Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips


Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips – 4.5 oz. package, $4.50 direct from Maui Potato Chip Factory outlet.

If you’re not a Maui resident or haven’t visited the valley isle in recent time, chances are you haven’t seen these Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips for a while. Because of its current exclusivity to the Maui market, some folks may have even wondered whether this product or company that makes it still exists at all.

Well as you see by the bag presented here (mahalo to our Maui ohana for sending us a few bags!), Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips and the Maui Potato Chips Factory in Kahului who makes it are indeed still alive and well. Well, well enough to survive these tough economic times we’ve been dealing with, where local retailers and distributors around the islands have been streamlining their merchandising practices. Meeting demand has also been a challenge due to limited manufacturing capability with their current facility and manpower, and Maui Potato Chips Factory insists on maintaining quality control as their top priority.

That said, according to Mark Kobayashi, the third-generation owner and operator of the business, Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips are currently only available at select retail locations on the island of Maui or direct from their factory in Kahului.

Also, don’t go looking for fancy, say, “Maui Onion” or Lahaina Barbecue” flavors from Maui Potato Chips Factory, as they only offer one flavor, which is the good ole’ fashioned “regular” Maui Potato chips featured here.

The Kobayashi’s are actually the third owners of the business, where Mark’s grandfather Yoshio bought the business from former owner JJ Kohama, who in turn had carried on from the original founder of these Maui potato chips from pioneer Maki Nakamura.

As stated on the package, Maui Potato Chip Factory, under ownership by the Kobayashi family, began in 1956.

In case you’re wondering what the deal is with the name “Kitch’n Cook’d”, it turns out this was the trade name given by a turn-key franchise originally started by a businessman from Springfield, Ohio way back when. This franchise operation provided the potato chip manufacturing equipment, cooking process, and most importantly the “Kitch’n Cook’d” signature logo that we still see the packaging labeled with to this day.

This explains why you see the same Kitch’n Cook’d label on potato chips from a company in Kona, as well as one operating out of Virginia. These are all independent (non-related) Kitch’n Cook’d franchisees.

Speaking of logo and label, ask anyone who grew up in Hawaii within the last several decades or so, and most will be remember back to “hanabaddah dayz” the distinctive red, yellow and clear plastic bag these classic Hawaii-made chips are packaged in. The label design is pretty much how I remember it when they used to carry the product here on Oahu.

As for the “DO NOT EXPOSE TO SUNSHINE” disclaimer loudly emblazoned across the top band, according to Mark, the reasoning behind that is that the heat and UV rays will cause the chips to go soft (taste stale) due to the cottonseed oil content and lack of chemical preservatives (a good thing!).

There’s no frills on the back of the packaging, which includes no other information except a bar code…

In the future I’d like to see at least a brief company history summary printed on back.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is how relatively greasy these chips are, which you can visually see the cottonseed oil they’re fried in lightly coating the inside of the clear plastic package (click on photos above).

Let’s see how they look out of the package…

Yup, even the chips look the same. They have that same, rustic, hand-cut appearance, with each and every chip having its own unique shape. Some more brown, some less than others. Notice some of the chips still have a little skin on them, which further enhances their hand-made appeal and flavor. The potatoes they use are the Idaho variety from California, specially grown for the chip manufacturing market.

They’re also still relatively thick and very crispy like every good kettle style chip should be. Seasoning-wise, I’m happy to say they’re salted perfectly, where I’m not running for the nearest water fountain after eating just two chips. Know what I mean? Being salted at the right level and being extra crispy, these were just begging to hit some dip.

Mark mentioned these chips tastes great when dipped into French Vanilla Ice Cream, so I tried it…


Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips with French Vanilla Ice Cream “dip”

Hey, that’s pretty good! It almost makes the potato chip taste more a snack wafer, while the salt on it punches out the French Vanilla flavor quite a bit. The coolness of the ice cream also helps cancel out some of the greasiness of the chip. Even if you don’t have a Maui Potato Chip, try it with any kettle chip you’ve got. You just might like it yourself. I bet it’d taste even better dipped into some (softened) Tasaka Strawberry or Pineapple Guri Guri!

Then I tried it with some Clam Dip…


Clam Dip

Of course, guaranz crispy potato chips that are salted just right dipped in clam dip is gonna’ be a winnah, as it was here.

Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips are available in 1 oz. ($1.00 factory outlet price) and 4.5 oz. ($4.50 factory outlet price) bag sizes. A 10 oz. bag ($10) is also available by special order direct from the factory. Retail stores on Maui who currently carry it include Long’s, Star Market, Foodland, Safeway, Ah Fook’s, ABC Stores and even Tasaka Guri Guri. Retail store prices are higher. Call for more information.

What? Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips
Who makes it? Maui Potato Chips Factory
295 Lalo place, Kahului, Maui, Hawaii 96732 Tel. 808-877-3652
Ingredients: Potatoes, cottonseed oil, salt.
Date of purchase: 5/1/09 (direct from outlet)
Big shaka to: Thick and crispy. Perfectly seasoned (wth salt). Tasty home-made flavor, including some skin on it! Rigid and seasoned just right for use as a dip chip. Nostalgic product and packaging. A made in Hawaii classic.
No shaka to: a little greasy (yet they always were that way). Only available on Maui.
The Tasty Island rating: 4 SPAM Musubi

Now to get my hands on a few flavors of Hilo’s famous Atebara’s Potato Chips!


Comments

Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips — 47 Comments

  1. Seriously? A potato chip from MAUI sold only in MAUI, with a great big warning label on the bag “Do not expose to sunshine”… Maybe its me but I want to get a few bags and conduct some sunshine experiments to figure out why it carries such a large warning label. I mean we get a little sunshine around the islands.

  2. I remember eating a lot of these chips while growing up on the Big Island. I don’t know how we got them though. What I remember most about them was a period when they were really burnt for some reason. Not golden brown, but more dark brown.

    Maybe that’s what happens to them when exposed to sunshine.

  3. Eh, a little slice of my hometown Kahului! My bruddah used to be one of the purveyors of Maui potato chips and used to send me home with half a case everytime during college breaks. Oh yeah the memories!

    Serious about the sun though. Anyone who carries Maui potato chips on Maui know not to put the chips on a rack near the sun. It makes the chips go stale quick. It’s not a big deal if you open the bag and eat the chips on a picnic the same day…but after a day or 2 it will go stale guarantee! Besides, I never waste them anyway, for all those calories and grease I make it worth it and eat it all!

  4. OMg I forgot allllllllll about dipping it in ice cream!!! MANY MANY MANY mahalos for this post. I’m getting all teary-eyed – it’s hard to have moved away from HI and forgotten all the things I used to do, foods we used to eat whe i was little. Now i can introduce this Maui “specialty” to my daughter:)

  5. oh yeah, and my mom knew someone who worked there, and they used to bring us huge brown paper sacks of the little bit koge (burnt) ones. …which i used to hate:0 I like the golden ones, preferably with da HUGE oily bubbles on it!!

  6. Pomai, I forgot all about this chip but after reading your blog I back to Maui Chip again. Some people laugh at me for sometime dipping chip in catsup for it taste like french fry potato in it.

  7. Hey Pomai – My Mom was from Maui, so this is a little slice of my childhood. It’s good to know that unlike the Chowfun from Liberty Restaurant, and good Maui Hot Dogs, that Kitch’n Cook’d is going strong.

  8. I couldn’t find an e-mail address to ask this, so, I will leave a comment instead.

    I lived in Honolulu during the first half of the ’90′s. We used to go to this little place pretty close to Hickam. I think it was called The Big Kahuna something, but, I’m not sure. I do know that we used to get these buns called big kahuna balls. They were like manapua buns sans meat and came in a foil cake pan with cheese and butter and garlic and all sorts of yummy. And, the owner had a little poodle he had died rainbow. :)

    Do you know of this place? Have you reviewed it? Can you review it?

    I miss Hawaii…love the blog!

  9. pomai… YES! that’s it. My daughters loved going with Dad to pick up the big kahuna balls and petting that dog. :)

    Thanks so much!

  10. To whom it may concern:

    I am a 5th grader working on a science fair project. It is about potato chips and how much oil or the least amount of oil in them. When I place them in a paper bag,I would like any information that would help me with my research . My project is due Oct. 20, 2009,I would greatly appreciate any thing you could do mail to help me.

    My name is:
    Jaquan Niblett
    905 Owens Road
    Martinsville VA,24112

    Thank you in advance for your help.

  11. These are the BEST potato chips IN THE WORLD. The first thing I do when I come to Maui is hunt down a half dozen bags or so–to get me started. I first had them in 1975 at a hotel in Kaanapali. I thought they were stale. Then I ate some more. . and some more, and finally was totally addicted. They are an acquired taste, but after you’re hooked, there’s no turning back, and unfortunately “the first one is NOT free.” I don’t care what the price is, because this is the only place in the world I can get them, and since I am only here a week (as I am now, in Wailea) I will buy many bags knowing once I head for the mainland it’s “goodbye Maui Chips.” Don’t be fooled by Frito Lay and those other Maui “STYLE” chips. There is only one.

  12. I’d like to have bags shipped to me in Danville, California (Northern Cal) How many come in a box?

    Don DeFesi
    559 Moringhome Road
    Danville, Ca 94526
    925-963-3934

    I am here on Maui until Saturday. Are we allowed to take them off the island on a plane?

  13. Aloha Don,

    Potato chips are certainly allowed on board and as cargo on a plane. With that, I’d go straight to the factory in Kahului for the best price. Talk with the owner, Mark. He’d be glad to accommodate you. Nice guy.

    If I were you I’d pack and ship as many bags in a box (or boxes) that you’re willing to pay for in extra luggage charges by the airline you’re traveling on.

    While you’re in Hawaii, you should also give the Kona Kitch’nCook’d Kettle Chips a try. Good stuff too. Considerably lighter. I’m not sure if you can find them on Maui though. If you stop in Honolulu, you can find them at Walmart, Don Quijote and select Long’s Drugs stores. Try the locally-made Taro Chips too. Also excellent.

    Enjoy your stay in Wailea. I LOVE that place! Maui no ka’ oi!

    Oh, consider dinner at Tommy Bahama’s in the Shops at Wailea. Great food. Nick’s Fishmarket in the Kealani Hotel is also awesome for upscale dining.

    Also stop by Alexander’s in Kihei for some great Fish ‘n Chips! Don’t forget to try Tasaka’s Guri Guri (sherbert) in Kahului, and for a real “where the locals eat” experience, get some Dry Noodles at Sam Sato’s in Wailuku. All MUST-DO eats in Maui!

    :-)

  14. Sounds good, but i want more flavors and a a dollar an ounce is way too much considering its just oil ,potaoes and salt

  15. Brought back a dozen bags to Georgia. The chips did not stand a chance with my haole friends at work, they went fast. If you visit Maui eat at Da’ Kitchen and get some local ice cream at Guri Guri. And bring back more than a dozen bag of chips!

  16. Dexter, Da’ Kitchen recently set up shop here on Oahu. Now all we need here on Oahu is a Tasaka’s Guri Guri and Sam Sato’s outpost!

  17. years ago, there was a story about the owner in parade magazine. he had been approached by several large corporations on the mainland to expand his operation. his answer was classic. he said he came in early, and cooked a batch every day. by about 10 am, he was pau, and by about 11 am, all the chips was sold, and he could go down to the beach.

  18. Can I place an order to be delivered to NJ? I ate them everyday while on my Honeymoon and ordered them one time years ago for an Anniversary present for my husband on my tenth and this May will be my 20th and hoped to be able to get them again.

  19. Best chips I’ve eaten, haven’t seen them in a few years, I am coming to Maui in June, 2012, hope to find them. I live in a small town, pop. 2500, when I ordered a case to be shipped they were nearly gone when I left the postoffice in Marietta, Oklahoma. Keep making great schips!

  20. You can purchase the chips by either calling 808-877-3652. I spoke to Dianne today and she told me that you will have to first send them a money order made out to Maui Potato Chip Factory
    295 Lalo Street
    Kahului HI 96732
    Double check for the pricing of state but I was quoted $33.00 for 4 bags of 4.25 oz bags. The price includes shipping. They also have smaller bags. I was told that the larger bags don’t have the cushion. I would call first just to make sure you are sending the correct amount. They can also send to APOs. Also make sure you add your contact info and where you would like the chips sent to. Dianne was very nice and I can’t wait to place my order. It’s pretty expensive but I want to see if they taste anything like the chips in Italy by San Carlo. We were there on vacation and these are the best chips I have ever eaten in my life but they don’t ship. If you ever go to Italy you must try the San Carlo potato chips. I hope these chips taste as good.

  21. I have not been back to Maui since 1994. The new wife and I was staying at Lahaina at a place on honoapiilani rd. I told her about Maui Kitchen Cooked chips,,she wanted some and I found them at Times market. It was not till I got home that I saw that I paid $7.29 for a 4.25 oz bag !!!I figured the cost at $27.44 a pound. I was going to scream in your face but I saw what they cost at your store,,,so I guess I’ll save the scream for Times mkt. I have been eating your chips since 1975, that is why I wanted the wife to have some,,and yes she enjoyed them also. Aloha,,another haole that loves your island..Maui no ka ‘oi

    • Russ,

      $7.29 a bag at Times Supermarket? Sheesh! I can see that price at a convenience store near a resort area, but not at a supermarket where locals shop. Highway robbery if you ask me.

      • I believe the Times the OP was referring to is in Honokowai, which is a tourist area. This could be why the price was over $7 although they’re not the cheapest chips around. I lived on Maui my whole life and actually prefer other chips over the Maui chips. IMO, they’re cooked too much. Ha, ha!!!

        • David,

          Well, we all know you can buy a HUGE bag of Kirkland Salt ‘n Pepper Kettle style Potato Chips from the Costco in Kahului for much cheaper per pound, which are personally one of my faves of the genre. HOWEVER, you can do that “ANYWHERE USA”. It’s part novelty eating these exclusively Maui-made potato chips (that you can’t buy ANYWHERE ELSE ON THIS PLANET), and having the bragging rights doing so. If you will. Right?

  22. These ARE the world’s best potato chips, a unique and enduring product far superior to its many fraudulent imitators. Interestingly, I have found that the owner, Mark Kobayashi, is more knowledgeable about current events in NASA’s space program than many of my science colleagues in California. I suggest that NASA select these chips as a prime energy source for astronauts on the first manned mission to Mars!

    • Dr. Goldberg,

      Obviously you got the BETTER batch, as compared to Mr. Shevock (see following comment). These really can be a hit or miss. I remember them as a kid being soggy and greasy, and far from being the BEST POTATO CHIP in the WORLD. However, the last few bags we’ve had were STELLAR as you noted. Worthy of a flight to Mars for sure!

      Only problem: they probably won’t hold up that well under such direct sunlight – especially factoring in no ozone layer or cloud cover to protect them whatsoever from the excessive heat and UV – as the bag’s disclaimer on the top yellow band clearly states. Imagine if the bag’s disclaimer stated “PLEASE DO NOT CONSUME BEYOND EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE“.

      Hey, with “Space Tourism” coming soon, food manufacturers just might have to label their products as such! I wonder how a can of Coca Cola holds up in space? Or how about Pop Rocks? I’m thinkin’ basic things like fresh bread, milk and eggs don’t fare so well up there. Or anything “fresh” for that matter.

  23. My wife and I used to LOVE these chips because they were so flavorful from all the grease used in making them. That is why the bag warned about being exposed to sunlight. On a recent trip to Maui, we bought a bag, being shocked that the bag has now shrunk, and the price is up to $6.99 retail! Worse of all, the chps were not good. They lost all the grease in the bag that once gave them their characteristic flavor, and now they were dry and overcooked! In effect, they sucked. We won’t be buying them ever again…..

    • Frank, in defense of Kitch’n Cook’d, keep in mind that these are practically HAND-MADE (using antiquated manufacturing equipment, hence the brand name), as compared to the mass-produced potato chips by major manufacturers, so it’s expected to have variations in quality and doneness from bag to bag, price notwithstanding. Add to that the higher cost of lower production, and overall extremely high cost of doing business in general in Hawaii (taxes, real estate, labor, etc.), and it’s no wonder most food products made in Hawaii (including this) are considerably more expensive than their mass-produced counterparts from the mainland.

      Most products labeled “Made in Hawaii” (that truly are) are going to carry a relatively premium price tag.

      I’d say give another bag ‘o these a shot if you’re back on Maui again. Try it dipped in some Vanilla Ice Cream. Surprisingly ono like that! Oh, and don’t forget to visit Tasaka Guri Guri and Sam Sato’s for some Dry Mein. Another Maui MUST!

  24. Aloha!

    I remembered Maui’s Kitch’n Cook’d Potato Chips from 40 years ago during my university days in Hawaii and it was a pleasant surprise to encounter them in Maui recently! It was like stepping back in time tasting them again! Hopefully they can utilise a retail outlet on O‘ahu in the future since their product is so unique – especially compared with the mass produced versions. Let’s pray their equipment can manage another few decades!
    Much mahalo, :-))
    Gary

  25. Aloha and Mahalo Pomai for all your wonderful comments.

    We have just returned to Australia after an amazing holiday on Maui and I am desperate to order some of these scrumptious chips for my husband (ok, and me too!!) to be shipped to us in Australia. I would like a big box full. Can I order them online? Pomai, are you able to help?

    Mahalo, Lorraine

  26. Aloha Lorraine,

    I just spoke with Diane Kobayashi, wife/owner of Maui Potato Chips Factory. Here’s the current deal: Maui’s own Kitch’n Cook’d Chips are currently available for retail sales at most major Maui grocery stores for about $5 per 4.5 oz. bag. You can also buy them direct at their factory outlet for a bit less than that.

    They currently don’t do eCommerce, and they’re not sold anywhere else but on Maui, except soon at one Longs Drugs location on Oahu, at the former Star Market in Mo’ili’ili, however that won’t start until next week (yay!).

    They can also ship a case of twelve 4.5 oz. bags to Oahu for $75, including shipping and tax. So that’s about $12 additional over local retail on Maui for the shipping here in the neighbor islands. Not bad, actually.

    They can also ship (by air) to the mainland US at variable rates, depending how far, of course.

    However, they DO NOT ship to foreign countries, including Australia. (sorry)

    All factory-direct orders to the neighbor islands of Hawaii and the U.S. Mainland are paid through money order, no credit cards.

    So basically your only option if you have no other connections in Hawaii, would be me, where I could have a case of 12 bags shipped to my doorstep here on Oahu for $75, then ship them to you to Australia, however I’m not sure how much the additional shipping will cost to do that. I’m estimating at least an additional $25 (U.S.) or so, depending on the method. If you have shipping connections, that would help!

    FYI, Dianne said they have no plans on increasing the volume of their operation for wider distribution, as being hand-made the old-fashioned way is part of the romance of their exclusive Made in Maui kettle-style Potato Chips. I agree!

    If you have any questions, call the factory direct at 808-877-3652 during weekly business hours HST. Nice folks!

    • Aloha Pomai,

      Thank you so much for all your wonderful advice and the effort you have gone to. Thank you also for your kind offer of on-forwarding the chips to Australia for me, that was very generous.

      Considering we would be looking at approximately $100 US for 12 packets of chips, we feel this is a little too expensive, despite the chips being soooo good.

      We will just have to wait until our next visit!!

      Mahalo again so much.

      Lorraine

      • Lorraine,

        You’re very welcome. I was about to say, it’s not going to be the same, anyway, eating those chips in Australia. Especially after paying that much for them, which might dim the appeal. Often times, regional specialties just have to be eaten there where’s it’s made. It’s not the food or dish itself, but the ambiance and surroundings you’re at where you’re enjoying it. I’d much rather be eating Maui Chips sitting on my hotel balcony overlooking the ocean in Kihei or Wailea, or hanging out at Little Beach Makena, than sitting watching TV in my living room here on Oahu (which ain’t all that bad either, but just sayin’).

        Surely Australia has its own great selection of kettle style potato chips (thick cut, deep fried and extra crispy). My favorite brand from our local Costco is none other than the Kettle brand, particularly the Salt & Pepper flavor. Oh, so good!

        • Aloha Pomai,

          Yes, you’re absolutely right! With it not being realistic for us to export the chips to Australia it gives us a good excuse to come back soon!! Not that we need a reason, we LOVE your precious little spot in the world.
          I can’t believe how helpful, informative and kind you have been, not only to me but all the way through your blog. You are a very generous person.
          Mahalo nui loa.

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