The chefs of Oahu have perfected all types of decadent desserts. There’s the traditional Japanese dessert of mochi, a sticky rice dough ball often filled with ice cream flavors like green tea, Kona coffee or plum wine. Be sure to look for lilikoi (passionfruit), which has a fleshy purple skin and has a soft and sweet interior, or guava, another common tropical fruit. There’s also haupia, a coconut milk concoction with a gelatin consistency. And if you’re lucky to find kulolo, you’ll need one for the table! Kulolo is a traditional Hawaiian pudding made from taro, coconut milk and brown sugar, traditionally cooked/steamed for hours in the imu or underground oven. The following are our favorite small dessert shops in Honolulu and Waikiki.
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Feature Image: Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery
This is such a delicious invention – bananas turned into dairy-free frozen yogurt! Banan uses only locally grown bananas with no added sugars and the result is simply divine. This place is so popular there are now multiple locations, each with slightly different hours, so check the website for the most up-to-date times. Open daily from 8:30am to 8pm.
This landmark bakery is where locals and visitors go when only oven-fresh will do. Other places sell baked items that are delivered in trucks and sit in glass cases all day. Not Liliha Bakery. Since Day one, their commitment has been to keep customers happy with fresh cakes and pastries straight from the ovens. Open Sunday through Thursday 7am to 8pm and Friday and Saturday 7am to 9pm.
Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery
At Pipeline, everything is made from scratch, even the ice cream. Their malasadas are always made to order and served hot. They even pasteurize their own ice cream base in house, so they never serve any pre-made ice cream mixes. With some of the best desserts on the island, you’ll want to try more than one. During Covid times, closed Monday and Tuesday. Walk-in orders or online orders; no phone orders at this time. Open Wednesday and Thursday 8am to 6pm; Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Purvé Donut Stop
Since 2018, Purvé has been serving fresh-to-order donuts with a sense of humor. “The Sunburnt Haole” is a lemon glaze donut topped with li hing mui, while “You’re Killing Me, Smalls” is a s’mores donut with chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers. Open Monday to Thursday 6:30am to 2:30pm, Friday to Sunday 6:30am to 5:30pm.
UBAE is a family-owned shop snagged the award for Honolulu’s Best Ube Dessert in both 2019 and 2020 — their signature cheesecake features this Filipino favorite, the purple yam. Not in the mood for cheesecake? There’s also ube flan, ube crinkle cookies, ube cake, ube soft serve and an ube roll. Open Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm, Sunday 9am to 4pm.
Wing Ice Cream Parlor
Some say the best homemade ice cream on the island can be found at this Chinatown shop. Come see for yourself and let us know! Wing Ice Cream Parlor is open Tuesday to Saturday 12 pm to 8:30 pm, and Sunday 12pm to 6pm. Closed Monday.