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Kalihi Eats: Alicia’s Market

By the location and look of its exterior appearance, the casual observer might assume Alicia’s Market is just another cramped and stuffy, over-the-hill mom ‘n pop shop, offering little more than dusty old grocery goods, candy, booze and cigarettes. Yet once you walk through the front door, you’ll find the place full of energy and amazed by the variety of hot meals, fresh seafood and specialties Alicia’s has to offer!

As you might expect within this busy industrial corridor of Kalihi, parking can be a challenge; especially during the peak work week lunch hour window. There’s a limited amount of stalls right in front of the place, with a few reserved for handicap. If they’re all taken, pull up on that side of the street in front, then wait briefly; hopefully someone will leave soon. There’s no dine-in option at Alicia’s, so most folks are coming and going quickly anyway. Otherwise, hunt for an open parallel space along the street.

Immediately as you enter Alicia’s Market, to the left is a fresh produce section stocked with all the basics, as well as a few ethnic must-haves (like Tofu!)…

From there you head towards the back to the “Pupu Bar”, which is truly the centerpiece of this market. Here you’ll find an impressive selection of Chinese-style roasted meats…


See da’ poi “on top” da case? How you gonna’ ack? Charsiu and Poi action!

ready-mixed Poi and a wide variety of Pickled Vegetables, Fresh Salads and Poke, Poke, Poke…

Tako and Sashimi Pupu plates, and Big Island Opihi!..

Alicia’s Homemade Pasteles…

and Smoked Tako, Dried Aku, and Smoked Ono…

This “Pupu Bar” is also where you can order complete plate lunches including your choice of entree, rice and salad on the menu. A link is provided at the end of this write-up for a PDF copy of that.

If you’re in a hurry and the lines at the “Pupu Bar” in back are too long (which it often is during lunch hour), after going through the turnstile, head straight to the counter by the front register. Here’s where you’ll find an assortment of freshly-made, wrapped and ready-to-go pupus and mini-meals…

This includes plates of Deep-fried Ahi with Lemon Wedge, Steamed Okinawan Sweet Potato, Pork Hash and Fried Rice with Charsiu Pork…

There’s also Roast Pork, Turkey Tail and Musubi mini combo plates, and from Maki Sushi, Cone Sushi and Andagi from Akyth.

Right next to the front register counter are Chow Mein plates and Salted Duck Eggs…

While right below that on a cart is one of my favorite specialties from Alicia’s, their Boiled Peanuts!…

Whoah, show up at the tailgate party with this tray, and you’d be everyone’s new best friend!

There’s a few more things not shown that were at the front register, such as SPAM Musubi and other Musubi, boiled eggs and Shave Ice.

The rest of the store is occupied by gondola shelves and refrigerator cases stocked with all the grocery basics and daily necessities you’d expect at a mini-market or convenience store, plus a few other interesting novelties. Thankfully the aisles are spaced out rather generously considering the overall size of the establishment, so you have enough room to get through if there’s a crowd.

As mentioned a little earlier, one of my favorites from Alicia’s is their Boiled Peanuts…


1 lb. bag of Alicia’s Boiled Peanuts

These are the larger Virginia peanuts, where most of which have 2 big nuts in them instead of the 3 and 4 smaller nuts in the smaller variety…

They’re flavored and seasoned perfectly, with just the right balance of salt and moisture, while being el dente with a snap to them, and not soggy at all. Contender for “Best Boiled Peanuts on Oahu” for sure!

Diner E’s favorite is the Roast Turkey Tails and Charsiu Pork..

I also picked up a Sashimi plate…


Alicia’s Sashimi Plate on a bed of sliced Cabbage with Coleman’s Mustard and Shoyu dipping sauce, $6.95

Diner E also bought Suman, which is a Filipino Rice Cake dessert snack…


Suman Filipino Rice Cake dessert snack

My first time trying this, and gotta’ say, this stuff is AWESOME!


Suman Filipino Rice Cake dessert snack

Suman is made by cooking mochi rice with coconut milk, and steaming it in banana leaf. This one was slightly sweet, with just a hint of salt sprinkled outside to bring out the flavor. It’s glutenous like Mochi, but with a slightly different texture due to the way it’s prepared. I’d say a bit firmer in a good way. The banana leaf imparts this most interesting flavor that’s difficult to describe, which all I can say is it’s absolutely MASARAP!

Finally, Diner E got another of his favorite treats from Alicia’s: the Chinese Soft Peanut Candy…


Chinese Soft Peanut Candy, $2.65 per tray

The brown caramel-looking binder looks like butter brickle, but it’s rather neutral in flavor, not being excessively sweet, salty nor buttery. It’s also semi-soft and chewy; not brittle. The sesame seeds offer more texture than flavor. Overall pretty good.

So next time you’re on the Nimitz side of Kalihi hunting for a place to grab a bite, check out Alicia’s Market… and don’t forget da’ Boiled Peanuts!

Alicia’s Market
267 Mokauea St.
Honolulu, HI 96819
Tel. 841-1921

Business Hours:
Monday – Friday 8am to 7pm
Saturday 8am – 6:30pm
Sunday Closed

Download Alicia’s Market take-out menu here!…
Alicia’s Market Menu (55k PDF document)

The Tasty Island Rating:

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related Links:
Blue Collar Workers Keep Locale Lively – Honolulu Star Bulletin

23 thoughts on “Kalihi Eats: Alicia’s Market

  • September 6, 2008 at 3:34 am
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    Wonder what time they open ? Could stop by to get something for work and for co-workers. Like their chow meins and sushis. I see they got shave ice too not bad I always around that area. Laulau is good for my lunch too.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2008 at 3:36 am
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    You have so many places to eat in Hawaii…everytime you post something I just want to hop on a plane and get some of the food you talk about. Did you not go to the Okinawan Festival? Thanks for your posts. Love the ones you compare the different brands…now I know which brand of chocolate/macadamia nut to buy : )

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  • September 6, 2008 at 4:21 am
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    Ho brah ! This is my favorite place! Whenever I come home from da mainland this is the first stop. Usually, I get da plate with Roast Pork and Char Siu. Sometimes Turkey Tails or even the roast beef. I like da Cucumber Kim Chee that comes with the plate and the Macaroni Salad has imitation crab in it. SUPER ONO.

    The poke is real good and we even buy the marinated meats and next time ask about the Chocolate sponge cake. Back in the day, Mr Kam (R.I.P. and Alicia’s husband) used to work at the store and greet the regulars. Now his kids run it. Bruddah Dion (with the glasses) hooks us up with the food and it is truly a family business.

    I am super jealous now and wanna go so bad.. but gotta wait till December when i come home. Till then i gotta SUCK.

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  • September 6, 2008 at 4:22 am
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    Sean, ask and you shall receive! I just called Alicia’s to get their business hours, and included it in the review above, located where the address information is at the end.

    Susan, I actually didn’t make the Okinawan Festival this year, but don’t feel too “missed out” about it. They’re usually the same anyway, with the exception of last year with that amazing and FREE Rinken Band concert! I was a little bummed they weren’t didn’t come again this year. Food booth wise, all the usuals were there again. I have it all well-covered in the 2006 and 2007 write-ups.

    If/when you do jump on that plane to Oahu, Alicia’s Market is located conveniently on the way from the airport to Waikiki, so if the timing is right (open), drop in and check them out!

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  • September 6, 2008 at 6:19 am
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    So much goodness in one unassuming store! The ready-to-go items alone are enough to make me drool.

    This is one thing I really miss about Hawaii, being able to get good local foods anywhere, even at a mini-mart. What I wouldn’t give to be able to go to the drugstore here (like Long’s) and pick up some cone sushi or mochi near the cashiers.

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  • September 6, 2008 at 5:18 pm
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    Hey Bro,
    Been going there for many years now. Like it for it save me time instead of waiting in line at okazuya places. I do like okazuyas still but sometime in a hurry so Alicia’s got it for me. Like to go there for shave ice since I do pass by there around the neigborhood. Suman is eaten with brown sugar and slice mango like many Filipinos does it.

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  • September 7, 2008 at 12:41 am
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    Wow, that case of roasted meats is jaw-dropping. I am so jealous you get to frequent this lovely shop!

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  • September 7, 2008 at 4:42 am
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    Really enjoying your series on places to eat in Kalihi…don’t think many knew. Have not seen you cover Dean’s in Kaneohe yet. His Teriyaki meat and ahi cakes are fantastic!!

    Reply
  • September 8, 2008 at 2:00 am
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    Brah, I LOVE Alicia’s!! My mom used to take us dea small keed time whenever we’d go to my aunty’s house in Kalihi! I totally forgot about dis place when I was home just a few weeks ago. Mahalo for da reminder!!! Definitely a must next time I’m home! Now I stay hungry.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2008 at 8:35 pm
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    Found the blog some time back and have really enjoyed reading about some of the food eaten over in the islands. (If I ever get to head out there I’ll surely be checking back for recommendations).

    That being said, I’ve thought some things were a little off to my personal culinary experience/taste (the technicolor pink fish cake just strikes me a a bit too funky) but imagine my surprise when I saw boiled peanuts.

    Seriously? Boiled peanuts? I never would have thought I’d find those in the islands. Heck, it’s practically impossible to find them here in central Florida, and plenty of people look at me odd when I get nostalgic about them. Sometimes the simple things are the best and boiled peanuts are certainly up on the list. Now, I’ll be spending the rest of the week fanatically trying to score some or trying to fend off the sudden craving.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2008 at 9:53 pm
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    Alicia’s Market reminded me of San Francisco Ping Yuen on Grant and Pacific Ave in Chinatown. They closed years ago since owner passed away. Best deli market ever. Dick Lee Pastry on Jackson and Stockton is close 2 months ago in Chinatown. They been there for over 50 years. Best dim sums deals 6 mini pork bun for 1.00 and many other things for 1.00. When I am back will get many things at Alicia’s.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2008 at 11:19 pm
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    Well about Dick Lee Pastry it still under talk with other family members to continue or quit. Most business is family after original owner passed on or want to retire. Family see it too much work and enjoy 5 days working and 8 hours a day . Alicia’s got family still working and running it which very wonderful. Now days it hard to tell how long you jobs will last . To own a businesss is somewhat of a heirloom passed on to next gerations.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 4:19 pm
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    I heard Dick Lee in San Francisco open a new place lower down their old place so it great they still in bussiness. I been there when in San Francisco so good a deal I got there. So many things for a 1.00 can’t go wrong.

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  • September 14, 2008 at 8:27 pm
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    good god. i remember when i was a kid my dad would bring me to all these places in kalihi, and all the mom n pop diners around the island. makes me a little sad to think about it. but the food looks frickin good. i live in la now, and the closest i can get is ono’s hawaiian bbq or l&l, but u can only eat so much haole-fied chicken katsu before it’s like damn, i want some real hawaiian food. why does flying back home have to be so effin expensive?

    Reply
  • April 28, 2009 at 1:11 pm
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    Thanks for this review! I’ve heard a lot about their poke but now that I see they offer so much more, I’m gonna seek it out!

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  • October 5, 2009 at 6:57 pm
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    Hi,
    I used to live on Kahai Street and sometimes my grandmother would go over for groceries (when the vegetable truck man didn’t have that specific something).
    Wow.
    I don’t remember Alicia’s Market being this . . . amazing. Or clean . . .
    Thanks for the head’s up about the food. Everything looks so artery-cloggingly good
    ~Vyvyan

    Reply
  • May 21, 2010 at 4:32 am
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    This place looks wonderful. Boiled peanuts in Hawaii? I can’t find them in Michigan and have to make a trip to my home country of North Carolina in the fall (boiled peanuts are best done with fresh peanuts) to find those yummy treats!

    Reply
  • October 25, 2013 at 11:22 am
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    Aloha Friday :)http://www.ilovehawaiianfoodrecipes.com/recipes/cuisine/japanese/

    Posted by I Love Hawaiian Food on Friday, October 25, 2013

    someone took your photo bruddah pomai!!! as a longtime visitor i knew it looked familiar….

    Reply
  • October 25, 2013 at 11:58 am
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    Mahalo Raph! It’s cool if anyone uses photos from my blog, however it would be nice if that person had the courtesy to provide a link to my site for credit, as I always do when using photos from other websites. Maybe I’ll drop in on that FB conversation and point them my way. :-)

    Reply
  • January 10, 2016 at 1:59 pm
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    I would like the recipe for the Filipino Suman Rice Cake. I was born and raised in Hawaii and remembered those times when my grandfather and grandmother use to make those cakes. I use to scrape the coconut and help with the banana leaf preparations.

     

    Thank You

    Leroy Sayas

    Reply

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