If you think Foodland Farms Ala Moana is a standard higher-end supermarket, you've either never been or you need new glasses. It opened nearly two years ago as the biggest of Foodland's 33 stores, just two blocks from the state's biggest Whole Foods Market. What that meant, I had no idea until my first visit a few weeks ago. When I saw whole roast kalbi chickens at the deli, I thought my contact lenses were sticking to my eyes. I had to peer closer, only to discover they were sitting next to whole roast char siu chickens. The poke, sushi & musubi counter (that's exactly what the sign says) had kamaboko poke. By the time I got to the salmon chazuke chip dip, I was laughing.
Foodland Farms Ala Moana is where you go to local out. You want standard? Go to Costco, Safeway or Whole Foods. You want fresh saimin noodles, natto, kim chee, tofu and Vietnamese pickled vegetables — all in the same chill case? FFAM. The same store has Cuban cigars, artisan pasta from Italy and even a donut robot (almost forgot: and groceries too), but it's the stuff in between, the stuff that calls out to locals and reminds tourists they're in Hawaii, that makes it fun. Here's what we found.
Whole roast kalbi and char siu chicken
In the deli section next to the famous fried chicken bar.
Roast guava bbq rib tips
Hot food bar. Some Fridays you'll find kale squid luau and when it's available, whole fried akule.
Guava and lilikoi donuts
Bakery section. Guava and lilikoi donuts!
At the standalone poke, sushi & musubi bar next to the R. Field wine and charcuterie bar.
Okinawa sweet potato haupia tart
Near the bulk food bins.
Salmon chazuke chip dip
Can't remember exactly where, I was LOLing.
Calabash meal kits
Produce section. Sold separately as mains and sides. They have stuff like smothered pork chops, Moroccan chicken stew and wilted kale with bacon, but stuff like this and last month's pork hash loco moco make it really interesting.
By the checkout. Who cares what's inside? It's what you're feeling: hemajang, kapakahi or just kolohe.
Foodland Farms Ala Moana
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Daily 5 a.m.-10 p.m.