Looking for some sweet treats to satisfy your cravings while in Waikīkī? Look no further! This bustling area is full of delicious options ranging from creamy ice cream to refreshing shave ice, delectable cookies, and more. Whether you’re strolling down the beach, exploring the shops, or just looking for a quick pick-me-up, you’re sure to find something sweet to enjoy in Waikīkī. Here’s our guide to some of the best spots for satisfying your sweet tooth in paradise.
First up: Matcha Soft Serve
Honolulu is well-known for its amazing selection of Japanese eateries, and dessert is no exception! Our first must-try sweet treat is matcha soft serve. Here are two amazing places to get it!
If you’re on Kalākaua Ave, check out Nana’s Green Tea. Nana’s Green Tea offers Matcha, Vanilla, and Hojicha soft serve. Their matcha is sourced from YAMAMASA KOYAMAEN, a tea producer with over 400 years history in Kyoto’s renowned matcha region. You can learn more about how matcha is made on their website!
The Matcha-Vanilla swirl soft serve is a classic, but they also offer an amazing lineup of Matcha, Hojicha, and Azuki lattes that you can top with ice cream, as well as parfaits and more.
Nana’s Green Tea is conveniently located in Stix Asia Food Hall. Stix has tons of indoor seating and 17 other asian restaurants to check out!
Tip: Save your receipt! If you spend a combined total of $35 at Stix Asia, they offer validated parking up to 2 hours at the Waikiki Shopping Plaza parking lot.
If you’re on Kūhiō Ave, check out Matcha Cafe Maiko! They offer Matcha, Vanilla, and a rotating third flavor (often Ube!). We love that they also use premium matcha; all of their products are imported from Jarima Garden in Uji, Japan.
In addition to soft serve, Matcha Cafe Maiko also has matcha shave ice that you can top with ice cream and many other toppings, and a selection of tea lattes, floats, parfaits and frappes.
Matcha Cafe Maiko is a small stand located just behind Kono’s Northshore. They offer outdoor seating and you can park at the nearby Waikiki Shopping Plaza or International Marketplace!
Hawai‘i Shave Ice is a must!
No trip to Oʻahu is complete without stopping for an authentic Hawai‘i shave ice! This is no snow cone. Shave ice in Hawaiʻi is known for its extra fine ice texture- so soft that it melts in your mouth!
Typically you can choose up to 3 flavors. The traditional Hawaiʻi Rainbow flavors are Banana, Strawberry, and Vanilla. You’ll also find all the flavors you would see in a typical snow cone, and a variety of toppings. Try local favorites like li hing mui powder, mochi, azuki bean, and snow cap (sweetened condensed milk drizzled on top).
Do it yourself at K Street Food at the Waikiki Shopping Plaza! As the name suggests, K Street Food is a Korean street food restaurant offering iconic Korean foods like Rice Dogs, Tornado Potato, Tteokbokki, Kimbap, and more. However, their shave ice might be the best kept secret in Waikīkī! Starting at just $3.99 for a generous portion, it’s easily one of the most affordable places to get shave ice in the area. The best part? Pour your own syrup!
Their friendly staff will do the ice for you. Just choose your size, then you can add as many flavors as you like, and even go back for more. We love this DIY option that’s so fun for kids and adults alike.
Tip: At K Street Food, they’ll ask you whether you would like your shave ice topped with flakes. The flakes are a fruity-flavored sweetened crispy rice cereal that are sometimes used to coat Korean Rice Dogs. If you’re a Fruity Pebbles-lover, it’s definitely worth the extra 50 cents!
For a curated bowl loaded with toppings, head to Island Vintage Shave Ice at Royal Hawaiian Center. Island Vintage Shave Ice is a kiosk located outside at the front of the center; you can’t miss it! Depending on when you go, you’re likely to see a line wrapping around the kiosk. That’s because it’s worth the hype!
Island Vintage uses natural flavoring and offers a menu of signature bowls. One of our favorites? The Heavenly Lilikoi bowl. It’s made with fresh lilikoi and strawberry syrup, and topped with organic frozen yogurt, lilikoi popping boba, housemade mochi, and snow cap.
At $10.95 a bowl, the portion size of the signature bowls is large and shareable. They also offer keiki cups for kids!
Tip: Want to sound like a local? While you may have heard it called “shaved ice” before, in Hawaiʻi, we say “shave ice!”
Cookies make great treats AND souvenirs
Not a fan of cold treats? Looking for something you can bring back to your hotel room to snack on later? Want to bring a treat home to your friends and family as a souvenir? We recommend cookies!
Pick up iconic pineapple-shaped shortbread cookies at Honolulu Cookie Company. You’ve probably seen these before! They are as delicious as they are giftable. Plus, Honolulu Cookie Company has eight Waikīkī locations, so you won’t have to go far to find them!
Our favorite part? Honolulu Cookie Company is on top of the seasons. They always have several tasty seasonal flavors, so your favorites will always be there, but there’s something a little different each time you visit. They also have seasonal and holiday-specific gift boxes that are perfect for every occasion (and the tins keep the cookies from breaking during travel!), or you can build your own box as another fun activity for kids and families.
Tip: Buy the bag! Single use plastic bags are illegal in Hawaiʻi, so typically you’ll pay 15 cents for a paper bag or a dollar or two for a reusable shopping bag. At Honolulu Cookie Company, 15 cents will get you a branded reusable bag that is super cute, handy to have at home, and great for gifting!
Get a nice, big, fresh-baked cookie from Cookie Corner! Cookie Corner is a local favorite cookie chain that started with just one small location in Downtown Honolulu, and has since opened 12 stores. It’s no secret that the cookies are baked on site because you can smell them from around the block!
Their original cookies are soft and chewy in the middle with a bit of crunch around the edges. They come in all your favorite classic cookie flavors like chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, snickerdoodle, double chocolate chip, coconut, and more! They also offer bite size cookies for crunchy cookie fans.
The Cookie Corner can be found in most of Oʻahu’s shopping malls. Their Waikīkī location is very conveniently located right on Kalākaua Ave in the Sheraton Waikiki, not far from the beach!
Tip: Try the Tropical Fruit Bars! Cookie Corner is most known for their classic cookies, but their fruit bars are also incredible! They feature a rich buttery crust topped with fresh fruit filling. We love all three flavors (lemon, key lime, and lilikoi), plus they’re individually wrapped, which makes them great to snack on throughout your trip or take home with you.
Prefer to drink your sweet treats?
Beverages make an awesome refreshing sweet treat that you can carry around as you’re shopping or bring to the beach.
Get a delicious and instagrammable matcha, boba, or refreshing tea drink at Junbi Waikiki. Our favorite bubble tea is at Junbi! Junbi specializes in high quality matcha and loose leaf teas. They’re relatively new to Waikīkī, having opened their Royal Hawaiian Center location in 2022.
Try some of their most popular drinks, like the Strawberry Matcha with Coconut milk and boba, the POG refresher with Lychee and Aloe, the Yuzu Dragonfruit Green Tea, or the Madagascar Vanilla Matcha Matte with a double matcha shot and boba!
They have something for everyone, from signature premium matcha served hot in its purest form, to a long list of non-caffeinated options, to coffee drinks and soft serve affogato.
Our tip: You can order ahead! Skip the line by ordering online.
Another one of our favorites? The Hong Kong-style drinks at HK Cafe in Stix Asia. Their Honey Lemon drink is so light and refreshing, and they also offer hot or iced Hong Kong-Style Milk Tea and Coffee (or a mix of milk tea and coffee!)
The main difference between the HK style milk tea and others is that they brew the tea extra strong and use evaporated or condensed milk to make a sweet and creamy treat. Make sure to stop by for a drink, and check out what else they have to offer here!