkier the fish, the better. Warn non-Hawaiians before opening a bag though!
      • Hawaiian calendars. A little cheesy, but still one of the best gifts around. It’s lightweight, easy to pack, and costs less than a $1. Also, it’s nice to show your office mates that you come from the most beautiful place on earth.

      • Li Hing Mui anything! A little bag of Li Hing powder lasts for quite a while if sprinkled on fruit or added to margaritas. As for Li Hing gummy candies, get the large bag. A small bag will usually be inhaled in under a minute.

      • Hawaiian Sun Juice mix. Everyone drank Hawaiian Sun as a kid, and none of us will ever forget the taste of Passion Orange or Pass-O-Guava. One packet makes about a quart, just enough to bring back memories of the Manapua man or the little mom and pop store you used to buy it at as a kid.

      • Kakimochi and Furikake. You can buy microwave popcorn just about anywhere, but it won’t be complete without the kakimochi! With these two ingredients, anyone can make Hurricane Popcorn at home!

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