Show and Tell Hawai'i

Endangered omiyage: buy-buy or bye-bye?

July 27th, 2010

With Bath and Body Works set to open a store at Ala Moana Center next March, one of the chain’s popular buy-to-bring-home omiyage will lose their gifting charm: those scented hand-wash liquid soaps, in handy plastic pump bottles, noted for their glorious hues and scents.
These have been favorites, among non-edible gifts, particularly for folks who travel to Las Vegas. Other travelers have been able to stock up on Bath and Body omiyage during airport stopovers, too.
As more Mainland stores open in Hawaii, it becomes more challenging to buy trip omiyage.
Vegas visitors still haul beef jerky, smoked clams and other snacks for family and friends here, but remember when Ethel M candies were the must-buy Vegas treasure, the way Big Island Candies treats are the No. 1 Hilo carry-on-the-plane? OK, Ethel M shut down the shop it launched at Ala Moana Center a few years ago, so it’s back on the buyables list.
But there’s no need to bring home See’s Candies, the all-time omiyage fave. It’s still a delectable treat, but you can get ‘em here. Everything, from the lollipops to the seasonal chocolate specials.
Remember when you’d tuck a couple of jars of Knotts Berry Farms’ boysenberry jam into your carry-on, after loading up your biscuit with the purple treat when you munched on fried chicken at the Knotts Berry playground in Southern California? The boysenberry product is widely available on supermarket shelves.
And Godiva chocolates? They were the desirable (and perishable) treats from a big city jaunt like New York or Chicago. Until outposts popped up here or selected boxes showed up in Macy’s chocolate counter.
While it would be grand if Trader Joe’s did some Hawaii trading for hometowners, its snacks — chocolates, preserved fruits and nuts — just might lose appeal as omiyage.
Do you have recollections of stuff you used to bring home for gifts, but don’t anymore because anyone can find them here?
Do you buy See’s Candies on the Mainland anyway to bring home?
Or do you have a “find” that is under the radar that you’d like to share?

5 Responses to “Endangered omiyage: buy-buy or bye-bye?”

  1. Toya Sharon:

    Hi! I just wanted to thank you for your really engulfing blog. Postings like this are a very perfect method to assist me in English, but I think I got the understanding ok 🙂 Thanks again!

  2. t-roy:

    I agree that these mainland stores are coming to Hawaii has lost the appeal of having friends and family go to the mainland just to bring you back omiyage. It's good for the company (Bath and Body Works, Victoria Secret, etc.) since Hawaii will be one of their top stores in the nation. Not only do they have the local people, but they also have the visitors (both national and international) coming in and buying up their products.

    Although these companies are coming over, I still think people will frequent these places and bring back the omiyage even though you can find the store in Hawaii. On the plus side, if you are the receiver, you can trade-in some of the omiyage for something else since the store will be near you. Or for those shoppers who accidentally forgot someone, can sneak on over to the local store and make like they bought it on their trip from the mainland.

    For me, I try to visit stores that aren't national chains and bring back something different that my friends and family wouldn't find in Hawaii. For example some elk or buffalo jerky, or something that is only made within that state. It's always an adventure to travel off the paved path and discover new and exciting places in the Continental U.S.

  3. Paco:

    We also used to bring home Krispy Kreme donuts from Vegas, but don't need to anymore. Sometimes you can buy them on the way in to work from people fundraising at the busy intersections.

    One thing we bring back from L.A. are Sprinkles cupcakes. I haven't tried the local cupcakes that some bakeries are making so they may be as delicious. But Sprinkles are really good!

    If it was possible I'd bring back a couple of double doubles from in n out burger!

    Does anyone still bring home sourdough bread from San Francisco anymore?

  4. Nate:

    As I lived and worked over 9 years in Okinawa, when coming home to visit I always brought dried mushrooms, konbu, whole dried ika, etc. Going back I always took macadamia nuts, cookies, T-shirts, etc.

  5. cosmetics.0:

    Sweet page, I haven't noticed till now in my searches! Keep up the good work!

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