I grew up on the Windward side of Oahu where there is still a country-like atmosphere. As your drive out of the town of Kaneohe, you get a sense of relaxation as you head out of the suburbs.
One of my favorite nostalgic places to stop by is Waikane Store. It used to be run by an old bachan years ago and is now run by her daughter and grandson. I went to school with him and have known him for years now.
It’s changed a lot over the years but it’s charm remains the same. You can find lots of local favorites in there from Hawaiian Sun juices to handmade old school style maki sushi and fried chicken. They are famous for their ono boiled peanuts too. You’ll also find an assortment of crack seeds and candies.
Waikane Store was started in 1898 and a central stopping place for the small rural communities in Hawaii. The area was once filled with farms run by Japanese immigrants. There are very few farms there now and as a result, the store’s customer base has changed.
Business is tough lately with cost of goods going up, so like many other local folks, other work helps to pay the bills. Alden is also a great musician too and the store features his ukuleles and CDs. He does play on a cruise boat too.
If you want to get the true feel of old Hawaii, take a stop in the country and pay a visit to my friend Alden and his mom. You’ll find him slaving away in the back most of the time, but he will eventually make it out to greet you. He might even bust out a song if he’s not busy in the kitchen.
Waikane Store is one of those little treasures that remind us of old times when life was much simpler. It’s a reminder of what keeps the country country. If we don’t come out and support those who keep the country special, we can lose this piece of nostalgia forever.
Keep the country country. Support those who make it the country.