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Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips

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.


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

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!

57 thoughts on “Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips

  • May 6, 2009 at 6:03 am
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    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.

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  • May 6, 2009 at 8:32 am
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    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.

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  • May 6, 2009 at 8:55 am
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    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!

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  • May 6, 2009 at 9:00 am
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    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:)

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  • May 6, 2009 at 9:04 am
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    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!!

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  • May 6, 2009 at 9:07 am
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    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.

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  • May 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm
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    never tried them with ice cream but will now have to :)

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  • May 7, 2009 at 6:20 am
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    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.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm
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    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!

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  • May 7, 2009 at 7:45 pm
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    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!

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  • May 24, 2009 at 11:02 pm
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    wea can i get a couple cases of the the “YICK LUNG FLAVERED SHRIMP CHIPS’ thanks for the help…

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  • September 28, 2009 at 6:58 am
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    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.

    Reply
  • December 24, 2009 at 2:37 pm
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    I like to know the cost of the 6 bag, 12 bag and 24 bag shipped to Chicago. I’m an old customer. aloha !

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  • December 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm
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    Harry, I’ll call Mark (the owner) on Monday and get the info’ for you.

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  • January 18, 2010 at 4:37 pm
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    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.

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  • January 18, 2010 at 4:40 pm
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    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?

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  • January 18, 2010 at 5:34 pm
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    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!

    :-)

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  • January 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm
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    eating some right now they are the best chips EVER!!

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  • July 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm
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    Sounds good, but i want more flavors and a a dollar an ounce is way too much considering its just oil ,potaoes and salt

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  • August 19, 2011 at 6:04 am
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    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!

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  • August 20, 2011 at 10:44 am
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    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!

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  • September 22, 2011 at 6:46 am
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    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.

    Reply

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