Hilo's Atebara Potato Chips

Hot on the heels of the recent review of Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips, here we have another old school product from the Big Island of Hawaii’s Hilo town known as Atebara’s Potato Chips.

Just when you thought Maui Potato Chips Factory’s establishment in 1956 was old school, as you see by the label on Atebara’s, they go back even further to 1936.

Here’s a look at the current packaging of the one that started it all, Atebara’s Potato Chips…

As I had suggested previously with the Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips, Atebara’s has already addressed this by providing a brief history of the company, as well as information about the product itself on back…

What must be noted is that the Atebara family sold the business in 2002 to Clyde Oshiro, an accountant, and Clyde’s son-in-law, Nimr Tamimi, an engineer. With that, they expanded the product line-up and updated their marketing strategy, including the new packaging design as you see here.

What I have here are the original Atebara “Gourmet” Potato Chips and also Hawaii Island Gourmet Sweet Potato Chips by Atebara Chips. My sister just picked them up for me this past weekend while visiting the B.I. from KTA Super Store in the Kona Coast Center. They were $4.79 per bag, which is quite pricey for a 4 oz. bag of chips. As is usually the case with made in Hawaii products. What’s interesting is that she said they were located in an unusual location on it’s own rack, nowhere near the national brand of potato chips. Probably due to the price point difference.

Let’s take a look at the chips out of the bag…

Note the bullet points on the back of the package that claim:

• No cholesterol
• No trans fat
• Kettle Cooked
Oil removal spinning process

They’re certainly much less oily than the Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips. They’re also much thinner, having a similar texture and overall characteristic to Lay’s Potato Chips, albeit a bit more crunchy, which is great.

They’re also salted perfectly, with just enough to punch out the potato’s flavor, yet without having me gasp for water after just two chips.

Being that they’re quite thin like Lay’s potato chips, their kettle-cooked crispiness still allows them to fair well as dip chips, so I made a fresh batch of clam dip to enjoy them with…

I’ll get more into that clam dip later, which is indeed broke da’ mout’ winnahz!

Next up we have Atebara’s Sweet Potato Chips…

Notice the shape of the island of Hawaii (Big Island) “window” design. Pretty neat. The tapa pattern looks a bit “touristy”, but perhaps it will wear on me after a bit. I do prefer that “Hobo” font selection for the HAWAII ISLAND logo over the one they used for the Atebara Chips Potato Chips script font. Minor things, yet at least worth a grain of salt in thought.

Of course the biggest selling point they included on the label is that MADE IN HILO, HAWAII SINCE 1936.

Oh, that’s right, we were talking about these Atebara’s Gourmet Sweet Potato Chips. Here’s the back of the bag…

Here they are out of the bag…

As you might expect, I liked these even more than the potato chips. They’re a bit thicker, much more rigid, while being crunchy, yet sort of “chewy” at the same time thanks to the nature of it being a sweet potato. The sweetness is subtle, yet you know it’s there, while still tasting like potato chip in a tuberous way, if that makes any sense. Ha. Like the potato chips, they’re also salted (seasoned) perfectly.

Here at this angle you can see they’re indeed a bit thicker than the potato chips…

I really dig their deep purple coloring, with that light golden brown edge. Their improved rigidity over the regular potato chips also afford them less breakage in the package, with most chips still intact (not broken in pieces and crumbs).

That rigidity also made them bound for some clam dip…

Notice I add chopped green onion (I LOVE Negi) and fresh cracked black pepper for presentation to the dip.

The Sweet Potato Chips are good with the clam dip, but I think the regular potato chips compliment clam dip better. The Sweet Potato Chips are best enjoyed by themselves so you can savor its flavor in its unmasked, pure form.

Getting to the clam dip, this is my sister’s favorite recipe, and is a very simple-yet-effective one at that. Here’s the “ingrediments”…

To make this Clam Dip, first you let the brick of cream cheese soften to room temperature in the mixing bowl. I actually used two 8 oz. bricks of cream cheese for this batch. One thing I think is a MUST for good cream cheese-based dip, no matter what’s in it, is to use an electric cake mixer/beater…

Reason being, is that the high speed of the spinning beater paddles help to aerate the cheese, giving it a creamier texture and flavor.

As for quantites of each ingredient, per 2 bricks of cream cheese, I add approximately 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire (“what’s that here?”) sauce, 1/4 cup of the clam juice from the can of minced clams, 1/2 cup of cream (evaporated milk), 1/2 of a squeezed lemon and the entire can of drained minced clams. I really just go by taste as I add those igredients. It’s best to beat the liquids (Worcestershire sauce, clam juice, cream and lemon) thoroughly into the cream cheese before adding the clams.

After thoroughly incorporating the minced clams, put the clam dip in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to let it chill and firm up.

Here it ready to serve from the mixing bowl…

Some folks add garlic or other things (like hot sauce) to their clam dip, but these are the core ingredients and I think it’s best this way by keeping it simple.

What? Atebara’s Gourmet Potato Chips and Sweet Potato Chips
Where did you buy it and how much? KTA Super Store in the Kona Coast Center, $4.79 each.
Big shaka to: Crispy and light (not greasy). Perfectly seasoned (with salt). Works as a dip chip. Sweet Potato chips taste exotic. Nice packaging design. Made in Hilo, Hawaii since 1936.
No shaka to: Relatively pricey. Not available on Oahu (that’s I’ve seen, anyway).
The Tasty Island SPAM Musubi rating: 4

Related links:
www.AtebaraChips.com – official site
Kitch’n Cook’d Maui Potato Chips – The Tasty Island product review


15 thoughts on “Hilo's Atebara Potato Chips

  1. I haven’t had Atebara after they were sold, but it looks really good! Am interested in those sweet potato chips. And clam dip! mmm…

  2. I like mayo in my dip instead of evaporated milk. I dunno, just the way my parents made it. I never thought of green onion. Hmmmm*thinking thinking* …still not thinking about green onions, lol. 🙂

    Those are some purple sweet potatoes.

  3. Jodi, I see you’re not an onion fan. You’re like the 10th person I’ve come across who has an aversion to onions.

    Nate and Debbie-chan, notice on the package they don’t call it “Okinawan Sweet Potato Chips”, probably because this purple potato they use isn’t exactly that. According to the company, they grow their own crop supply.

    John Book, for the same retail price, I’d choose the Sweet Potato Chips over the regular Potato Chips.

    Amy, only thing is the price of whipped cream cheese, which you get much less of (weight-wise) for the price. More cost-effective to whip up the regular cream cheese with an electric mixer, which is very quick to do. But hey, if convenience is all that matters, that should work.

    Shar, I’ll have to check Marukai’s main warehouse club on Dillingham for it. To the best of my knowledge and awareness, I’ve never seen them in Marukai’s Ward Farmers Market location.

    Nate, nah not really a snack food junkie. Or more specifically, chips junkie. I’ll pick here and there, but not one to go through an entire bag by myself. He he. Just trying to cover some hard-to-find, old school snacks made here in Hawaii.

    Kat, I’ve never had Atebara’s chips under the original owners, so can’t personally say whether the new owners changed anything about it. In its current incarnation, Atebara’s taste great to me.

  4. Shar, thanks! Now HOW MUCH are they at Ward Marukai? $4.79 per 4 oz. bag at KTA on the Big Island is already up there, considering you can buy a 32 oz. bag of Kettle brand Salt and Pepper Potato Chips (excellent) for $7 from Costco (do the math). I’ll stop by Ward Marukai tomorrow and do a price check.

  5. Aloha Atebara Chip Fans!

    My name is Shelsea and I work at Atebara Chips located at 717 Manono St. in Hilo Hawaii. We are also called Hawai’i Island Gourmet Products and we make delicious local Hawaiian Taro, Potato, Sweet Potato, Shrimp, ‘Ulu (Breadfruit) and NEW LOCAL KINE CHIPS which include Furikake, Onion, Garlic, Li Hing Mui, Hawaiian Chili Pepper Taro and original Atebara Potato Chips and NEW Ginger Garlic Sweet potato Chips which are to die for!

    Did you know that we also make a variety of different Cookies, Chocolates, Flavored Macadamia Nuts, Candies, and Gift Baskets in all different sizes to match any occasion! You can go online to http://www.hawaiichips.com to get a better idea of what we offer, or simply give us a call at (808) 969-9600 for more information, I would be happy to answer any questions!

    Thank you to Marukai for you continued support throughout the years! We are so excited to be celebrating our 75th Anniversary this year in 2011!




  6. Shelsea, you may have noticed that the photo links were broken at the time of your post, which I have since fixed.

    IIRC, Oahu Walmart stores are now carrying your product.

  7. Aloha to The Tasty Island Honolulu Food Blog!

    This is Shelsea from Atebara’s! Thanks so much for your help and all the support you have shown Atebara’s the 1st and original chip making company in the state of Hawaii!

    I am excited to inform The Tasty Island Food Blog Followers that Atebara Chips has recently updated & improved our website http://www.hawaiichips.com Now it is easier for customers located off the Big Island to purchase our handmade gourmet Hawaiian snack foods anywhere in the world!

    No one else offers such a unique line of authentic and locally grown gourmet goodies and gift baskets! Check us out today at http://www.hawaiichips.com to see our newst products and new fundraising program!

    Mahalo for your support!


    Shelsea Adrian
    Sales & Marketing
    Hawaii Island Gourmet – Atebara Chips

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