Confessions of a Concession Consumer

Monday Musings From Melinda by LHS Contributor Melinda M.

Chili bowl. Gravy burger. Nachos. SPAM musubi.

Several posts on this blog have detailed the fine dining you can find on the island, on the mainland and abroad. But for this writer, “Living Hilo Style” includes dining at concessions, so much so that at one point, I thought about starting a Yelp!-like blog to rate the concession food around Hilo.

For the uninitiated, concessions are a popular way for clubs and teams to raise money by selling homemade food, snacks and drinks at events – mostly athletic – around town. Nearly every gym and field has a venue built in for this – some are basic prep areas and others are gleaming industrial kitchens.

But seeing as how these concessions are fundraisers — parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents and the students themselves donate, make, and serve the food — it doesn’t seem right to “rate” them. We’re all just trying to do this with the little spare time and cash we have to raise funds for travel or equipment and make sitting through an all day or night or weekend [fill-in-the-blank] tournament a little more enjoyable for all.

Now, some concessions are pretty bare bones – hot dogs, chili, nachos and every combination thereof (chili dog, chili nachos, etc.). That being said, variety can still be found: hot dogs might be “red” or regular and chili might be heavy on beans or tomatoes or have other additions (one friend opines that if it’s dark, it’s going to be tasty!).

A high-end concession for sure!

Then there are those “high end” concessions, with made-to-order loco mocos and a featured special for each night of the tournament – like roast pork plate, Hawaiian plate, or smoked meat bowl. Kandi’s Drive-In is known to donate generously to many clubs for nights like these.img_1207The common denominator, of course, is SPAM musubi – King of the Concession. But everyone does theirs differently, some with furikake, some teriyaki-style, and some barely fried.

Sometimes our family looks forward to a night of concession dining – yay! we don’t have to cook! – but if the tournament is more than two nights, we’re definitely sneaking in or going out for our own food.

Because if you’re a vegetarian or just looking for a healthy alternative, you won’t find it at the concession. In the past few years, Dorito salads have joined the menu – a lettuce mix served in a paper boat with crushed Doritos on top and drizzled with a sweet creamy dressing. But that’s about it from the colorful end of the food spectrum.

Lately when it’s our daughters’ club running a concession, we’ve made bagged li hing mui apples. That’s kind of in the healthy category, and sell out pretty quickly.

Pork and peas:  concession comfort food.

It may not be fine dining but IMO it’s fine to dine concession every now and then and support the home team, whoever it may be!



  1. From the Northern Michigan Roberts clan. You have it made. Local Hawaiian concession food crushes any options for us. Here is an example of the comcession food we have to choose from:
    Frozen and reheated pretzels
    Occasionally defrosted hot dogs
    Costco nacho chips with canned cheese sauce
    Assorted candy bars

    There is nothing (NOTHING) home made to choose from. So, we applaud your team grandparents, aunties, uncles, students, and parents for their hard work and making REAL food. We envy you!!! 👍😊

    Liked by 1 person

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