You’ll find some pretty unique dessert places on Oahu, so leave that carb counting diet at home and go nuts. As always, there’s a handful of places here that are off the beaten path. Many of these small dessert shops don’t have the marketing budget to be featured in travel magazines. Luckily….they got me to plug them (for free of course! No paid plugs here)
FROSTCITY – MY FAVORITE PLACE! ~ IN TOWN
Chances are, you never had Taiwanese Shave Ice. I never had this slice of heaven until a few years ago. Taiwanese Shave Ice is what the name says it is, it’s Taiwan’s version of shaved ice. The method of creating their shave ice is opposite of what you’ll find in America. Instead of shaving unflavored ice and adding syrup to it after the snow cone is made, the Taiwanese shaved ice that is already flavored, shaved into a fancy pyramid, then served on a plate. The result is quite awesome. I get the Lilikoi here. It’s refreshing, light, and it taste really awesome. The price can get expensive if you get the large and add goodies to it, but hey, it’s still worth every penny. There are a handful places around Oahu that serve Taiwanese Shaved Ice, but they’re not good. This place is the best. I mean…thee best.
By the way, this place is a bit hard to find, so make sure to use your GPS. Parking is a bit limited too, so you may have to park on the street and walk there. It’s worth it though!
MASTUMOTO’S SHAVE ICE ~ NORTH SHORE
Matsumoto’s is the original famous Shave Ice store on Oahu. There’s only one flavor that I get there, Lilikoi. All other flavors can hit the road, if you ask me. Lilikoi with ice cream, and no condensed milk. Repeat, no condensed milk. You can get your shave ice in a traditional cone, or in a bowl. The more common way is to get it in a bowl, because it’s just safer to eat that way. Matsumotos have changed a bit since it first opened its doors. No longer is it hard to find parking and no longer is it in run down termite eaten shack. Now, it’s part of a little outdoor strip mall on the North Shore. Same location, just different look. Don’t worry if the line looks long. It moves fast.
TED’S BAKERY ~ NORTH SHORE
I’m loosely related to the owner of Ted’s Bakery through marriage, but that won’t stop me from being honest. Ted’s Bakery gained notoriety a couple decades ago through it’s Chocolate Haupia pies. Haupia is a gelatin coconut, and if it’s done well, it’s awesome. Combine that with their version of chocolate pudding, throw it in a pie, and you have one of Ted’s famous pies. It’s awesome and you need to get a slice if you’re on the North Shore. All of his other pastries are awesome as well, along with his cakes. His Chantilly cake is light, and just the right amount of sweet. Chantilly cake is a chocolate cake with a light whipped sweet frosting. They serve regular food there, but save your appetite for the desserts.
LILIHA BAKERY ~ IN TOWN
Liliha Bakery put their stamp on the town by selling cream puffs. Creampuffs are small donuts filled with chocolate pudding, topped with Chantilly frosting. They have all different versions here from which you can try. I love their old fashioned yellow ones. Within the last five years, there’s been a rise in their popularity due to the the T.V. show, Hawaii 5.0., so there can be a line at times. At the original location, Liliha Bakery is opened 24 hours Tuesday through Sunday 8pm. They are closed on Monday, at their original location. So if you are craving that pastry at 2am, there’s a place that’s open. They did open a second location on Nimitz Hwy, but that place isn’t opened for 24 hours. They close at 12am everyday.
The best thing about Liliha Bakery, in my opinion, is that they have a little cafe at the original location where the waitresses serve you and cook your food. A little bit of old Hawaii still exist, and I think that’s cool.
LEONARD’S BAKERY ~ IN TOWN
Leonard’s Bakery is known for one thing. Their malasadas. A malasada is deep-fried dough that’s rolled around in sugar once it’s removed. It sounds rather simple to make, and I’m sure it is. But they are the only game in town that does a great job. And I can say, after traveling across the country to taste other malasadas, Leonard’s is the best. You can get their malasadas by going to their main store that’s right outside of Waikiki, maybe a five minute drive away from your hotel. Or if you spot a red and white striped lunch wagon on Oahu in a parking lot of a mall, you can just walk right up to them and order one! They make all types of malasadas. They even stuff some with custards, coconuts, puddings. The best is with no stuffing. The others are just messy to eat…. That’s just my two cents
JJ FRENCH PASTRY AND BISTRO ~ IN TOWN
The desserts here are small and pretty, and they can be a little expensive. But they taste very good. I don’t go here much, but when I did, I always enjoyed it. JJ’s is located in Kaimuki net to a string of other dessert places and small eateries. I call it a wannabe hippy town full of yelpers. Because of this, JJ’s received only an average ratings, but their desserts are far much better than average. I haven’t tasted their food here. But from what I can remember, the food taste great, but their portions were small. I got the Lilikoi cheesecake here. Are you noticing a trend here with me? I love lilikoi. Lilikoi everything baby!