The 6 Best Candy Stores in Hawai‘i - According to Martha Cheng
“Every emotion… can be celebrated or comforted with dessert or something sweet.” –Martha Cheng.
Hawai‘i and shave ice go together like, well, Hawai‘i and shave ice. But what about other sweet treats? Because we know the Islands offer a world of desserts beyond our favorite icey go-to.
That’s why we decided to check in with our friend Martha Cheng to find out what her favorite spots in Hawai‘i are. Martha is a national food writer, the food editor for Honolulu Magazine, and a former pastry chef. In other words, she’s the perfect person to direct you on your journey.
Keep these recommendations handy—you’ll be glad you did next time you visit the Islands.
Martha Cheng’s Favorites Candy & Dessert Locations:
Fujiya Hawai‘i, 930 Hauʻoli St, Honolulu, HI
One of the things we love most about Hawai‘i is its multi-ethnic culture, and that can be experienced firsthand at Fujiya Hawai‘i, where the fusion of Japanese and Hawai‘i’s flavors comes to life. Indulge in some Hawai‘i wagashi, a local take on traditional Japanese sweets, and try Martha’s favorites—the mochi-wrapped lychee. No matter what catches your eye, simply visiting the 69-year-old shop will be a treat.
Pipeline Bakeshop, 3632 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI
When founder Gayla Young, a native Hawaiian, opened Pipeline Bakeshop in 2016, it was with the intention of creating a brand that would connect friends, families, and communities through good old-fashioned Hawai‘i treats. She succeeded. In fact, the malasadas have received national and international recognition. They also happen to be Martha’s recommendation if you’re lucky enough to be in the area. Even if you’re not, they offer nationwide shipping of their all-natural desserts.
Nisshodo Candy Store, 1095 Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu, HI
If you haven’t experienced chichi dango yet, Martha thinks it’s time you do. This traditional sweet is top of her list when it comes to the Nisshodo Candy Store. “I love their chichi dango,” she says. “Especially how they’re individually wrapped… it just feels so nostalgic”. Dango is a Japanese word for dumpling and chichi dango, made from rice flour, is a light, sweet, chewy type of dango. This Honolulu institution has been satisfying the local sweet tooth for almost a century, which should tell you everything you need to know.
Two Ladies Kitchen, 274 Kilauea Ave, Hilo, HI
Are you a mochi fan? Then it’s practically a given that you’ll be a @TwoLadiesKitchen fan. And if you’ve not yet been initiated into this Japanese dessert made from soft and chewy rice, there’s no better place to begin your mochi journey. Although the shop creates more than 20 flavors of mochi a day, it’s most famous for its fresh strawberry and azuki bean mochi. Martha suggests getting “anything” from this eatery—because it’s all good. Call in your order in advance or risk disappointment—the mochi sells out fast.
MW Restaurant, 888 Kapiolani Blvd, Honolulu, HI
If you’re looking for the full course, dine-in experience topped with a delicious dessert, Martha recommends MW Restaurant. This popular eatery is run by the husband-wife team of Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka. According to Martha, any dessert made by Michelle is worth trying. The dessert menu features classics with an island twist, such as Michelle’s take on shave ice, which layers tapioca, panna cotta, mochi, and shave ice made from fresh seasonal fruit.
Breadshop, 3408 Waialae Ave #104, Honolulu, HI
One of the first places Martha mentioned was Breadshop, where she recommends trying the full menu, especially the pastry box. A craft bakery that makes everything in small batches yeach day, we love how they also donate anything left over at the end of the day to a local food pantry. According to their site, “Good bread should not be a luxury reserved for special occasions or dinner parties, it should be part of our daily lives”. We couldn’t agree more.