The kid’s little league, Pop Warner, or soccer team. Canoe club. School trip. Church. Community organization. Like just about everything else in life, they need funds in order to operate. When membership fees, donations and other contributions just aren’t enough, they hold fundraisers. One way to do that is to render services, such as holding a car wash, carnival or festival, yet the most common method is to sell products – most often food – at minimum cost and high mark-up for maximum profit.
While everyone in the US has probably bought Girlscout cookies, boxed M&Ms and chocolate-covered almonds at one time or another, Hawaii has its own unique Fundraiser grindz.
Huli Huli Chicken (photo courtesy of Charlotte)
The first that comes to mind is Huli Huli Chicken. I mean REAL Huli Huli Chicken. Da’ kine they cook outside on those big, flat, charcoal-burning, motor-driven rotisseries (see photo above), where when you walk up to pay for some that just got bagged, the smell from the smoke wafting over as the chicken’s fatty skin fuels the fire reminds you of the oncoming deliciousness about to take place in your mouth. Oh yeah, you know what I’m talkin’ about! Damned, just writing that, I want some Huli Huli Chicken like NOW! Unfortunately I don’t see Huli Huli Chicken for sale that often in the urban Honolulu area. Mostly out in the country like North Shore and Waimanalo side. IIRC, the last time I bought Huli Huli Chicken, it was being sold at Maunalua Bay Beach Park in Hawaii Kai, and was $8 for a half chicken. Something like that.
The next (and probably most publicized) one that comes to mind is Zippy’s Chili. The last time I bought some was a few months ago for a coworker’s kids school, which it was $5 for a 2 lb. tub. Not a bad deal actually. One thing nice about the Zippy’s Chili Fundraiser is you buy the ticket and pick it up yourself, so you can choose exactly which Zippy’s Chili you want: either frozen or hot and fresh, bean or no bean, and meat or vegetarian. I like the vegetarian chili. Good stuff!
At a place I worked at a long time ago, one guy was selling SPAM Musubi to raise funds to help his kid with something. That’s too much labor though, if you ask me. Imagine making hundreds of SPAM Musubi by hand? Laters with that. I’d rather just selling Zippy’s Chili tickets.
A few years ago, another department where I work held a fundraiser by selling Beef Stew with Rice and Mac’ Salad plates for $5. That’s pretty easy to do, as the stew, rice and mac can all be made in one pot bulk jobs.
Other grindz I’ve seen sold for fundraiser were Portuguese Sausage, Laulau, beef jerky (or “Slim Jim” sticks), mochi crunch and home-made cookies.
Yet this is the first time I’ve been offered Fundraiser Manapua. It must be a popular new thing with schools, because both my coworker who’s from Ewa Beach and my girlfriend’s coworker who’s from Kaimuki were recently selling them.
Regal Food Fundraiser 4-Pack Char Siu Pork Manapua, $5
Actually I’m surprised Manapua wasn’t around as a Fundraiser ever since it’s been around. This being Chinese Dim Sum, you figgah ‘dem Pake’s smart make money. I guess they nevah like Fundraisah, they like keep all da’ money. lol
At $5 for this package of 4, that comes out to $1.25 each, which ain’t bad, considering Libby Manapua Shop sells theirs within that ballpark for 85 cents, and a deal if you compare that to Chun Wah Kam, who sells theirs for $1.50. I don’t know what the cost Regal Food charges for each Fundraiser package, but I’m guessing it’s lucrative for the organization, and tax deductible for the manufacturer.
The best part about this one is the Manapua is really good! Good enough to hold its own against Libby’s and Char Hung Sut, my all-time favorites. They’re sold refrigerated, not frozen. To eat it, just put it on a plate, cover with a wet paper towel and nuke it for about 30 seconds. The buggah comes out piping hot, with a nice, good-as-fresh supple bun and moist, flavorful Char Siu-flavored pork filling. The Char Siu filling doesn’t deviate either from what you’d expect it to taste like. I’ve had other Manapua where I was like “what’s in this?”. You know, that kinda’ weird taste. The ultimate mystery meat. lol
Anyway, if someone hits you up to buy these Regal Fundraiser Manapua, get it. Good stuff.
One day if I hold my own fundraiser, I’d like to sell my Big Island Smoked Meat. I’m pretty confident it would sell out. I wanna’ learn how to make really good smoked marlin. That would sell out quickly too for fundraiser. At least I couldn’t resist someone who asked me, “Like buy Smoked Marlin? My kid’s soccah team get fundraisah fo’ go up mainland”. Brah, do I? I’ll take $100 worth!
Here’s a poll for you to vote for your favorite Fundraiser grindz. Choose the ones you buy enthusiastically because you enjoy eating it, not just because you want to help out the organization or person selling them.