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Kona Potato Chips… Now Available at Manoa Longs!

*This post has been edited due to wonderful breaking news*
From the beautiful island of Maui, the second largest in the Hawaiian chain, we paddle our canoe on over to the largest of them all, appropriately named the Big Island of Hawaii. Specifically sunny Kona, home of Kona Potato Chips.

You may recall we recently took a thorough look at and taste of Kitch ‘n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips, another old school classic Hawaii snack unique to and currently only available on the Valley Isle. What some folks may be confused by is the yellow and red “Kitch ‘n Cook’d” seal that both the Maui brand and Kona Potato Chips share…

To clear that confusion up, these two companies are not affiliated with each other in any way, save for them both being independently-owned manufacturing franchisees of the Kitch’n Cook’d brand. The Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chip product from the Maui Potato Chips Factory in Kahului, Maui has been owned and operated by the Kobayashi family since 1956. The Kona Potato Chips Kitch’n Cook’d Potato Chips are currently owned and operated by Jerome Furukawa out in Captain Cook, Kona, who purchased the business from the Deguchi family back in 1991.

As explained in the Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips write-up, the Kitch’n Cook’d brand was a franchise operation originally from Ohio, where that company provided the equipment to independent franchisees around the nation to make their kettle style potato chips, with part of the deal being that each franchisee be required to use the Kitch’n Cook’d seal on their package. Hence “way back when” you have one franchisee who bought into it on Maui, and the other in Kona. The Kitch’n Cook’d franchise owner on the mainland is no longer in business, yet these two Hawaii companies to this day continue to use the Kitch’n Cook’d seal as part of their brand identity, with Maui Potato Chips Company still using the original Kitch’n Cook’d manufacturing equipment, while the Kona Potato Chips company now have a more modernized automated operation.

Without further ado, in the words of Jerome Furukawa, president of the company, here’s the entire story behind Kona Potato Chips as he tells it….

“In 1991 I bought the Business from the Deguchi family, since Mr. and Mrs. Deguchi were going to retire. They had run the Kitch’n Cook’d potato chip business out of a shack in their backyard for some 50 years. I then moved the business to a building that was about a block away from their house in Captain Cook (Kona). We stayed at that location for 10 years and manufactured the potato chips out of the same equipment that the Deguchi’s had used.

In September of 2001, we relocated the business to my brother-in-law, Dwight Manago’s new building that he had built for us so that we could expand our business. We were now located right next to the Manago Hotel, which is where we are today. We now had a huge area to manufacture our product, and it is at that time that we decided to automate our equipment. We also decided to change our packaging since a lot of people were confusing us with the Kitch’n Cook’d on Maui. We simplified our name to Kona Potato Chips and created a new Hawaiian look to our packaged.

Since we had such a large area, we decided to create a retail section that we would filled with our Kona Potato Chips and a a lot of local snacks. This is when our sister company, Petroglyphs in Paradise was born. Petroglyphs in Paradise is our snack line and our gift basket business. We now have about 100 items that we carry in our retail section. The most popular items under the Petroglyphs in Paradise name would be our Furikake Chips and our “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips.

We are the original and the largest manufacturer of Furikake Chips in the nation. Our “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips are HUGE in size and HUGE in taste. We love to see our customers’ faces when they sample these chips. It makes us proud of what we do and we carry this pride in every batch that we make here at Kona Chips.

Another great seller for us under the Petroglyphs in Paradise name is our Ugly Cookie. The Ugly Cookie has our Kona Chips in them and it is really gaining a following. The Ugly Cookie has become so popular, the Kona Costco approached us to carry it. This is a huge compliment to our baker, Joyce Sweezey.

We will be attending our very first Made in Hawaii Festival this coming August at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. We will have two adjoining booths, 105 and 106 and we will be featuring 4 products at the show – The Kona Chips, The Furikake Chips, The “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips and the Ugly Cookie. We’d love to have everyone come down to sample our products. We we’ll be giving them out all day and we will also have our products available for sale.”

Jerome Furukawa
President, Kona Potato Chips

There you have it by the man himself. I just love to learn about the history of local businesses. It’s always so fascinating!

Well lucky me, I have the wonderful opportunity to sample a tasting preview of what Kona Potato Chips will be offering at the upcoming Made in Hawaii Festival at the Blaisdell this August, which is what I’m sharing with you here today.

Big mahalo to Jerome, who was so kind to personally mail me a care package of all four of their most popular items to try. Here’ they are…


Clockwise: Petroglyphs in Paradise Furikake Chips, Kona “Kitch’n Cook’d” Potato Chips, Petroglyphs in Paradise “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips and Petroglyphs in Paradise Ugly Cookies.

Let’s start with the flagship of the fleet, the Kona “Kitch’n Cook’d” Potato Chips…

Notice they use cottonseed oil, just like the Maui Kitch’n Cook’d brand. The rather simple packaging design with the Petroglyphs and Polynesian tattoo pattern gets the “Made in Hawaii” message across, yet I must say, Atebara’s package design with the Big Island-shaped clear window where you can see the chips inside is much more unique and cool-lookin’…

It’s good see they give you a summary about the company and product on the back of the Kona Potato Chips’ package…

Well, break open the bag and bus’ ’em out, cuz..


Kona Potato Chips

Let’s zoom in closer and inspect the thickness (gauge) of each chip…

O.K., O.K., let’s taste it already… crunching…crunching… mmm-mmm, mmm-mmm, yup. Yup. Yup. Delicious! Very “cripsy- crunchety”. It’s seasoned with just the right amount of salt; not over or underdone. It’s also minimally oily which must be thanks to that “Special Spinning Process” that’s emblazoned as a featured selling point on the front of the package.

Now let’s put it up against its namesake competitor from Maui…


Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chip on the left, Kona Kitch’n Cook’d Potato Chip on the right

The Maui brand is a tad thicker, and with that a “harder” crunch, while in direct comparison, the Kona Potato Chip comes across as being lighter. The Maui brand has the impression and taste of being more rustic and home-made than the Kona brand, thanks to it appearing more dark and golden, and tasting like it’s cook’d either longer or in hotter oil.

While they’re both cook’d (<—notice the spelling) in cottonseed oil, I must declare that Kona Chips oil tastes cleaner, while the Maui brand tastes more burnt in a side-by-side comparison. But I don’t mean that in a bad way towards the Maui brand, as that more burnt flavor also gives it more character.

To sum up this comparo’, the Maui brand is thicker, denser and more rustic, while the Kona brand is slightly thinner and lighter yet also crispy, making both equally oishii in their own, unique way. I’ll hand it to the Maui brand for having more character and originality, and the Kona brand for its lighter, cleaner, perfectly seasoned flavor.

Next up we have Petroglyphs in Paradise Furikake Chips…


Petroglyphs in Paradise Furikake Chips

Out of the package…

Up close…

Now to taste it. Crunch, crunch, mmmm-mmmm, mmmm-mmm. O.K. O.K. Now what I get out of it is that the Furikake (dried seaweed flakes) flavor isn’t as pronounced as I thought it would be. Personally I think they should use furikake that has either more sugar and/or bonito in it. This tastes more like plain sushi style nori, ground up into furikake form and dusted over the chips. The furikake also brought out an odd flavor from the cottonseed oil the chips are fried in. Part of the reason I may have this impression is that I had these sitting around for about 3 weeks (unopened in a cool, dry, dark place) since they were shipped to me, meaning it’s probably already over a month since they were produced. Perhaps if I tried them as soon as I got ’em they may have tasted more fresh? I’m just not really convinced yet that furikake is as as complimentary to potato chips as they are to the other popular American snack, popcorn. I’ll have to try a fresh bag to give you a second opinion, so hold that thought.

Moving right along, we have Petroglyphs in Paradise’ “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips…


Petroglyphs in Paradise “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips

Thanks to the caring hand of USPS, these arrived a little broken, yet thankfully they were at least intact enough to be rendered edible. Here’s one out of the package…


Petroglyphs in Paradise “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chip

As the nickname “Sumo Style” implies, these chips are indeed Sumo wrestler sized! That blue dinner plate the chip is resting on measures 10-1/8″ in diameter, and as you can see, that shrimp chip covers almost the entire span. Move over Akebono!

How are they? By far the BEST Shrimp chip I’ve ever tasted. Just fantasic. They have a texture that’s crispy and airy, yet kind of dense as well thanks to its tapioca base. It reminds of senbei, albeit with that subtle shrimp flavor. The sugar and salt seasoning is balanced just perfectly. Petroglyphs in Paradise Shrimp Chips absolutely ROCK.

Last but not least, we have Petroglyphs in Paradise Ugly Cookies…


Petroglyphs in Paradise Ugly Cookies

You gotta’ love the name “Ugly Cookies”. Do they really look ugly? Let’s see them out of the package…

In the voice of Elmer Fudd, “Ahwwww, you not an aguwee, aguwee cookie, you a pwitty, pwitty cookie.” lol Notice I have my mandatory cookie accompanyment, a glass of cold milk!

Here’s an even closer look at the cookies…

Let’s try it. Mmmm-mmm, mmmm-mmmm. Yup, Yup. Oh yes, these are EXCELLENT! “Crispety-crunchety” fresh-out-the-oven (yet cooled down) flavor, with a rather dense and solid bite to it. The oatmeal adds this wonderful texture to the cookie dough, and it’s riddled with large chunks of chocolate chips, which I think should be emphasized more on its label, as the chocolate chips play a large roll in its overall flavor. Of course dippin’ ’em in milk kicks it to notches unknown to mankind. Bam! Really though, these Ugly Cookies are a thing of beauty on the palate. So good you’d have to hide the cookie jar from the kids if you care to have any left for yourself. Just these 4 in the package weren’t enough to feed my addiction. I want more!

Thankfully, according to Jerome Furukawa, President of Kona Chips, as of Monday, June 22, 2009 these four products are now available on Oahu exclusively at Longs Drugs in the Manoa Marketplace. On top of that, they’re being sold there at factory-direct prices in order to be competitive. Sweet.

Kona Potato Chips also has their own retail storefront at their factory in Captain Cook, Kona, as well as distribution to retailers all over the Big Island of Hawaii.

What? Kona “Kitch’n Cook’d” Potato Chips
Where did you get it and how much? Direct from the factory, n/c
Big Shaka to: Light and crispy. Perfectly seasoned with salt. Cottonseed oil tastes “clean”. Made in Hawaii. Now available exclusively at the Longs Drugs in Manoa Marketplace on Oahu! (as of 6/22/09)
No Shaka to: Not quite as much “character” as the Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chip (a little more generic).
The Tasty Island SPAM Musubi rating: 4

What? Petroglyphs in Paradise Furikake Chips
Where did you get it and how much? Direct from the factory, n/c
Big Shaka to: Overall a tasty and different kind of potato chip than any other I’ve ever tried. Furikake and salt seasoning is evenly dusted and adhered to on all chips (not shaken off to the bottom of bag). Integrated zip-top bag seal (every snack manufacturer should offer this). Made in Hawaii. Now available exclusively at the Longs Drugs in Manoa Marketplace on Oahu! (as of 6/22/09)
No Shaka to: Contrary to it being coated evenly and appearing generous, the furikake doesn’t stand out enough in flavor nor does it really compliment the potato chip as much as I had hoped or expected.
The Tasty Island SPAM Musubi rating: 2

What? Petroglyphs in Paradise “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips
Where did you get it and how much? Direct from the factory, n/c
Big Shaka to: The best Shrimp Chip I’ve had to date. Massive size. Flat profile makes it easy to eat. Pleasantly light and airy Senbei-like texture. Subtle flavors of shrimp, sugar and salt all come together harmoniously. Integrated zip-top bag seal (every snack manufacturer should offer this). Made in Hawaii. Now available exclusively at the Longs Drugs in Manoa Marketplace on Oahu! (as of 6/22/09)
No Shaka to: Chips breaking up while in transit.
The Tasty Island SPAM Musubi rating: 5

What? Petroglyphs in Paradise Ugly Cookies
Where did you get it and how much? Direct from the factory, n/c
Big Shaka to: A beautiful tasting cookie with an ugly name. Crispety-crunchety, fresh-out-the-oven flavor. Oatmeal adds a wonderful texture contrast to the cookie dough. Generous chunks of ooey-gooey chocolate chips. Great for dippin’ in milk. Made in Hawaii. Now available exclusively at the Longs Drugs in Manoa Marketplace on Oahu! (as of 6/22/09)
No Shaka to: I ate all 4 in the package and I want more! Wah, wah!
The Tasty Island SPAM Musubi rating: 5

Contact:

Official website: www.konachips.net

17 thoughts on “Kona Potato Chips… Now Available at Manoa Longs!

  • June 21, 2009 at 7:35 am
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    Pomai, I stayed in Beijing for 6 months a found many interesting potato chips. Like tomato flavor , green tea, sushi, hot pepper. They were made by Lays. I found also green tea toothpaste by Crest also. I rented an apt and lobbylevel were supermarket, bakery, hair styling, dry cleaner, cafe ect. I paid 120. USD a month. Took cab everyday for it easy than subway and bus near by but can’t read Chinese well.

    Showed cab driver paper where to go and no problem easy. Online there places people can print out to show cab drivers and cost is reason. World Trade Center Beijing is good for all workers spoke English.

    Reply
  • June 21, 2009 at 11:51 am
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    Pomai, which store on Oahu carry Kona Potato Chip products? Like to try all of those. I am a potato chip junkie the worst kind ever.

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  • June 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm
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    I guess Amy have to wait till next month for Made in Hawaii festival at Blaisedell Center. When I saw photos went loco for chips (another potato chip junkie). I will be first in line next month to buy some furikake chips for sure. Wonder what the limit per a customer?

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  • June 21, 2009 at 1:54 pm
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    Pomai, I panic when Kelike wrote if there limit per a customer. Wonder if chip company have a email so when they come over next month to Baisedell Center I got reserved of the Furikake chips and other products. Afraid Kelike might buy it all out. HaHa.

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  • June 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm
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    Kelike, I don’t think Jerome read this review yet, but when he does (probably in the coming week), I’m sure he’ll get the message by these comments that the Furikake Chips will be in high demand and bring enough over to accommodate.

    Kelike, when you’re there, you gotta’ sample the Ugly Cookies and Sumo Style Shrimp Chips as well. Addicting stuff!

    Amy, currently there aren’t any retailers on Oahu who carry Kona Potato Chips. I understand Marukai carries Hilo’s Atebara brand though. Hopefully Jerome can get buyers from Oahu’s major supermarkets interested in bringing in them in.

    Betty, I don’t think I want my toothpaste to taste like anything other than mint, thank you very much. Although Wasabi flavored toothpaste doesn’t sound all that bad either. lol

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  • June 21, 2009 at 6:56 pm
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    OK, I let a lot of things slide, but why would Kitchen Cook’d Potato Chips be available only on Kauai?
    “You may recall we recently took a thorough look at and taste of Kitch ‘n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips, another old school classic Hawaii snack unique to and currently only available on the Garden Isle.”

    Maui is the Valley Island; Kauai is the Garden Island. Besides, I see Kitchen Cook’d Chips available all over in Long’s Drugs on Oahu.

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  • June 21, 2009 at 7:08 pm
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    Steve, good call! Regarding the Garden/Valley Isle confusion, I just fixed it. Sorry ’bout that.

    As far as seeing the Maui brand or Kona brand Kitch’n Cook’d Potato Chips in Long’s, I was just in the Long’s Mililani, and the only made-in-Hawaii brand I saw was Maebo’s One-Ton Chips and Yick Lung’s Nibbits and Shrimp Chips.

    Which specific Long’s Drug’s location on Oahu did you see Kitch’n Cook’d Potato Chips (whether that be the Maui or Kona brand)?

    Reply
  • June 22, 2009 at 6:45 am
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    Pomai, maybe they should take order now and instead of paying for mailing have customers pick up products at Hawaii Festival at Baisedell Center. It save customers cost of shiping. I sure many people will attend festival.

    Reply
  • June 22, 2009 at 8:30 am
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    Aloha,

    First of all, I’d like to thank Pomai for featuring us on your blog, The Tasty Island. As for the responders, I’ll try to clear up some of your questions.

    The reason that we didn’t sell our products on the outer island is simply because the distributors take quite a large percentage, thus making the price for our consumers way too high. We have since made a fabulous deal with LONGS MANOA. We will be selling our product to them directly and they have agreed to pick up the pallet of our products at the docks on their own time. They are also willing to make a smaller margin, as we are, in order to give our customers the best pricing available. This now allows our customers to buy our products at Kona prices without having the cost of shipping. Thank you Anna and Stacy at LONGS MANOA!

    OUR PRODUCTS HIT THE SHELVES AT LONGS MANOA ON MONDAY, JUNE 22.
    YEP, THAT”S TODAY!

    The only problem that we felt that we might have, is keeping the “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips from crumbling during transit, thus we have sent them smaller pieces to begin with and we added an additional half an ounce to the bags. The pieces might be smaller, but the taste is still HUGE.

    As for the Made in Hawaii Festival, we have been moved to the Arena side of the venue. We can now be found in booths 391 and 392. The reason for the move, is because we will be cooking our “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips on site. Due to the fire codes, we had to be moved from the Exhibiton Hall over to the Arena.

    Along with the “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips, we will be featuring our Kona Chips, Furikake Chips, and The Ugly Cookie. Please come by our booth for some free samples. We’ll also be selling our products at the booth for your convenience…no need to pre-order.

    Thank you to all of you that have responded and we look forward to meeting all of you at the Made in Hawaii Festival on August 21 -23 at the Blaisdell Arena.

    By the way, my wife Cindee and I will be giving free samples out at Longs Manoa this Sunday, June 28th from 10am – 1pm.
    Come on by, we’d love to chat with you.

    Sincerely,

    Jerome Furukawa
    President, Kona Chips

    Reply
  • June 22, 2009 at 8:41 am
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    Dang. August is too early for me. I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed that maybe Shirokiya will be having a Kona fair? I like furikake chips; I love sumo and I love shrimp chips, so that would be a no-brainer.

    (Oh, I also love a good cookie!)

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  • June 24, 2009 at 5:30 pm
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    Thank you to Mr. Furukawa for making his products available to us at Longs – Manoa!!

    I really would like to support our local industry when possible; especially in these tough economic times. So I definitely would go to Manoa Marketplace and pickup some goodies.

    Aloha to Pomai for providing us with such an informative and awesome foodie blog!

    Reply
  • July 22, 2009 at 11:14 am
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    Great product, would like to add Kona chips to the World of Potato Chips site. People acroos the globe will be impressed by the site and the product.

    Reply
  • November 29, 2009 at 9:15 am
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    I saw your furikake potato chips in the plastic tubs at the NBC craft fair this weekend. Are you going to be at any more fairs in Honolulu before Christmas?
    Or are they available somewhere in Honolulu? I am interested in the potato chips in tubs and not in bags.

    Reply
  • November 29, 2009 at 9:23 am
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    JoAnn, to the best of my knowledge, Kona Potato Chips are only available in Honolulu sold in bags, not tubs at select Longs Drugs (Manoa being one) and I believe Walmart (although I’m not positive on the latter). For the 5-quart pail, you’ll either have to fly to the big island and get it, or order it online from their website at http://www.konachips.net

    Or call them by phone (see website for number). Jerome, the president of the company, is a really nice guy and very accommodating.

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  • May 6, 2010 at 9:51 pm
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    i love your “ugly cookies”. do you make it without chocolate? or with raisins? looking forward to hopefully seeing it soon at CVS/Longs.

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  • August 18, 2011 at 8:09 pm
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    I sent a bag of the Ugly Cookies to Massachusetts. Big mistake. Now I have a whole Boston family wanting them. And for the life of me I can no longer find them on the Big Island. At one time Costco sold them in the big plastic container. And KTA Store in Hilo use to have the bags. Now, no mo’.

    Reply

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