Part two of my Hawaii Five-Oh so craveable eats series covers my favorite part of any meal: Sweets! Now, I’ve already waxed poetic about the deliciousness of Hawaiian shave ice on this blog, so Matsumoto’s is excluded from this list. Likewise, if you want deep fried donut-like malasadas, head to Leonard’s on Kapahulu (I like their coconut haupia version the best). Otherwise, here’s my list of Oahu sweets and desserts that I find myself ordering (and devouring) again and again:
Ning’s Five Fave Oahu Sweets (excluding Matsumoto’s):
1. Boots & Kimo’s Banana Pancakes with Macadamia Nut Sauce: Located just east of Waikiki in Kailua, this breakfast/brunch only spot makes ridiculously delicious pancakes that they coat in a homemade sweet and crunchy macadamia sauce that basically tastes like melted macadamia ice cream (in a good way). Yum yum yum!
2. Diamond Head Market & Grill: This local deli is known for its sweet, fresh-baked cornbread and ginormous scones (in flavors like pineapple cream cheese as well as traditional blueberry), but I love the Okinawa Sweet Potato Haupia Squares (and I’m not a fan of sweet potato pie!). Don’t be alarmed by the lavender color of the sweet potato. Okinawa sweet potatoes are naturally purple in hue. Located on Monsarrat just below the crater, this deli is the perfect spot to refuel after hiking Diamond Head.
3. Bubbie’s Mochi Ice Cream: Okay, I know that you can now get Bubbie’s Mochi Ice Cream at Whole Foods now, but the Sakura (cherry blossom) flavor is my favorite, and they don’t have it on the mainland (I checked). Don’t worry, Sakura doesn’t taste like flowers. It’s a delicately sweet pink mochi filled with creamy ice cream. After you get your mochi, wait at least 30 seconds for the mochi to soften before taking your first bite. Also check out the San Lorenzo shop across the street in the Puck’s Alley shopping plaza for Brazilian bikinis. For some reason, I find this San Lorenzo is cheaper than all the other outposts across the island.
4. Morimoto Chocolate Peanut Bombe: This candy bar-inspired dessert (inspiration: refined Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup) is surprisingly light and airy. Even though I didn’t order this dessert, I couldn’t stop eating the salted caramel gelato and peanut “dust” on the side. Full disclosure: I went back the next night to order this dessert again.
5. The Pineapple Room Halo Halo: Hawaiian celebrity chef Alan Wong has a more casual outpost in the Macy’s at the Ala Moana mall where I like to go and eat his (less salty than other places) loco moco. But my favorite favorite dessert to eat in Honolulu is Wong’s halo halo (photo, above), his take on the traditional Filipino icy treat. The coconut shave ice (basically, using coconut milk instead of just water to make the ice) creates a fluffy frost of a dessert that’s equally decadent yet light. I love the layers of fresh fruit, coconut haupia (a firmer, smoother version than Diamond Head Market or Ono’s), and tapioca pearls and will go to The Pineapple Room just for this dessert (note: you can order from the whole Pineapple Room menu—or just dessert—at the no reservation café bar across from the restaurant’s entrance).
Okay, if you still want to read about Hawaiian shave ice, here’s a link to my article: Shave Ice Is The New Frozen Yogurt