web analytics

Kahuku Eats: Fiji Market & Curry Shop

While taking an AWESOME cruise up to the North Shore yesterday, I stopped by Fiji Market & Curry Shop in Kahuku to sample what everyone on Yelp’s been raving about, being of course their curry.

Fiji Market is located behind the gas station at the old Kahuku Sugar Mill, being just a driveway north of where Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is now permanently situated. Fiji Market shares the same old warehouse space that oddly also includes a very small Kaiser Permanente clinic literally right next door.

As the sign says, Fiji Market specializes in South Pacific Island groceries, with most of its products imported from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa, along with some from India.

The owners are the Tikaram family (Indian name), who are originally from Fiji. Shown above is Rajeev Singh behind the checkout counter, son of Mr. Tikaram, seated to the left. Mrs. Tikaram (Rajeev’s mom) runs the Curry kitchen in back, whom all the recipes and cooking lovingly comes from.


Pomai with Fiji Market owner Rajeev Singh Tikaram ~ 2.27.16

So I asked Rajeev (shown above) what’s the deal with Fiji and Indian cuisine. He said basically in a nutshell, people of India are to  Fiji as the Flipinos are to Hawaii, when way back in the day, the British brought Indian men to work on the sugarcane plantations in Fiji. Long story short, most of the those Indian men working on the plantations never left Fiji, and ended up marrying the local Fijian women, and the rest is history.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the imported grocery products on the shelves at Fiji Market…

Like Hawaii folks are with SPAM and Vienna Sausage, South Pacific Islanders sure love their canned meats, as was indicative of almost an entire side of one aisle dedicated to the genre…

Now that Ox & Palm SITA “Camp Luncheon Meat” had me very curious, which Rajeev told me is the South Pacific Islanders’ version of SPAM, saying it tastes just like SPAM, albeit in a round can form instead of rectangle. Which is hard to believe if you read the main ingredients that’s in it, which says has Mutton, Beef Lips and Beef Tongue.

OK, whatever. If Rajeev says SITA tastes just like SPAM, I’m taking him up on that and going to try make a SITA Musubii! Stay tuned!

A Fijian Tanoa is what they traditionally use to make Kava, which is a big deal there.

Macy’s may have 100 different models of juicers and blenders, but they ain’t got no coconut graters like this! lol

OK, let’s head on towards the back to the famous Curry Shop…

Why all these Yelp folks even were “ono” for curry while on the North Shore is kinda’ bizarre, as, had it not been that trend I’ve heard about, NEVER would I have thought to myself, “Man, the beach was so nice out here today, a good bowl of curry sure would hit the spot right about now!” But I’ll bite.

Again, you’ll find the curry shop straight towards the back as you walk in this small grocery store.

Available at the curry shop counter is a condiment station where you serve your own little plastic cups of Mint Sauce, Tamarind Sauce, Pickled Carrots and Hot Peppers (peppers need to go inside your plate container).

In the front at the checkout counter as you walk in is a display with a variety of New Zealand style Meat Pies with various fillings as you see there labeled. These actually aren’t made by Fiji Market, but made by Aunty Devi’s Meat Pies, originally from New Zealand, now made in the US.. You can buy them hot and ready to eat from this display, or they also sell them frozen and ready-to-bake for the same  price….

As you see in the warmer display, they also sell their own house-made Samosas, which we’ll go into detail and sample shortly.

After about a 1½ hour drive from Kahuku to my place in Waiks, and some spillage occurring, here we have a Beef Curry Plate and Chicken Curry Plate. What I didn’t read carefully is that the Roti flat bread was one of the starch options, where I swear on Yelp folks said that was included with every plate.

I  mistakenly ordered rice when actually all I wanted was the Roti Bread. Thankfully Rajeev thought I was a super cool dude, so he hooked me up with a Roti after-the-fact, no extra charge. Mahalo! He also threw in a complimentary Mango Chutney, which is normally 50 cents each. Kewl!

Shown above is the Pickled Carrots, Mint Sauce, Tamarind Sauce and Mango Chutney, which would prove to be KEY elements that take this curry from pretty normal to, DANG, now this ROCKS!

The Mint Sauce is very thin and somewhat watery, with no acidic element to it. Simply mint leaves put in a food processor with water is what it tastes like to me, and it works!

While I didn’t ask, I’m guessing the Tamarind Sauce is from one of the products they sell on the shelf, tasting kinda’ like Tony Roma’s Original Sauce, believe it or not, having a mild sweet ‘n sour thing going on.

The Pickled Carrots are very plain, tasting pretty much like raw carrots, except preserved. It’s not acidic nor sweet, as say Vietnamese Do Chua. Like the mint sauce, its simplicity is what helps it compliment their curry vs. totally change the direction of it.

Finally, the Mango Chutney, which is an additional 50 cents, tastes nothing like the Hawaii local style Mango Chutney, but essentially it tastes like get this: Rock Salt Plum. I kid you not. It doesn’t even taste like Mango. It tastes exactly like a gelatinous Rock Salt Plum seed, having an ever-slight salty edge, while not being quite as sweet as that. This being the most contrasting to the curry and samosas makes this a MUST-HAVE condiment with your order here, whatever it may be. Really if you ask me, this should be included with the curry by default, as I think it’s a requisite part of the dish.

Let’s have a closer look at Fiji Market’s Beef Curry…

Chicken Curry…

Originally I was going to have Rajeev hook me up with smaller sampler containers of every Curry flavor, however I was in a rush, being it was late and getting dark, so I just ordered straight off the menu the two most popular flavors according to Yelpers (many also rave about the Lamb curry, but I wasn’t in the mood for that last night).

The red sauce is called Tomato Chutney, however it’s certainly not like your traditional fruit Chutney, being chunky and gelatinous, but more like a coarse ketchup.

And? Tasting both the Beef Curry and Chicken Curry by themselves without any condiments, they’re pretty “typical” of Indian Curry, I suppose, not having any sweetness to it like Japanese curry. There’s also no coconut milk flavor in it, nor that strong cinnamon and/or nutmeg twist. It’s mostly I’d say an “earthy” curry flavor profile, with nothing about it that particularly stood out, except for the spicy heat factor, where I’d put both these curries at “medium” in spiciness. However, take that with a grain of salt, as I’m not exactly the Skoville Unit warrior.

There’s certainly HUGE chunks of very tender chicken and beef  to satisfy any meat lover. Surprisingly, I liked the Chicken Curry as much, if not more than the Beef Curry, being the style of Curry they use for the Chicken matched it better than the Beef Curry.

Like I said earlier, the Mint and Tamarind Sauce, along with Mango Chutney, Tomato “Chutney” and Pickled Carrots brought the whole dish together, flavor wise.  It’s all about contrasting enhancement. Dip some chicken curry into the mint sauce and have a bite. Then try the Beef curry with the Mango Chutney, and so on and so forth, and you get the idea. REALLY GOOD! If there’s one thing I’d like to see added are fresh herbs served with it, such as Cilantro, Basil and Mint.

The Roti bread is “interesting”. It’s not Naan, that’s for sure, nor is it like Pita bread. It’s kinda’ like bread-meets-pie crust. with that, it works pretty good when you put some curry in a piece and wrap it and eat it like that, along with some of the sauces. Which in fact, you can order Curry wrapped in Roti bread for just $7, which Yelpers say the thing is HUGE. That said, when I go back, that’s what I’d get vs. the plate.

Summing it up, I give Fiji Market’s Beef Curry and Chicken Curry 4 SPAM Musubi, elevated from what I would have given 2 Musubi without the condiments. But with them, yes, 4!

I also grabbed one of their Vegetable Samosas to try, which is essentially a sort of pie crust like wrapper filled with mashed potatoes and green peas. They’re just $1.19 each, and pretty big, being the shape of a 3-dimensional triangle about the same overall size as a racquetball from tip to tip.

First let’s try it as is without the Mango Chutney…

Wow, tasty! Whoah, whoah, whoah… wait a minute… whoah, this sucker’s HOT! There’s hot peppers minced into this too, where I was running for the water bottle after a few bites. Still good though. As for the mashed potatoes, I swear they mixed in some sort of meat broth into it, because it almost tastes more like a meat samosas than vegetarian. And I actually like the flavor of the green peas with the meaty mashed potatoes. And that crusty, toasty wrapper works perfect with the fillings, making it overall come across like a pot pie finger food if you will.

Now let’s try it with the Mango Chutney, which Rajeev highly encouraged…

Oh yeah, now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! Just like with the curries, the fruity contrast of the Mango Chutney with the Samosas totally took it from “good”, to, well, “Oh yeah!” lol  At just about $1 each, I’d go back and stock-up on a 6-pack of these for a convenient, satisfying ‘n savory snack or even lunch at my desk at work.

Summing it up, I give Fiji Market’s Samosa another solid 4 SPAM Musubi.

While I didn’t get one hot to sample (what I tried already far exceeds how much I can eat!), I did buy a frozen New Zealand style Meat Pie, being the Yelper’s choice, the Steak & Mushroom, which I’ll try later and let you know what I think.

Fiji Market & Curry Shop
56-565 Kamehameha Hwy.
Kahuku, Hawaii  93731

Tel. (808) 293-7120

The Tasty Island Rating:
4 SPAM Musubi

Related Links:
Fiji Market & Curry Shop – Yelp user reviews

P.S. Part of my “mission” to the North Shore this weekend was to check out where all the magic took place just a few days ago with the Eddie Aikau on at Waimea Bay. Here’s Waimea Bay yesterday (Saturday), where the waves were clearly not at “Eddie” height, being “calm” enough for most folks to go wading in the shore breaks….

A drone pilot capturing aerial footage of surfers and bodyboarders…

These drones are amazing how still they can hover in one spot for long periods of time, then turn on a dime when the subject moves….

I don’t know the nicknames of all the spots in Waimea Bay, but where I’m pointing towards “Towers”, the rock formation where you jump off, it was breaking about 2 to 3 ft. (Hawaiian scale) when I was there around 2pm. Pretty clean lefts with some barreling on this day. As always, way out the right side (Ewa) by the houses it was much bigger.


Horses graze in front of the Kahuku Wind Farm (generates 30 megawatts of electricity); it doesn’t look it in that photo, but in person, these wind turbines are MASSIVE! Almost surreal!

16 thoughts on “Kahuku Eats: Fiji Market & Curry Shop

  • February 28, 2016 at 10:05 pm
    Permalink

    Pomai,

    I have cans of SITA and mutton  as they are sold in Waianae grocery store. Yes SITA does taste like SPAM. I also love Australian or New Zealand meat pies and sausage rolls. When I fly into Boston, MA there is a Aussie transplant pie shop that I stop in to get my pie and sausage roll fix. Now you’ve given me another excuse to travel to North Shore.

    BTW, I was in Kapolei today and could not believe my eyes; 2 Hot Dogs $1.99 dressed any way you want including chili every  day plus drink.

    Reply
    • February 28, 2016 at 10:40 pm
      Permalink

      Ken,

      I knew you’d key-in on those canned meats from Australia and New Zealand, particularly the SITA. Interesting that a grocery store in Waianae sells it. I should have bought a can when I was there at Fiji Market WAY OUT in Kahuku. There it was selling for $4.75 per can. I bet Tammy’s Polynesian Market near Downtown Honolulu carries it. If not there, I’ll try Micronesia Mart, across the Convention Center. If not there, I’ll try Whole Foods in Kahala Mall. LOL!

      Reply
    • March 3, 2016 at 8:47 am
      Permalink

      Ken,

      Sure enough, Micronesia Mart (located across the Convention Center at the corner of Kapiolani and Kalakaua Ave.) had the Australian Ox & Palm SITA “Camp Luncheon Meat” in stock. It was just $3.39 per can, vs. Fiji Market where it’s $4.99 per can. So I picked up a can, and will try making “SITA Musubi” out of it this weekend, along with “SITA, Podagee Sausage, Eggs ‘n Rice”. Tee-heee!

      Note, they didn’t have canned Corned Mutton, nor am I in a rush to try it, anyhow.

      Reply
  • February 29, 2016 at 12:17 am
    Permalink

    Pomai, my family loved curries all kind and never been there yet.

    When in San Francisco we head to Berkeley where it some what a

    Indian Town with lot shop and restaurant that sell Indian products.

    Now family will plan trip to Kahuku to get some those awesome

    curry products like meat pie. Box meals not make it home gone

    in car eating it.

    Reply
  • February 29, 2016 at 3:41 am
    Permalink

    “Now that Ox & Palm SITA “Camp Luncheon Meat” had me very curious, which Rajeev told me is the South Pacific Islanders’ version of SPAM, saying it tastes just like SPAM, albeit in a round can form instead of rectangle. Which is hard to believe if you read the main ingredients that’s in it, which says has Mutton, Beef Lips and Beef Tongue.”

    Doesn’t “SPAM” stand for Spare Parts and Meat? I think there’s more spare parts than meat in Spam, so therefore it could have pork lips, pork tongue, pork tail, etc.!

    I’ll need to try the SITA Camp Luncheon Meat. Always good to try new things.

    Reply
    • February 29, 2016 at 7:44 am
      Permalink

      @ Gayle – contrary to popular belief, Hormel SPAM is made up primarily of pork shoulder and ham. Pretty normal stuff.  Not pig’s lips, ears, tongue, offal (internal organs), nor other animal “products”. Rajeev swears SITA tastes identical to SPAM, which again, I find hard to believe a blend of domesticated lamb (Mutton) and beef parts can resemble pork in  processed form. Gosh, I feel so healthy just talking about this. lol

      @ Kelike – If your folks drive out there to Kahuku for FM’s Curry, tell them to also grab a shrimp scampi plate from Giovanni’s original white truck next door. I got one yesterday, and it was OFF THE HOOK! Personally I enjoyed that better than the curry. But that’s just me.

      Reply
    • March 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm
      Permalink

      SPAM stands for spiced ham.

      Reply
  • March 1, 2016 at 1:58 am
    Permalink

    Corned beef curry sound interesting and my friend want to make a trip there

    to get some.  This is a great place to head to for some a nice outing.  Like a

    mini vacation at time.  Wonder how the tourist traffic there?  You know

    Japanese tourists loved curry very much.

     

    Reply
  • March 1, 2016 at 4:55 am
    Permalink

    ‘ey, Pomai:

    Howcum you didn’t mention the most bizarre canned meat item on the shelf… CORNED MUTTON??? That pic literally stopped me scrolling down the page… You gotta do a review of that… I have had lamb, but I’ve been told mutton has a much stronger taste and aroma… I figure it’s very close to goat, which I have had. Now I gotta head up to the North Shore next time I’m home.

    Reply
    • March 1, 2016 at 10:53 am
      Permalink

      @ Keith-San – A few reviews:
      I try it so you don’t have to: canned corned mutton
      Canned Corned Mutton

      I might drive back to the North Shore this weekend again. If so, I’m definitely picking some of these whacky canned meats from NZ and Australia.

      @ Amy – The traffic this past weekend to the North Shore was way busier (not terrible) on Saturday, whereas Sunday was a breeze driving out there, with hardly any bad spots. Depends on the wave heights. When it’s crazy high, more folks head out there to check i out.

      Driving there via the Windward side (best scenic route), the points I found most backed up heading North, was Kahekili Highway, from Haiku Road, all the way up to the Hygienic Store. Then it backs up again right before and going past Sunset Beach. Then after Waimea Bay, that stretch of highway heading towards Turtle Beach. Haleiwa Town can get pretty slow too, but it’s such a cool and bustling town, you don’t really mind going slow so you can look around from your car.

      I also rather  drive back to town from the North Shore on the Windward side (vs. via Wahiawa > H2), for a “hana hou” of the scenic view. Traffic-wise, it’s much better in that direction compared to heading to the North Shore.

      Reply
      • March 2, 2016 at 4:19 am
        Permalink

        Pomai: Thanks for the link to the review… It mentioned “scouse” as a way to use the corned mutton.  It’s a pretty straightforward stew of meat, potatoes, onion and carrots. So that may be one way to use the stuff.  My dad taught me how to make corned beef salad by mixing canned corned beef with mayo, a little ketchup and pickle relish and make sandwiches with it. The sweet and sour of the mayo, ketchup and relish balances the saltiness.  I would probably try a variation with the mutton; add curry powder with the mayo and substituting mango chutney for the ketchup and relish… wow now I really made myself curious about it…

        Reply
        • March 2, 2016 at 4:38 am
          Permalink

          Keith-San,

          Your dad’s “Corned Beef Salad” sandwich actually sounds like it might be quite tasty! And your idea of of modifying that concept with Corned Mutton by adding curry and mango chutney sounds  like it could be ono as well!… or a complete gastronomical TRAIN WRECK! lol!!!

          OK, that’s it. I’m DEFINITELY going back to Fiji Market this weekend and getting those crazy Aussie canned meats and making the recipes you suggested. Should be a fun blog project! Teee-heeeeee!!!

          Reply
  • March 1, 2016 at 10:51 am
    Permalink

    Pomai,

    This is Uncle Ed Chong. I need your help. Chinese Dynasty restaurant, located in Varsity Square, recently closed due to rebuilding of the area. With your vast database, would you know if Mr. Siu has reopened in a new area? No forwarding address was posted on his old location. Mr. Siu’s chicken on rice was the best I ever tasted and he gave plenty. For $7.10, I can eat it for 2 meals. I know a family of 3 had enough for 1 meal. I certainly would be elated if the Chinese Dynasty were to reopen soon. Now that Keanu has taken your mother to live with her in Las Vegas, Hawaii has lost one of her cherished daughters! Hawaii will never be the same…..and Las Vegas will now never be the same! Much love to you!

    Uncle Ed

    Reply
    • March 3, 2016 at 7:55 am
      Permalink

      Uncle Eddie,

      I did a review on Golden Dynasty Restaurant a while back here. That was one of my mom’s favorite Chinese places in town (next to Kin Wah in Kaneohe, of course). Another reader noted recently that they had closed. So I called up the company that manages the tenants in University Square where they were located (for a long time), who confirmed they closed shop this past December, with no mention of moving to another location.

      Reply
  • March 3, 2016 at 7:13 am
    Permalink

    That doesn’t look like any vegetable samosa I’ve ever had, the filling is so dark. You’re probably right about the beef broth or some kind of meat in there. Usually the filling is overwhelmingly yellow from spices mixed with the potato (and green from the peas). I can’t imagine what would turn it that grey color, other than beef.

    I wonder if the tomato chutney is New Zealand style? I became addicted to that while there, as it was the common option with potato wedges, rather than ketchup.

    Reply
    • March 3, 2016 at 7:49 am
      Permalink

      h,

      Well hello, stranger.

      Regarding the Samosas, yup, I’m pretty sure they mixed some sort of meat stock in the mash potatoes, as it tasted more like ground meat than potatoes. As noted, it was also quite spicy-hot from the minced green chili peppers mixed in it.

      As said, the tomato “chutney” served with the curry was more like a “ketchup”, sans the vinegar. It was fairly subtle in flavor, not aggressive at all. It’s interesting that it’s a such a major component of the dish, taking up an entire section within the plate. I’d think the mango chutney sold separately would be the key side-kick, as I think that’s much more essential in the overall flavor of this curry.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *