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After 41 years, beloved owner of iconic crack seed store celebrates retirement

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – There were hugs, kisses and even some tears Tuesday as the longtime owner of the iconic Crack Seed Store in Kaimuki said a fond farewell with his family.

He’s retiring after 41 years ― and handing the business off to someone else.

All day, customers squeezed into the tiny shop in Kaimuki to get crack seed, local snacks and fan favorite: Li hing mui ICEE.

Sally Kawamura rushed in to get two pounds of king mui for her aunty in California ― and to say goodbye to longtime owner Kon Ping Young and his wife, Fun Tang.

The nostalgia and memories brought tears to her eyes.

“When I was going to school, the number 14 bus would stop here so now it’s like oh! The Crack Seed Store is not going to be the same,” said Kawamura.

Young says the good news is that that new owners are taking over New Year’s Day ― and he’s passing on his secret recipes.

As a special treat, he didn’t ring in any sales Tuesday. The family gave away treats for free.

The Youngs brought their children and grandchildren to the store for their last day.

“You know like everything else things do come to an end so I’d rather have a good ending than a bad ending so that why we’re doing it,” said Mr. Young.

After years of memories and even a spot on the Travel Channel, the couple is full of gratitude for their customers love and loyalty.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

"I’d rather have a good ending than a bad ending so that why we’re doing it."

Crack Seed Store Kaimuki Continues Tradition

We recently returned to the Crack Seed store in Kaimuki. We wanted to revisit this iconic Hawaii tradition, especially inasmuch as the number of crack seed stores in Hawaii is in a rapid decline.

It was no surprise that there was a waiting line to get in. That’s how popular the 40 year old mom and pop business is with locals (and visitors). We’ve gone there many times before but sometimes the line is daunting. Today we decided to experience it again.

The Young Family is always more than helpful. We were given free samples to try. Newcomers are taken to the “bunny slope” for the first Crack Seed experience. Typically plum. The plum was sweet and salty. We are hooked and and always want more sensory overload. The samples will take you to the end of the Hawaii rainbow….

It’s all a matter of personal taste, and that’s where samples come in. Our favorites include the traditional dried plums in various forms including rock salt. Also lemon peel (how about 6 varieties).

Crack Seed Defined.

Also called Li Hing Mui, it’s a Hawaii snack delicacy of Chinese derivation. Crack Seed came from a time when travelers packed sweet and salty dehydrated fruits to supplement plain rice. The salt replenished what was lost due to heat and also acted as a natural preservative for the fruits. Chinese immigrants brought this tradition to Hawaii in the mid-1800’s and it’s remained popular ever since. In case you’re wondering, The Crack Seed Store sources their products from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand.

Head to The Crack Seed Store.

The Crack Seed store located in Kaimuki (Honolulu) is the real deal for the best in Hawaii. Under the same ownership of the Young family for decades, you’ll get help, free samples, and find a plethora of large glass jars filled with tasty delights. It isn’t cheap (compared with Long’s) but the quality is incomparable.

Look for the traditional plums and lemons to mango, strawberry, lychee, and more. Depending on the time of day you arrive, there may be a fast-moving line streaming out the door. Don’t let that dissuade you. This uber-popular store has been featured in newspapers and magazines, and you’ll soon find out why.

The Crack Seed Store, 1156 Koko Head Avenue, Honolulu. Street and metered parking nearby. Open every day except Sunday.

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With stores in decline, don't wait to try Crack Seed Store Kaimuki.