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Wax Candy & More “Hana Buttah Dayz” Faves

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.

Unwrap it…

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

19 thoughts on “Wax Candy & More “Hana Buttah Dayz” Faves

  • August 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm
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    Nice story about nostalgia from Hana Buttah Dayz.” Though I never and still don’t have a sweet tooth I can remember those candies. Especially when my Grandparents owned a small store and when we visited us kids could take anything we wanted. I preferred to take baseball cards and balsa wood airplane kits vs. candy. I remember those wax drink bottles. We used to make candles out of them for 4th of July to light the fireworks. I’ve found this place: http://www.candywarehouse.com for different types of candy at a reasonable price but you have to buy in bulk. The Astro Pops are crazy expensive?! Maybe I’m being overly sensitive but being Japanese and seeing “Nikl-L-Nip” I wonder why they named it that? A nickel a piece? The rice candy I remember eating the Botan Rice Candy and I can’t believe how expensive it is now. I don’t see much rice candy here in Japan anymore.

    If I did buy candy as a child, I liked the Jolly Rancher sticks, Lemonheads, Raisinettes and Whoppers. During my yearly visits to Hawaii growing up I’d prefer crack seed to candy. Remember the crack seed counter at Sears, Woolworth’s or going to Chinatown? My favorite place for years has been the Crack Seed Store in Kaimuki on Kokohead. It’s like “Hana Buttah Days.”

    Reply
    • August 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm
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      Milo, speaking of balsa wood airplane kits and “Hana Buttah Dayz”, one of my favorite hobby stores used to be Pete’s Model Craft in the “Kam Shopping Center in Kali-hee”, that my dad used to take me to all the time to buy model kits. Now THAT’S old school! We’re talking 70’s.

      Interesting how you folks made candles out of candy. Resourceful, that’s for sure! lol

      The Crack Seed Center in Ala Moana only recently closed, but they still have a robust online eCommerce business. http://www.crackseedcenter.com/

      Speaking of which, Yick Lung is another old school “cracked seed” company I forgot to mention in this review. But there, I mentioned it now in comment. They still make shrimp chips, Nibb-Its and Taco Tubes, however no longer any “cracked seed”. I remember back in the day, at every Long’s Drug Store checkout, there’d be Yick Lung Seeds on the impulse endcap, with their classic yellow and blue logo label. Classic! Ah, da’ good old dayz.

      Reply
      • August 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm
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        I made a lot of plastic model kits. My favorite kits were the Tamiya and Hasegawa. They still have them in Japan and they have these tiny kits that come as a series. They have Japanese castles, samurai, plane collections, etc. The only catch is you don’t know what model you’re getting in each kit so if you want to complete the series you have to keep buying them. Pure genius for nerds like me! LOL! The balsa wood airplane kits I liked were the cheap ones that had rubber bands that you would twist to power the propeller. We would try to build double and triple prop planes. If they did fly they only would fly for a few days before they either went onto the roof or broke the thin wood.

        I was living in Honolulu when the Crack Seed Center closed. I really didn’t like the place. The taste, the price and the service weren’t worth it to me. Then again, I’ve been going to the Crack Seed Store in Kaimuki for so long that my taste preference was probably loyal to that store. Have you tried Lin’s Hawaiian Snacks? They were at Ala Moana for a short time and then they moved to Kamake St. across the street from the Nordstrom Rack and around the corner from Marukai. Never tried it but I also wondered about it.
        Yick Lung was the best at the time and I could find it in Los Angeles back in the day. It’s too bad that the family squabbles ripped the company up. I remember licking the empty bags. Ah, da’ good old dayz in deed! Now I’m really craving crack seed. Hahaha.
        Try ling hing mui seed on top of rice or in ochazuke. It’s like umeboshi. Oishii yo.

        Reply
        • August 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm
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          Dude, don’t even get me STARTED on Tamiya model kits. Hands-down THE BEST model kits money can buy. Period. Not only are the moldings of each sprue meticulously engineered, being detailed beyond comparison, super clean and “flash” free, but the fit of each part hardly needs any filler, it’s that accurate. Then you get Tamiya’s amazing PACKAGING! I swear, opening up a new Tamiya model kit is the equivalent of opening, uh, oh, never mind. But you know what I’m saying. lol My favorite Tamiya kits were roadracing motorcycles. The fairing graphics are super difficult to paint though. Next would be large-scale formula one cars.

          Lin’s was also in Ward Farmers Market. I know Koreans run the place.

          OK, Li Hing Mui seed on rice or in Ochazuke I HAVE to try! The thought never even crossed my mind, yet it sounds like it could just as well be simply GENIUS! Domo. Will do.

          Reply
    • August 20, 2012 at 1:48 am
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      Crackseed Center in Kaimuki my late grandmother use to worked there for many years. She make the fried rice and chow mein beef stew at the diner part of the store. The first owners Mr and Mrs Kam (now late) use to make the seeds with sauces and seasoning powders in back room.

      Their children showned no interest in the business which was sad since Mr.Kam build it up to many branches there one on Liliha Sq till daugher got rid it due not interested it business also.

      Reply
      • August 20, 2012 at 9:41 pm
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        There were so many popular mom ‘n pop neighborhood restaurants that were in business for DECADES close due to the children not interested in continuing it, or because they didn’t have heirs to do so. Speaking of Kaimuki, Kwong On is another that closed for that reason. Kanda “Kewalo” Lunchwagon another one. The work is just too labor-intensive, along with exhaustive hours.

        Reply
  • August 20, 2012 at 7:02 am
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    If you only had a nickle you had to go with the Sugar Daddy. Tomoe Ame was a nickle also and one of my favorites, along with Rabbit milk candy. I remember when the toys went from tin to paper. If you had a dime, then was Yick Lung. Other popular matinee fare was Flicks, Necco, Good News (of course), Big Hunk and for the sophisticated, Planters Peanut Bar. I remember when the theater candy counter made the serious error of stocking pea shooters. One time only.

    Reply
    • August 20, 2012 at 9:52 pm
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      There you go, Rabbit Milk Candy! I remember those too! Very creamy, yet “different” flavor. Good stuff! Like Tomoe Ame, Cracker Jack has gone the same route as well. Do they still pack elaborate plastic toys in cereal boxes, or have they gone to cheaper paper novelties, too? It’s been years since buying those types of cereal (mostly Kellogg’s).

      My favorite movie candies were Red Vines and Jujubes. IIRC, only since around the late 80’s when Hurricane Popcorn “fever” spread, did local movie theaters start offering little bags of Mochi Crunch so people could add it with their popcorn. Needless to say, most folks would sneak in their own.

      Reply
  • August 20, 2012 at 10:41 am
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    They switched (at least some) Astro Pops back to the classic shape! I remember getting them backwards a few years ago, and was really disappointed too – but I found them on the boards* last week, stick in the wide end! Of course, I bought a bunch.

    *the Boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ. Nobody calls it the Boardwalk, tho.

    Reply
    • August 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm
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      I agree. I tried an Astro Pop with the stick on the pointed end, and it just wasn’t the same.

      Reply
  • August 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm
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    Pomai,

    Your story brings back many days of good fun and sweet eating. I remember the wax candy drinks on the mainland and we drank Ovaltine: http://www.ovaltineusa.com/ which was a chocolate powder mixed with milk and even to this day I still relish my local State of Rhode Island official drink of coffee milk using Autocrat Coffee Syrup: http://www.autocrat.com/ but the company will not ship it to HI. I have to get friends in lower 48 to purchase it and then ship it to me or wait till I visit New England to pick up some to bring back (16oz and 32oz bottles). I must say those Hawaiian locals I’ve given a bottle to have gone crazy loving it! However it now appears Autocrat Company has farmed out their internet store to “Little Rhody Foods”: http://www.littlerhodyfoods.com/ and they are shipping world-wide including HI by the case $24 6/16oz but $66 UPS Brown ground (1 week to HI).

    Reply
  • August 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm
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    This Autocrat Coffee Syrup sounds like good stuff! Quite a challenge getting some here though.

    Never was an Ovaltine fan as a kid, finding its flavor too malty. Perhaps now I’d like it. Haven’t had any in years.

    Thought for sure I’d see you out at this past weekend’s “Up in Smoke” Smoked Meat competition at Aloha Stadium. I served as one of the judges. Was a really interesting, fun and of course TASTY experience! Full coverage on here coming soon!

    Reply
    • August 21, 2012 at 11:01 am
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      Pomai,

      I’ve been busy shopping and packing to see my new twins in Boston, MA. TJ (girl) and CJ (boy)! I’m a great uncle now!! It also gives me a chance to restock on my Autocrat Coffee Syrup. I gave Hank Adaniya of Hank’s Haute Dogs a 32 oz. bottle and he was running around the restaurant kitchen trying all sorts of combinations! He was like a kid in a candy store!!! He had a smile ear-to-ear!!

      Reply
      • August 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm
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        Hank is one cool cat. He eMailed me back a few times regarding ideas I had for his hot dogs, including my “Tonkrazy Dog”. Also was more than willing to take photos for my blog.

        Have a great trip back to Boston visiting the new twins! :-)

        Reply
  • August 23, 2012 at 8:07 am
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    Pomai, I remember wax candies and I kept the long tube ones and made candles with it. They burned pretty well for when there were power outage.
    Parents hate those cigarette candies but were shock I got some real one at age 5 and lite one on the stove and started to try smoke it. After a few puffed the felt dizzy and sick and never again touch a cigarette or that type of candies again.

    Reply
    • August 24, 2012 at 8:21 am
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      OK, you’re the second person to mention repurposing wax candy here. What next, Car Wax? Brazilian Wax? lol

      Reply
  • August 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm
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    Hi Pomai,
    A great history! That wax candy was pretty gross, but when you’re a kid, that doesn’t stop you from trying to get at the sweet stuff!

    Reply
    • August 24, 2012 at 8:27 am
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      Hi Nadine! I had such a great time serving alongside you and everyone else as judge at this past “Up in Smoke” competition this past weekend. I’m so glad Linda broke us down into groups, instead of ALL OF US having to judge EVERY entry. Man, if we had to do that, I’d NEVER wanna’ eat anything smoked again! Manolo Morales has been there, done that. lol

      What a great blog entry on the event you just posted. Love it! Folks here, you definitely gotta’ check out Nadine’s coverage of the Up in Smoke event here:
      http://takeabite.staradvertiserblogs.com/

      I certainly have my share of pics and story to tell about the event, that I’m currently working on. Coming soon! Hopefully. This is a big one.

      Reply

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