The Throwback Chip…
This monthʻs Makana subscribers received a bit of small kid time nostalgia in their boxes.
Imagine growing up in HIlo-town in 1950. Just a few years before, an earthquake in the Aleutian Islands near Alaska triggered a massive tsunami that leveled much of the oceanfront buildings of Hilo, and killing several students at the Laupahoehoe School, a ways outside of Hilo. Declining production and modernization of sugar mills was met with labor organizing and strikes that affected the plantation-era communities of Hawaii Island.
In the middle of all this, Koto Maebo, a housewife with eight children, started making and selling noodles and won ton pi (won ton wrappers) out of her garage. Many came to buy her products, and he had all eight children helping her out. As a treat for the children, she added a little sugar to the won ton pi and fried them up to make tasty little “chips” that themselves became a popular product in Kotoʻs production line. Her husband, a salesman, gave the chips a fun, play-on-words name along with a logo of a strongman.
To this day, Hilo-town retains its small-town charm. The Mrs. Maeboʻs One Ton Chips still carry the same name and same logo, using the same original recipe. And also, the same family still runs the business - now headed up by Kotoʻs grandson, Blane, who oversees daily production of fresh noodles, won ton pi, and One Ton Chips from their factory off Kilauea Ave. in Hilo.