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13 Bizarre and Surprising Things You’ll Find at Don Quijote Hawaii

The Hawaii branches of this Japanese chain have things you didn’t even know you needed.


There’s something for everyone at Don Quijote in Hawai‘i: souvenirs, specialty Asian foods, cheap electronics, car accessories, beauty products. Sounds like your average, run-of-the-mill convenience store, right?


Not exactly. After convenience and discount, the third pillar of Don Quijote is—of course—amusement. (We’re not making this up. It’s on the website.) We love all three pillars. Read on for the unexpected, wacky and downright cheap stuff we found while browsing.


1. An assortment of green tea-flavored candies

Chocolate balls coated in silky matcha powder, green tea KitKats and, most surprising and mouthwatering, Matcha Latte Oreos. Take our money!


2. A Japanese sponge-cake decorating kit

Sold only at Don Quijote, this adorable sponge-cake kit comes straight from Japan. Enlist a friend who can read Japanese for the baking portion—following the pictures will only get you so far and we don’t want to be responsible for any burnt cake or, worse, #nailedit posts.


3. An entire aisle dedicated to Hello Kitty products 

For all your friendly feline needs. We may not fully understand Hello Kitty’s appeal past age 10, but clearly, she has a great marketing manager. Forget Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un—the next world leader is Hello Kitty.


4. A clearance table of beverages

And by beverages, we mean mostly booze. $10 bottles of tequila and wine, plus cheap mixers, such as a $2 jug of bloody mary mix, make Don Quijote your one-stop shop before heading to a party. Even the non-clearance items are cheap: We spied 22-oz. bottles of Kona Brewing Co. beer for just $2.79.


5. Whole jumbo squid

Caught in Korea, these foot-long squid caught us by surprise.


6. Yuki Ichigo

These fluffy little domes of strawberry shortcake wrapped in whipped cream and mochi looked pretty out of place (and enticing) among the fresh-made sandwiches when we walked by—like the floating cupcakes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Were these mysterious confections, only two with no price to be found, a trap? If so, we fell for it.


7. Shoyu in a carton

It’s not every day you find shoyu in a cute little carton—unless you shop at Don Quijote, that is.


8. Maffle mix

The greatest combo in the baking world since croissant met doughnut is the maffle, or mochi waffle. This locally made mix comes in original, coconut or banana variations to create a breakfast (or midnight snack, whatever) of soft, gooey magic.


9. Biscoff spread

This European delight is easier to get in Hawaii than Trader Joe’s Speculoos cookie butter, but what we weren’t expecting was the price: $3.99 for both crunchy and creamy varieties, rather than the usual $6 or $7 a jar. Plus, we like to think Biscoff has more of an air of sophistication to it. It’s a gourmet cookie, after all.


10. Shiokara

We’d never heard of shiokara until we saw jars of the mysterious who-knows-what lining the shelves. Turns out, it’s salted fish innards or squid guts, often pink. It looks a little too similar to mushed brains for our liking, but we'll try anything once.


11. A Greek food counter

Don Quijote is known mostly as a Japanese store, but Leo’s Taverna Express set up shop right outside the front door selling gyros, spanakopita and falafel. Mmmmm, tzatziki.


12.  A haircut

Do a little shopping, grab some lunch, get a haircut—you normally have to drive to three different places to get all your errands done.  Not if you go to Don Quijote, where you can get a quick trim for $15.


13. “Impostor fragrances”

In case the real thing isn’t sexy enough, grab yourself some “Sexiest Fantasies — va va voom!”  for only $6.95. 



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Honolulu Magazine July 2020
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