Suisan to Celebrate 110th Birthday With Poke Party

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no slideshowRooted in local values with an eye always to the future, Suisan celebrates 110 years in business on Hawai‘i Island.

To commemorate this milestone, Suisan will host a birthday event at its fish market on Lihiwai Street in Hilo on Thursday, Sept. 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring Hilo’s own “Top Chef” finalist, Sheldon Simeon.

Simeon has five creative poke combinations that are available for this one day only, including Singulaw, ahi garnished with fried pork belly, coconut vinegar and coconut milk; Da Lox, salmon three ways mixed with cream cheese, onion, ikura and dill; and Bam Bam, chunks of tofu and watermelon seasoned with nuoc cham and a mixture of fresh herbs, peanuts and toasted sesame seeds.


The birthday event also features pop-ups by local chefs from Seaside Restaurant, Ponds Hilo and Cousins Seafood & Bento, who will prepare samples using an array of products Suisan distributes.


Throughout the month of September, Suisan will give away 110 poke bowls via social media contests.

“It is humbling and gratifying to be part of Suisan as it celebrates 110 years of service to Hawai‘i 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.”

Founded on Sept. 7, 1907, Suisan has grown from a fish market cooperative to Hawai‘i Island’s premier broadline food distributor. Over the last 110 years, Suisan faced many challenges, including two tsunamis and having its property seized in World War II and its principal, Kamezo Matsuno, sent to an internment camp. More recently, Suisan suffered a fire that claimed its main office and warehouse in 2014.


Despite these setbacks, Suisan has moved forward and thrives. Its growth has been predicated upon anticipating community demand. In the 1950s, Suisan expanded its product mix to include frozen food. In the 1970s, it established a Kona warehouse and office to better serve its customers.

Today, Suisan employs 185 and has a fleet of 33 refrigerated trucks. It inventories more than 5,000 products and serves more than 1,000 wholesale customers including restaurants, schools, healthcare and government facilities, resorts and institutions islandwide.

Historical photo of local fisherman. Courtesy photo provided by Suisan.

Historical photo of Suisan fish market on Lihiwai Street in Hilo. Suisan courtesy photo.

Historical photo of local fisherman. Courtesy photo provided by Suisan.

Sheldon Simeon courtesy photo.

Suisan’s 50th Anniversary Suisan celebrates 50 years in business. Photo taken in 1957 at the site where Suisan’s fish auction was once held. Suisan courtesy photo.

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