First of all an explanation of the term “Hana Buttah Dayz”, which is a local Hawaii slang term that basically refers to memories from your childhood. Like most pidgin English words, its roots go back to Hawaii’s sugarcane and pineapple plantation era, with “Hana” coming from the Japanese for NOSE and “Buttah” the pidgin English way of saying BUTTER. Hence, “Nose Butter”. This, in reference to the snot that runs out your nose when you ran around as a little kid. lol Yeah, I know, real appetizing, right? But hey, it’s just a slang, so take it for what it’s worth.
Getting to it, we start with Wax Bottle Candy, which according to this website, its history goes like this: “Nik L Nips wax bottles are an old time candy favorite from the 50’s. Each wax soda bottle is filled with a colorful juice. Drink the juice then chew the wax. Nik L Nips got there name because at one time these little wax juice bottles were only a nickel, even though the price has changed, Nik L Nips are still fun to eat.”
These are essentially paraffin wax shaped bottles filled with a fruit-flavored sweetened liquid (think Shave Ice syrup) that leans on the thin side, not being as viscous to what I remember them being. In fact, I haven’t had one of these since I was indeed a little kid with snot running out my nose. lol
You essentially chew at the wax, letting the sweet liquid filling burst and permeate it as you chew the wax, where you’re left off very quickly with just wax…
I remember some of my classmates chewing the wax to a PULP, however me? While I do declare forthright and foremost that I never really was into wax candy, I do remember it! Big mahalo to Diner E for sharing it with us, as this inspired me to reminisce other “Hanabattah Dayz” candy classics!
Astro Pop was one of my favorite super-sweet candies back in the day…
Its super deep and sweet hard-candy flavor combination in layers of cherry, to passionfruit to pineapple is unforgettable. I remember how when you lick and suck on it, the tip would become pin-point sharp enough to impale the back of your throat. Which is why Astro Pops are now sold with the stick on the tip end, not the wide end. Too “PC” if you ask me. Stick with the original! After all, whether you’re 5 or 50, what’s life without a little “danger”, right? lol
Speaking of which, in today’s day and age, it doesn’t get any more “Un-PC” to sell Bubble Gum to kids like they once did to us in the form of Cigarettes…
Remember those? Classic! The best part was blowing the confectioners sugar out the end that looked like a puff of smoke. The flavor of the bubble gum itself was excellent, with the only “downer” being once that sugar “smoke” was blown, the novelty was lost. lol Thankfully I’m not a smoker. Cigarettes are crazy EXPENSIVE now!!! Almost $100 a carton? Nuts.
Moving along, another very novel “candy” I remember so fondly was Horlick’s Malted Tablets, that was packaged in what looked like a medicine bottle…
These basically tasted like Ovaltine in a dry, tablet form, and was actually quite good, albeit in a weird way. We found a knock-off brand made somewhere in asia that was actually pretty accurate to the original in taste, but I think the bottle packaging is what gave the classic Horlick’s Malted Tablets its own unique novelty.
Another old school favorite of mine was Sugar Daddy…
That super deep, chewy caramel that sticks to your teeth was a challenge to eat, yet so good! Funny enough, this is also another “Un-PC” product by name. Try Google “Sugar Daddy” with your filter off, and see what shows up in images. Very interesting. lol
Living in Hawaii, you can not talk about “Hannabattah Dayz” without mentioning the neighborhood “Manapua Man”. Which for me growing up in Alii Shores, Kaneohe, was a middle-aged Chinese guy who barely spoke English, driving around our neighborhood usually on the weekends with the overdriven loudspeaker on his white van’s roof distorting out “ice cream truck” wind-up music box chimes.
And believe me, our Manapua Man had all the classics. The honey-glazed wonton twisters. Manapua, of course. Chow Fun. Choke novelty toys. And Haw Flakes Candy. Yes my friends, Haw Flakes Chinese “Candy”…
Haw Flakes are made of Chinese Hawthorn, with a flavor profile reminiscent of dried pineapple slices or raisins with a slight tang of guava. The candy is soft and chewy with a fruity sweetness and a slight chalky texture. They’re actually really good and super cheap. Like all the aforementioned candies, you can still buy Haw Flakes.
Speaking of Chinese Candy, almost everyone who grew up in Hawaii enjoys “Crack Seed”, where back in the day, the premier locally-made brand was Yick Lung…
“Cracked Seed” or “Crack Seed” is a generalized slang term Hawaii locals refer to of a wide variety of Chinese Li Hing pickled plums, however there’s several variations, including cherries and mango. Yick Lung used to have a manufacturing facility on Dillingham Boulevard across the Cutter Dodge lot, near the fork to King Street, but that’s long since seized operation. Now Yick Lung runs what I like to call a “vampire” business, as they still manufacture their also-classic Nibb-Its, Taco Tubes and Shrimp Chips, albeit distribution of the products are limited to select retailers.
I remember Yick Lung “Crack Seed” being a staple at the checkout counter impulse endcaps at most supermarkets and Long’s Drugs stores.
Finally while we’re talking local classic candy faves, we must mention Tomoe Ame…
From my previous post on this classic, I said, “The single most important feature that sets this Japanese candy apart from all other candies is its edible clear Rice Paper wrapper. As an adult, this probably doesn’t mean much, but when you’re a kid, this is really neat!
What’s almost deceptive is the non-edible clear plastic outter wrapper with the red label. If this was your first time eating this, you’d probably think the rice paper was also plastic and remove it as well. Don’t do that! That’s half the fun! As a kid, you have this “look, I’m eating the wrapper!” feeling of achievement, for whatever that’s worth. lol The rice paper actually serves the purpose of preventing the gooey sweet rice candy from sticking to the plastic wrapper.
As soon as you pop one in your mouth, the rice paper immediately dissolves, revealing a chewy, very sweet orange and lemon-flavored morsel. The list of ingredients include corn syrup, sugar, sweet rice. lemon and orange flavoring and coloring. Perhaps the corn syrup is what gives it that sticky gooeyness. They really are tasty.
Another novelty about Tomoe Ame is the “Amusing Toy” each box includes. IIRC, the toys in the past were more substantial molded plastic items. Today they’re either a sticker or water-based tatoo transfer. My “amusing toy” of the day was a sticker of a singing frog & what is that… a cat? Amusing indeed. lol
There’s surely many more “Hanabattah Dayz” candy classics you remember, which you’re more than welcome to share in comments!
For more classic Hawaii snacks, see the following Tasty Island posts:
• Classic Hawaii Snack Chips
• Li Hing Everything
• Li Hing Plum Candy
• Have Your Candy and Eat the Wrapper Too
• Hilo’s Atebara Potato Chips
• Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips
• Kona Potato Chips
• Maui Style Shrimp Chips
• Nip’s Shrimp Flavored Chips