A Weekend Expo For Foodies

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - October 14, 2009
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Catch Wally Amos at the Food & New Products Show this weekend

When Wally Amos sets up his booth at the 45th annual Food & New Products Show this coming weekend at Neal Blaisdell Exhibition Hall, most people will have no trouble locating him. The aroma of freshly baked cookies is something that’s almost impossible to ignore.

Finding Amos’new store at Royal Hawaiian Center, though, might prove more of a challenge. Tucked away on the second floor (behind the Apple Store and underneath Wolfgang’s Steakhouse), it’s easy to miss the Chip and Cookie Store from the street.

“It’s a challenge,” says the usually upbeat Amos, when asked how the recession in Waikiki is affecting sales. “Letting people know that we’re here is important,” he adds with a smile.

Once you do find Wally’s store, you’re welcomed by the aroma of fresh-baked cookies and the colorful artwork of wife Christine alongside her Chip and Cookie dolls, books and T-shirts. Tourists and locals who stumble across the store are delighted to see the “famous” Amos in person, and he’s happy to stand and chat, and even happier to tell people about his soon-to-be nationally recognized Read It Loud program, encouraging parents to read to children. Setting up shop at the Food & New Products Show is one way he’s spreading the word.


In its 45th year, the show is undoubtedly one of the most-popular annual events at the Blaisdell, attracting, over its three-day run thousands of people eager to taste new foods, try new products or just walk away with plastic bags filled with free-bies.

This year, in addition to the hundreds of prizes attendees can win, there’s an added attraction: “We have the largest collection of Twilight memorabilia seen anywhere in the state,” says director of marketing and promotions, Yemun Chung. Fans of the popular series of books by Stephenie Meyer are invited to attend the show dressed in costume, take part in Twilight trivia and meet an Edward Cullen look-alike.

And then there’s the food. More than 50 food booths will offer a taste of some of Honolulu’s celebrated ethnic cuisine: Filipino food from Thelma’s, subtle spices from India Café, seafood from Tanioka’s, and lau lau from Stacey’s are just a few of the flavors represented. Attendees also will have the chance to taste some of the newest, healthiest food in town from Hale macro-biotic foods.

The restaurant is owned by Motoko and Isamu Kubota, the couple who opened cutting-edge Kai restaurant and more recently Kaiwa on Waikiki’s Beachwalk. It’s no surprise to Honolulu foodies that these two create incredibly good food - but it may come as a surprise to find that this largely grain-based food is both beautiful and tasty. Seek out the Hale food booth as soon as you get to the exhibition hall and hope they offer their wonderful house bread and homemade silken tofu to taste. If not, head to the restaurant on Makaloa Street to try out this healthy and delicious food.

In between cutting-edge, health-giving foods and chocolate chip cookies, those in the mood for what’s fast becoming a local delicacy might want to check out the famous Puka Dog stand. With their unusual method of filling what amounts to a loaf of bread with sausage and a blend of house-made sauces, Puka Dogs have been featured everywhere from TV’s Food Network to Bon Appetit magazine. They even piqued the interest of the Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain when he visited the Islands last year.

For tickets and more information on this year’s Food & New Products Show, go to www.pacificexpos.com/foodandproducts.

Happy eating!

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