Where to find crack seed on Oahu
By: Frolic Hawaii Jan 8, 2020
We’re lucky that in Hawaii, drug stores, convenience stores and supermarkets sell crack seed. But the best kind come from crack seed stores and hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop shops. If they let you sample, bonus. And if they sell Icee with li hing mui inside? That’s an unforgettable, only-in-Hawaii thrill.
These places on Oahu preserve the tradition.
Baldwin’s Sweet Shop
Baldwin’s is an Aiea institution known for its shave ice, but there’s a good selection of packaged crack seed among its savory snacks and gummies. — Mari Taketa
Waimalu Shopping Center • 98-040 Kamehameha Hwy. • Aiea • 488-0505
Of the myriad variety of seeds in glass jars and sealed in bags, customer favorites include rock salt plum, sweet-salty li hing mui and crack seed. But the lady who runs the store will tell you every flavor is popular. If there’s a specific one you want, go early. During mango season, the owner is very proud of her pickled mango, which she makes herself. — Kelli Shiroma
1111 Bethel St. • Chinatown • 536-4712
Crack Seed Store
From the era when every neighborhood had at least one crack seed store. Opened by Alice Wong sometime long ago, it attained legendary status in a tiny spot on Koko Head Avenue under 41 years of ownership by the amiable Young family, who retired this past New Year’s Eve. Now it’s in the hands of the Fang family of Chinatown’s Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery. Judging from the lines, Crack Seed Store is as popular as ever. — Mari Taketa
1156 Koko Head Ave. • Kaimuki • 737-1022
Family Grocery Store
Inside a little building on Kamehameha Highway, this mom-and-pop has a small selection of prepackaged crack seed. This is my personal favorite stop for lemon peel gummy bears. — Jason Chin
45-1127 Kamehameha Hwy. • Kaneohe • 235-0028
Kay’s Crackseed has been serving up glass jar crack seed along with packaged gummies and savory snacks for 32 years. They’re one of the few that offer the trifecta of Icees (with lihing juice or powder, of course), shave ice and fresh buttered popcorn topped with furikake and kakimochi. Kay’s is one of the few businesses that you’re glad to know it hasn’t changed in decades. — Thomas Obungen
Manoa Marketplace • 2752 Woodlawn Dr. • Manoa • 988-4338
Lin’s Hawaiian Snacks
Dozens of varieties in glass jars and pre-packaged, plus milk teas, shave ice and sweet-sour-salty li hing mui blend drinks in the sleek newer part of Kakaako. — Mari Taketa
401 Kamakee St. • Kakaako • 597-8899 • linsmarkethawaii.com
Rainbow Crack Seed
Kaneohe has a treasure trove of crack seed places. This longtime merchant has a great selection of crack seed, kakimochi, dried fruit, dried seafood, flavored popcorn, shave ice and much more. I really like their sweet li hing mui for when I make pickled mango. — Jason Chin
Windward City Shopping Center • 45-480 Kaneohe Bay Dr. • Kaneohe • 235-5553 • rainbowcrackseed.com
Samurai Snacks Aiea
Samurai is known for strawberry and vanilla soft serve, but the shop also has a wide variety of crack seed. Most popular is the Super Sweet Seedless White Li Hing Mui. Samurai’s Bradda Pops often sell out daily. At $3 each, they come in flavors like strawberry, grape and pineapple with a li hing mui seed inside. — Kelli Shiroma
Aiea Shopping Center • 99-115 Aiea Heights Dr. • Aiea • 484-2200
Seed City sells seeds in jars and prepackaged seeds, plus li hing Icee, which they’re known for. You may want to note that due to the huge trend in lemon peel gummies, they’re currently sold out of lemon peel. — Melissa Chang
Pearlridge Center • 98-1005 Moanalua Rd. • Aiea • 488-9755
Seeds ‘n Things
Walls and shelves of one of Oahu’s last mall crack seed shops are lined with glass jars and pre-portioned bags of seeds, old-school candies and tons of gummy options. Icee here comes with your choice of li hing powder or juice. — Mari Taketa
Windward Mall • 46-056 Kamehameha Hwy. • Kaneohe • 235-5050
Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery
Sing Cheong Yuan specializes in the preserved fruits served at Chinese New Year, all displayed in rectangular bins behind the pastry case. Now you can find their products in Kaimuki’s Crack Seed Store, which they recently took over. See the bins in the left-side window? Those are all crack seed. — Melissa Chang
Chinatown • 1027 Maunakea St. • Chinatown • 531-6688
Sun Chong Grocery
One of the hidden gems of Chinatown with maybe the biggest selection of crack seed items in the neighborhood. From nostalgic glass jars, you can get stuff like the football olive, dried passion fruit and all sorts of dried seafoods you’ve probably never heard of. Those that like to make their own lemon peel gummy bears can find the stuff already ground up and ready to go. Give yourself time to browse and you might find treasures you haven’t seen in a long time. — Jason Chin
127 N. Hotel St. • Chinatown • 537-3525
Wholesale Unlimited get one wide assortment of pre-package crack seed kine snacks. Dey also known for own line of Betty’s Best Cookies das available in 23 flavors. Whaaaaat?! — Lee Tonouchi
We're lucky that in Hawaii, drug stores, convenience stores and supermarkets sell crack seed. But the best kind come from crack seed stores and hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop shops. If they let you sample, bonus. And if they sell Icee with li hing mui inside? That's an unforgettable, only-in-Hawaii thrill. These places on Oahu preserve the tradition. Baldwin's Sweet Shop — Photo
After 41 years, beloved owner of iconic crack seed store celebrates retirement
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – There were hugs, kisses and even some tears Tuesday as the longtime owner of the iconic Crack Seed Store in Kaimuki said a fond farewell with his family.
He’s retiring after 41 years ― and handing the business off to someone else.
All day, customers squeezed into the tiny shop in Kaimuki to get crack seed, local snacks and fan favorite: Li hing mui ICEE.
Sally Kawamura rushed in to get two pounds of king mui for her aunty in California ― and to say goodbye to longtime owner Kon Ping Young and his wife, Fun Tang.
The nostalgia and memories brought tears to her eyes.
“When I was going to school, the number 14 bus would stop here so now it’s like oh! The Crack Seed Store is not going to be the same,” said Kawamura.
Young says the good news is that that new owners are taking over New Year’s Day ― and he’s passing on his secret recipes.
As a special treat, he didn’t ring in any sales Tuesday. The family gave away treats for free.
The Youngs brought their children and grandchildren to the store for their last day.
“You know like everything else things do come to an end so I’d rather have a good ending than a bad ending so that why we’re doing it,” said Mr. Young.
After years of memories and even a spot on the Travel Channel, the couple is full of gratitude for their customers love and loyalty.
Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.
"I’d rather have a good ending than a bad ending so that why we’re doing it."