Growing up, my best friend Susie lived on Pokoa Street in Haiku, which as those that are familiar with the area know, is a hop skip and a jump away from Maui’s famous Fukushima’s Store.
When we were really little, her mom would drive us over for nachos. When we got a bit older, like seven, we’d walk over for lunch.
I remember feeling really cool walking to the store all by our selves. It made us feel like we were almost grown-ups. When we were teens, our friends and I would always eat Fukushima’s chow fun after church on Sunday. The sermon would end, then we’d bolt through the door and speed over to the store in our car, dubbed “Love Potion 69.” A good friend of mine worked at the store, so we were always able to get a fresh, hot container.
I still eat at Fukushima’s and it still looks the same. Fukushima’s is to hotdogs what Komoda’s is to donuts. They’re that good, though I have no idea why. What makes a simple hotdog so mouthwatering, memorable and special?
It may be simply that they are red. Red hotdogs are good. Frankly (pun intended), I don’t care how bad they are for you. My mother is a semi-health nut and I grew up primarily eating turkey dogs, but turkeys should not become sausage.
Or maybe it’s because Fukushima’s always has really soft buns. Soft buns are important when wieners are involved.
Then again, maybe it’s the slice of pickle, onions, relish, mustard and ketchup expertly applied that makes it awesome. Undeniably, part of the draw is that Fukushima’s constructs the hotdog for you. I mean, they can’t just hand it over the counter and have a simple layperson do it. We might screw it up.
Now Fukushima’s chow fun is the stuff dreams are made of. I’m serious”“I dream of it and wake up with an insatiable desire to consume it until I can consume no more.
Owner George Fukushima, and sometimes his wife Alice, make chow fun fresh on the weekend. The problem is that it’s so good and popular that it sells out by mid-morning. There have been many weekends when I wake up in a panic, only to find the chow fun’s gone by the time I make it out to Haiku. A simple phone call to reserve a container or two usually does the trick, but if you call after nine in the morning, chances are that you’re going to be out of luck.
The chow fun is wonderfully greasy”“kind of sweet and sinfully flavorable. The second best chow fun on the island (which shows up at the county fair every year) doesn’t even come close to Fukushima’s magnificence. It has broccoli and some sort of sausage in it (lup cheong?) but most importantly, no bean sprouts. I don’t know exactly what it’s made of, and if I did know the secret recipe, I would probably be dead in a cane field right now.
It may be worth the risk. MTW