Hilo's beloved Suisan celebrates 110 years

Updated: Sep. 7, 2017 at 2:27 PM HST
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(Image: Suisan)
(Image: Suisan)

HILO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Suisan celebrated 110 years in business on Thursday.

The Hilo food distributor and eatery, well known in the islands for its poke bowls, held a birthday bash at its fish market on Lihiwai Street.

As part of the celebration, Top Chef finalist Sheldon Simeon created five new poke bowl varieties, available for one day only.

The offerings included: ahi garnished with fried pork belly, coconut vinegar and coconut milk; salmon three ways mixed with cream cheese, onion, ikura and dill; and chunks of tofu and watermelon seasoned with nuoc cham and a mixture of fresh herbs, peanuts and toasted sesame seeds

The birthday event also featured pop-ups by local chefs from Seaside Restaurant, Ponds Hilo and Cousins Seafood & Bento.

"It is humbling and gratifying to be part of Suisan as it celebrates 110 years of service to Hawaii Island," said Stephen Ueda, president and CEO.

"We would not be here without the support of our hardworking and dedicated employees and our loyal customers. We look forward to another century of innovation and growth, while always taking care of the customer."

Suisan was founded on Sept. 7, 1907, and has grown from a fish market cooperative to a food distributor.

Along the way, it's faced a number of challenges -- two tsunamis, having its property seized in World War II and its principal, Kamezo Matsuno, sent to an internment camp. More recently, in 2014, Suisan suffered a fire that claimed its main office and warehouse.

Today, Suisan employs 185 people and has a fleet of 33 refrigerated trucks that serves more than 1,000 wholesale customers, including restaurants, schools, healthcare and government facilities, resorts and institutions.

To celebrate its birthday, Suisan is giving away 110 poke bowls via social media through September.

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