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Hawaiian Luau Barbeque Rings & Kettle Style Potato Chips

Tim’s Cascade Snacks’ Hawaiian Barbeque Rings tastes just like the original Yick Lung Nibb-its!

Starting off this multi-product review, we’ll be making a comparison between Tim’s Cascade Snack’s Hawaiian Barbeque Rings and Yick Lung’s Nibb-its snack chips.

The reason being, back in May of ’07 when we reminisced several popular ‘Classic Hawaii Snack Chips‘, I had noted how the Nibb-its I bought at the time weren’t quite the same as I remember them from childhood, saying “While a good try, they lack the porosity, fluff and prominent spicy barbecue flavor I remember them to be. While these here aren’t bad in and of itself, again, not the same. These are more “sealed” if you will. Crunchy, but too dense. Not fluffy enough. Best way to describe it. Most importantly, there isn’t enough barbecue spice flavoring sprinkled on it, making them bland to the original in comparison. I remember the originals being rather HOT, spice-wise.”

After reviewing some old comments following that post, thanks to reader Lawrence pointing it out, I took notice to fellow reader Lisa’s previous comment (which I should have done at the time) where she agreed with my sentiment, saying,  “I too have been disappointed with the modern Yick Lung Nibbits. They taste more like those cheap shrimp chips that you can get for a dollar at Longs.”

As you see by the headline product here, Lisa then suggested in her comment a new snack chip she discovered which tastes more like the original Yick Lung Nibb-its we so fondly remember from small keed time, adding, “HOWEVER!! I have come across something that is pretty darn close! They are the “Hawaiian Luau Barbeque Rings” made by Tim’s Cascade Snacks. I’ve only seen them in the single-serving bags, 1.5 ounce. But they taste (and ‘feel’ – you mentioned the texture and I agree) like the old Nibbits did, only they’re in an “O” shape.

Intrigued by her comment and finally following up on it, I recently stopped by Time’s Supermarket on King street, where sure enough they had Tim’s Cascade Snacks’ Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings in stock. Not only this flavor, but several other varieties as well under Tim’s Cascade Snacks’ ‘Hawaiian’ product line. I was only disappointed they didn’t carry the Teriyaki Kettle Chip flavor, as they show on their website.

Here’s the back of the Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings package where you’ll find all the nutritional and product information…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings, $1.69/1.5 oz. bag

Let’s take a look at these Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings out of the bag….

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings… the “new” original Nibb-its?

They sure look similar in puffy-fluffy texture, along with the generously-coated barbecue seasoning I remember the “old school” Yick Lung Nibb-its having.

Now let’s try a few. Yup, oh yes. Now THIS is more like the old school Nibb-its I remember. This is it! If not for the ring-shaped form, if I closed my eyes, I’d think these were the real Nibb-its deal.

Crunchy, puffy, very porous, light and airy. It’s also very SPICY hot like I remember the “old school” Nibb-its were; at least so they seemed to my adolescent-aged palate at the time. They also have a little sweetness to it that really helps balance out the spiciness. Really ono! I’m going 3 SPAM Musubi on these. They’re actually a little too hot, so scale back the cayenne or whatever pepper that’s providing the ample heat and these could be a 4 SPAM Musubi’er.

Fortunately Time’s also had Yick Lung’s current offering of Nibb-its in stock in the same section of the aisle, so I picked up a package for a side-by-side comparison…

Yick Lung Nibb-its – 2009 edition, $3.49/1.9 oz. bag

Notice on the label, Yick Lung is celebrating their 109th Anniversary this year, making them a 110 year old Kama’aina company. Very impressive! Now if they can only get their stuff together and be the big “Crack Seed Company” we once knew them as. Yick Lung used to have their own cracked seed manufacturing facility on Dillingham Boulevard, across the Cutter Dealership, but they sold it a few decades ago.

Back in the day, you’d commonly find Yick Lung’s entire crack seed line prominently displayed in front of checkout stands at Longs Drugs and most local supermarkets, easily distinguishable by their classic yellow, red and blue logo package label (see inset of it on package label above). Now no mo’ nottin’; only get da’ Enjoy brand (which is darned good I might add) and a few other spin-offs.

Now let’s check out Yick Lung’s Nibb-its in this newest batch…

Yick Lung Nibb-its – 2009 edition

Trying it out, these are more fluffy and seasoned, and truer to the original than the Nibb-its I had in the previous write-up. Yet on the downside they’re also a little more greasy and “starchy” flavored underneath the seasoning – an attribute not noticeable in the Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings.  I’m gonna’ have to agree with Lisa that Tim’s Cascade Snacks Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings still taste more like the original Nibb-its than the new Nibb-its do themselves. Go figgah’.

This latest batch of Nibb-its have improved though over the last time, which I’ll give them 2 SPAM Musubi as it is now. At least if not considering the considerable price difference: this 1.9 oz. package of Nibb-its costs $3.49, where as the slightly smaller quantity package of Tim’s Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings were just $1.69 each. Of course, supporting the local brand – regardless of price – would be the right thing to do.

It was funny reading Lawrence’ comment about enjoying Nibb-its with “wit da pog ice cake”. Ha! Small keed time, we used to have that with snack chips too! FYI, POG is an acronym for Passion-Orange-Guava juice, which when frozen in a paper cup is what’s referred to as ‘POG Ice Cake”‘. To eat it, you pop the frozen cup-formed juice out and invert back in the cup as a holder and lick away. Good stuff!

Moving on, also joining this segment of Tim’s Cascade Snacks’ product line are these Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Rings…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Rings, $1.69/1.5 oz. bag

What you need to know…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Rings, $1.69/1.5 oz. bag

Here they are out of the package…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks’ Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Rings tastes like a lighter, sweeter Funyon

While I don’t have any Funyons on hand to compare with side-by-side, I can say these are a mighty tasty, slightly sweet, very light and fluffy alternative.

Nothing on the packaging boasts that this uses genuine Maui Onions, unless you assume that by its name. While in the ingredients, it does list Onion Powder. So these get their sweetness – which Maui Onions are known for – simply from sugar, which is also listed in the ingredients.

Regardless of how they get their sweet onion flavor, good stuff! I’ll give these another solid 3 SPAM Musubi.

Next we move on to the Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips side of the family, starting with the Original flavor…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Original Kettle Style Potato Chips, $2.99/5 oz. bag

I must say, the packaging artwork throughout the ‘Hawaiian’ chips and rings family looks absolutely fantastic. It also might have you assume at first impression that these products are made in Hawaii, not Algona, Washington, which is where they’re from.

What you need to know…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Original Kettle Style Potato Chips, $2.99/5 oz. bag

Let’s check out the chips…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Original Kettle Style Potato Chips

They have that rustic, random Kettle style appearance, with about a 1mm gauge thickness to each chip. Surprisingly, as most chips nowadays are the opposite, these were rather UNDER-salted. Texture-wise, they’re crispy-crunchy, while being rigid like every kettle-cooked chip should be, though not as much as the thicker (and I think one of the best out there) Kettle brand. The very light treatment of salt, along with the specific type of cooking oil and/or potatoes they use to make these offer just an OK Kettle Chip, IMO. I think Frito Lay’s Maui Style Potato Chips and both Maui and Kona’s Kitch’n Cook’d Kettle style potato chips have them beat here. That said, I’ll give these 1 SPAM Musubi.

Just like the Hawaiian Rings, these Kettle Style Potato Chips are also available in Sweet Maui Onion flavor….

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Kettle Style Potato Chips

What you need to know…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Kettle Style Potato Chips, $2.99/5 oz. bag

Let’s try the chips…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Kettle Style Potato Chips

Now these are really packed with “sweet Maui onion” flavor, thanks to the powdered ingredients generously coating each chip. Yet it’s pretty well balanced and in harmony with the rigid Kettle Potato Chip foundation, helping to punch that flavor out as well. This is much better than the Original chip, IMO. For that I’ll give this one a very solid 2 SPAM Musubi, and a qualified contender to Frito Lay’s Maui Style Maui Onion Potato Chips.

Finally their Hawaiian Luau BBQ Kettle Style Potato Chips…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Luau BBQ Kettle Style Potato Chips, $2.99/5 oz. bag

Notice the fellahz putting the the pig in da’ Imu . Also notice it says “Sweet & Spicy” along with “Crispy and Crunchy”. Sounds like all the stuff to make for a mighty tasty potato chip.What you need to know…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Luau BBQ Kettle Style Potato Chips, $2.99/5 oz. bag

Let’s try it…

Tim’s Cascade Snacks – Hawaiian Luau BBQ Kettle Style Potato Chips

Oh yes, this one is my favorite of the 3 Kettle Potato Chip varieties. Which is surprising, as I’m not one who normally cares for Barbecue flavored chips, finding them usually overpowering and “artificial”. But this one has just the right amount of sweet and heat, while not being overpowered by the smoke flavoring, which I otherwise find off-putting. It seems to be essentially the same seasonings they use in the Luau Rings version, albeit this one doesn’t seem as spicy-hot for some reason. Summing it up, I’ll give their Hawaiian Luau BBQ Kettle Style Potato Chips a mighty tasty 3-SPAM Musubi.

Rewind back to the Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings, since they’re very similar in taste and texture to the original Yick Lung Nibb-Its, albeit in a ring shape, this is good news for you Hawaii expats seeking out some of the island grinds from your “hannah-baddah dayz” memories. Being that Tim’s Cascade Snacks is located in Washington state and has nationwide distributorship, these Nibb-Its knocks should be easy for you to find in your neck of the woods. Oh, and don’t forget da’ POG (or whatever your favorite juice flavor) Ice Cake to go along with it!

What? Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings & Kettle Style Potato Chips
Who makes it? Tim’s Cascade Snacks – 1150 Industry Drive North, Algona, Washington 98001  253-833-0255   www.timschips.com
Where did you buy it and how much it cost? Times Supermarket (King street location). $2.99 per 5 oz. bag potato chips; $1.69 per 1.5 oz. bag rings.
Big Shaka to: Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings tastes almost exactly like the “old school” Yick Lung Nibb-its that I remember. Hawaiian Luau BBQ Kettle Style Potato Chips are a great spin-off from the Luau BBQ Rings version (or is it the other way around?). Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Kettle Style Potato Chips are quite true to their name in actual flavor. All bags of chips were fresh and crunchy.  Great packaging artwork. Yick Lung’s current Nibb-its have improved a bit (no pun intended)
No shaka to: Yick Lung Nibb-its are comparitavely overpriced; also, recipe still needs some tweaking. Hawaiian Original Kettle Style Potato Chips were a little undersalted and bland (surprising that I say that).

The Tasty Island rating:

• Yick Lung Nibb-Its (2009 edition) – 2 SPAM Musubi
Tim’s Cascade Snacks:
• Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings – 3 SPAM Musubi
• Hawaiian Sweet Onion Rings – 2 SPAM Musubi
• Hawaiian Original Kettle Style Potato Chips – 1 SPAM Musubi
• Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Kettle Style Potato Chips – 2 SPAM Musubi
• Hawaiian Luau BBQ Kettle Style Potato Chips – 3 SPAM Musubi

Related links on The Tasty Island:
Classic Hawaii Snack Chips
Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips
Kona Potato Chips
Hilo’s Atebara Potato Chips
Maui Style Shrimp Chips

12 thoughts on “Hawaiian Luau Barbeque Rings & Kettle Style Potato Chips

  • October 29, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Pomai, I prefer kettle cooked chip regular. I buy local made brand to surport Hawaii own. I like it with catup for dipping.

  • October 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I have to buy some Hawaiian Luau Barbecue Rings! I can still remember that distinctive taste of Nibb-Its from the old days. Pomai – thanks for doing a thorough chip tasting. Are you all “Chip-out”? LOL

  • October 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Deanna, at the time of the write-up sampling all those varieties, I was indeed all “Chipped-out”. Sure had to drink plenty of water. I think I’m OK now.

    Kimo, that gives me a good idea: I’m gonna’ try dippin’ them in the Banana Ketchup!

    FYI – You can now get the Kona Potato Chips “Kitch’n Cook’d” kettle style chips on Oahu at select Longs Drugs and Walmart.

  • November 1, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I had the bbq rings before and the heat is perfect. I just think youre a wuss.

  • November 1, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Hugh, ha ha. Actually the spiciness of it is just fine with me. Yet I’m certainly not one who’s willing to pop a Habarero chili pepper anytime soon. lol

  • March 3, 2010 at 5:58 am

    GMO corn and yellow #5 (Tartrazine)…Mmmmm, yummie! enjoy your poisons – and your failing health, through the years.

  • March 3, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Randy, how ironic you mention that today. As if those ingredients alone aren’t enough to (questionably) cause health problems, according to breaking news yesterday/today, there’s a recall on certain dated batches of Tim’s Cascade Maui Onion flavored snack products due to, what else? Salmonella.

    Thankfully the date stamp on the bags purchased for this review (’09) predate the ones listed in this recall (’10 to ’11).

    Hey HawaiiNewsNow.com, nice photo you got there of Tim’s Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Rings. Looks familiar. I’m flattered. :-)


  • October 1, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Trying to find the 32oz bags of Hawaiin Maui Sweet onion chips. The trick is that we live in Colorado. Found them at Costco in Bozeman, Mt and that was the last place. Can you be of help? We need them bad!!!!

  • November 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    We were stationed on Oahu for many years. Living in aiea we became very into Hawaiian foods and snacks. But now back in Kansas city could you PLEASE help us find a website to order nibb it’s we can’t stand it any longer

  • January 22, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    my name is johnny brown I recently moved here to ok from ca imiss your maui sweet onion kettle style chips. is their any way I can purchase them from here.

  • January 22, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    I recently got a bag of the luau bbq and opened them up and ate one and realized they had no flavoring they are just regular potato chips still in the orange luau bbq bag. I like every flavor of these chips except for the original and now i have a party size bag of crap chips that cost me 6 bucks like come on people what happened here🙄 Currently googling how to season you’re own potato chips kyu.


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