All Aboard for a Tasty Cool Down
Summer is a most splendid time of year, filled with fun in the sun and a lightness we can all appreciate. It’s also a time when Hawaii’s blazing-hot sunshine feels stronger than ever, urging us to escape the heat within the cool confines of the nearest shave ice shop.
On those ultra-fiery days, like the ones we’ve experienced of late, I often find myself daydreaming about frozen desserts, as if they were an oasis in the hottest of deserts. With sweat beading down my face, I see a mirage of ice cream, Banan, soft serve and the like tempting me from afar, yet just out of reach.
Here at Dining Out, we decided that it’s time to turn those summertime cravings into reality. Our team has assembled this handy, magical ice cream truck — air-conditioned, of course, and filled with more than just ice cream — that’s ready to transport us all to Oahu’s coolest edible pleasures.
‘Soft-serving’ up the best
In the most desperate moments of summer heat, nothing refreshes like classic sweet treats to the tune of sundaes, milk-shakes and floats.
I knew I would find those nostalgic bites at Shiro’s Saimin Haven, where saimin and local comfort foods aren’t the only old-school favorites bringing joy to multiple generations of island patrons.
When stopping into the Waimalu Shopping Center eatery, I found instant satisfaction in a Hot Fudge Sundae ($5.15), which, contrary to its name, is every bit of cold delight. Feeling as though I’d been transported to a 1950s diner, I dove right into this mix of vanilla soft-serve topped with a quintessential blend of chocolate fudge, whipped cream, nuts and, of course, a cherry on top.
General manager Bryce Fujimoto says this kids-approved dessert is the No. 1 frozen treat on the menu, but soft-serve enthusiasts also love their “fare” share of Flavor Burst ($2.95) — vanilla soft serve that can be combined with up to two additional flavors, including chocolate, strawberry, banana and more.
If you’re looking to keep cool with some local flavors, Fujimoto suggests Mango Cream Sherbet ($2.35), sourced locally from RB’s Ice Cream Desserts. The tropical twist on a Creamsicle goes well with an unlikely topping: soy sauce. I know it may sound strange, but trust me, the shoyu gives this dessert new depth with the sharp contrast of sweet and savory flavors. It also gives the sherbet a pickled-mango quality — yum!
“We recommend you at least try it at least once,” adds Fujimoto.
Shiro’s Saimin Haven
98-020 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea
Keep cool, carry bubble tea
Sometimes an icy-cold beverage is the fastest route to revitalization on a hot summer’s day.
With the bubble tea craze continuing to gain momentum on Oahu, I sought out the most colorful, flavorful and quality-filled versions of this libation for my next stop. Those sips came at Asian Mix, where the same dedication to freshness that goes into its menu of affordable Chinese, Japanese and local-style takeout can be found in the drinks served up at its Asian Mix Tea Time corner located within the shop.
You’ll want to quench your thirst with this array of Taiwanese-style drinks, including milk teas and flavored teas prepared with black or Jasmine green tea. For those who don’t fancy tea, iced milk drinks, smoothies and yogurt drinks also light up the menu.
In what felt like one, continuous gulp, I slurped down every last drop of Peach Green Tea ($4), a best-selling fruity amalgamation of flavored green tea filled with rainbow jellies.
“We brew our tea every four hours, so people can always enjoy fresh tea. We never use tea that has been sitting out all day,” emphasizes Daniel Leung, the eatery’s owner.
Showing its commitment to quality, the shop also makes its popular mango, strawberry and other smoothies with all-natural ingredients. “A lot of places will only use juice, and it’s not always real juice, but we use fresh fruit combined with real-juice concentrate and a fresh squeeze of lime for a different taste,” shares Leung.
When it’s something creamy you crave, try Okinawa Milk Black Tea ($3.75), which, unlike most milk teas, is prepared with a brown-sugar syrup made in-house. “Once people try it, they usually stick to it,” says the owner. Leung adds that tapioca pearls, coffee jellies and other fillings can be added for a small fee, and customizable combinations (such as half boba and half coffee jelly) are available.
1234 South Beretania St., Shop A-1, Honolulu