Last week we came back from almost two weeks in the tropical paradise that is Hawaii.
We have a lot of fun Hawaii posts coming up over the next few of months, including surfing, snorkeling and more. I decided that the best place to start with all of that though is the food. Hawaii has it’s own delicious cuisine filled with seafood, Polynesian and Japanese influences.
There are so many amazing Hawaiian desserts that they deserve a post all to themselves. The savory foods will have a post later, but I decided to start with the sweet stuff.
I’m one of those crazy people who likes to order dessert first. I picked it up from my Uncle and ran with it. Now I have friends who will give me the side eye if I don’t ask to look at the dessert menu first, because clearly something must be wrong.
What can I say? I love dessert!
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice
If you’ve been to any sort of fair or carnival, you’ve probably seen the Hawaiian Shaved Ice stands.
They’re so refreshing on a hot day, and they’re even better when you’re getting the real thing in Hawaii! There are so many more fun exotic flavors like mango, lilikoi, and more. Don’t pass up on adding the condensed milk either, it might seem weird but it’s so good!
Everyone agrees that Matsumoto Shave Ice on Oahu’s North Shore is the go to place for this frozen deliciousness. It’s really neat watching how they make it, and the patio out front is a great place to hang out and relax. The problem is that EVERYONE tries to go there, so the wait can be almost an hour long sometimes!
Their stuff is good, but it’s not quite 1 hour wait good. If you don’t have the time don’t worry, there are plenty of shaved ice places all over the islands. If you are determined to try Matsumoto’s though I’d suggest going on a week day right before they close at 6. Chances are the lines will be shorter and you should be able to get in faster.
Acai flavored everything was a big craze among the foodies a bit ago, one that I never really understood. Super food? Eh. Delicious? Sure, but so are a lot of things. However, I still had to try an Acai Bowl when I was in Hawaii. Even if it was a major fad food, I still need to try new things when I get the chance! I wasn’t disappointed.
They’re pretty simple: Acai sorbet (or frozen yogurt) topped with granola, fruit and drizzled with honey. It’s crunchy, sweet, cold and deliciously refreshing.
We tried the one over at Wow Wow Lemonade. It was a little pricey at almost $9 for the bowl, but I’m not sure if that’s a normal price or not. They’re available all over the island though, some people make their own granola, and some have funky twists on the ingredients.
Wherever you go, just make sure to get one and try it! Now I need to go figure out how to make my own.. Hmm
While there are reports of being able to find Dole Whips across the US, the only ones endorsed by Dole are found in 3 places:
- Disney World
- Disney Land
In Oahu you can find them at Sea Life Park and at the Dole Plantation. The Dole Plantation is worth visiting for a variety of reasons, but the Dole Whip is definitely one of them!
If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a sort of pineapple soft serve and it is delicious. At the Plantation they serve it in a variety of ways, including a pineapple split, with chunks of pineapple, and in a float with pineapple juice.
We went for that last one, and we had them add li hing powder to it too (more on that at the end). It was cold, sweet, creamy, a little tart and just perfect.
I didn’t get a good picture of what is under that pink lid, but that’s not a bad thing! It just means we were so eager to eat them I completely forgot. The only dessert on this list that is best enjoyed warm, Malasadas are like Hawaiian donuts. Which is good, because there is not much on Oahu for good homemade donuts.
Leonard’s Bakery makes the best malasadas with flavors like cinnamon or li hing, as well as filled malasadas stuffed with chocolate, custard or haupia. They have a location in Honolulu but they also have a malasada truck that likes to hang out in the Waikele Shopping Center on Oahu. If you’re looking for some warm sweet deliciousness it’s the place to go.
Chocolate Haupia Pie
The malasadas have a haupia filling, and you might be wondering just what that is! Haupia is a Hawaiian coconut custard, and haupia pie should be the state pie of Hawaii.
Is that a thing? It should be.
While they have the standard coconut filling topped with whipped cream, my favorite adds a layer of chocolate custard in there. It’s cool and delicious, with just a hint of that tropical coconut flavor. The best place to go for it is Ted’s Bakery, who also have a great breakfast selection including omelettes the size of your face!
So swing by, have some breakfast and pick up some pie for the road!
Li Hing Powder
If none of these sound particularly good to you, then I’ve saved the best for last. While not technically a “dessert” Li Hing powder can turn fruit into it’s own delicious hawaiian desserts!
A mixture of powdered plum, sugar, salt and some other flavors, Li Hing powder is added to fruit all over Hawaii to give it an extra little something. It takes fruit to the next level and I just love it! My personal favorite is on pineapple. It brings the sweetness that pineapple can need sometimes and the color is really fun.
You can find Li Hing flavor on most things on this list, from the dole whips to the malasadas. I recommend picking up a pack of it to take home, most stores carry it, and then you can have some tastes of Hawaii at home! We bought a pound of it to share with our friends at a Hawaiian themed party in the future.
If you forgot to buy some there, or want to try some ahead of time, you can also find it online here.
Whatever you decide to try, definitely make sure to fit some of these Hawaiian desserts into your next trip! If you’d like to know what other foods and things we suggest trying while you’re in Hawaii, make sure to subscribe to our newsletters to get all of our updates.
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