Shannon Did What / Travel + Lifestyle Blog


Oahu : Malasadas + Shave Ice

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

Let's continue the Oahu Island tour with a food section.  All of the food that Hawaii is famous for is to-die-for.  Seriously, give me a mixed plate with some marinated Kalbi short-ribs, rice, double the mac salad and a side spam musubi and I'm a happy girl.  I could give a list of great places to eat the most savory dishes, but there are far too many to name.  Find a local and ask where they eat, that's how I like to do it.  But no, this post isn't mean to be savory, it is sweet and filled with sugary goodness.  

My two favorite "if you don't go here, you'll regret it" things that are native to the island of Oahu are Malasadas and Shave Ice.  And i say native, not because they only exist here (you can get these anywhere in Hawaii), but because the most famous places to get these items are on Oahu.

Let's start with Malasadas.

The name Leonards is synonymous with the world of Malasadas.  And if it is isn't, it should be.  This is the only place to go for an original Malasada.  Stop in here for the most fresh, moist, sugary piece of pastry you'll ever have in your life.  Similar to the Beignet from New Orleans, but different. No need to even spring for one of the specials or anything jelly-filled. Stick with the original.  They come out hot from the fryer.  You may even need to do the hunched over Guy Fieri eating pose with these.  You know, elbows up, bum out and a clear area below what you are eating to minimize mess.  There will be mess.  It's inevitable with that amount of sugar coated on every inch.  Just be careful to not burn your fingers and mouth from unwillingness to wait for it to cool down.  Trust me, I burned my fingers to get the picture below.  I am already salivating just writing about Malasadas.  And don't be embarrassed to go here more than once during your stay, I sure did.

When it comes to Shave Ice...

A debate comes to mind.  There are two places on the island that claim to have the best Shave Ice.  People choose sides and declare which they feel is the best.  It was so extremely hot during my visit that Shave Ice every day was a must.  This may have been an excuse but does it really matter?  Since I was eating it daily, I had ample chances to determine which side I am on.  The two places in question are Waiola's and Matsumoto's.

Waiola's Shave Ice is shaved so fine that it tastes like you're sticking out your tongue in a snow fall.  It literally just melts in your mouth.  Waiola's has two locations.  I went to both.  No preference really, except one had seating and parking while the other was just street parking.  Both locations are "hole-in-the-wall" types offering that quaint Hawaiian vibe.  You walk up to the small window that is attached to a general store (mostly filled with candy, as if you aren't about to have enough sugar).  It has that mom and pop type feeling and a product that is truly delicious.  

By the way, I fell in love with the tank that I'm wearing in the above photo.  Just looking at it makes me wish I was on vacation right now.  Grab yours from Ily Couture, here.  They have the cutest stuff!


Matsumoto Shave Ice is located on the other side of the island on the North Shore of Oahu.  It's a hard place to miss, since there will most definitely be a line out the door when you drive/walk by.  Located in a little shopping center, the crowd can get large.  Matsumoto's had a little less of that quaint mom and pop vibe.  As you enter the same type of general store as Waiola's (except this one is full of memorabilia), there is a worker standing there to take your order. He/she writes which flavors you'd like and hands you a bowl with those instructions written on the bottom.  It is more like a factory-line process with maybe 5-6 people handling each stage along the way.  The Shave Ice here is more coarse than Waiola's is which you have to chew it a bit after putting a scoop in your mouth.  Still good, but different.  The line moves fast so don't let that deter you.

If you couldn't tell, my winner is undoubtedly Waiola's.  I much prefer a melt in your mouth, snow-like treat than something that is more like coarse, tiny pieces of ice.  The shaved ice flavors are one in the same, so there is really no comparison in that area.  Again, really just a personal preference of textures.  Nonetheless, either will definitely cure you of that sun stroke you got from laying on the beach all day.

I hope this post has made you hungry because it sure has had that effect on me.  


Moral of the story: Go to Hawaii, eat lots of sugar, every day.


Also, if you missed it, check out some great Off the Beaten Path places to go in Oahu, here.


Yours Truly // Shannon

Oahu : Off The Beaten Path

TravelShannon GuerreroComment
Oahu Off the Beaten Path

Hawaii is one of my most favorite places on this Earth.  I've been to the Islands more times than I can count, thinking of it like a second home.  All things considered, most of these visits have been to the Big Island or Maui, as that is where my family chose to vacation growing up.  I hadn't been to Oahu in about 12 years so this trip was going to be different. Going somewhere when you are a child versus when you're an adult is completely a different experience mostly do to the fact that you can actually experience things.  The food, the views, the adventures can all be appreciated that much more.  

After being in Hawaii for a week, I have so many great experiences I would love to share.  I've decided to break it into a few posts starting out with some great places to visit on Oahu that may not be on one's "must see" list, but definitely should be.  You basically can create your own Oahu island tour.  These may be considered off the beaten path and not your typical touristy sights but for me they are a can't miss.


This hike is on the East side of island, also known as the "windy" side.  It is definitely windy which is much needed when you're on this hike.  Look for the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline sign off of Kalanianalole Highway.  There is some parking, but not a ton so get there early! Most of the research I did before this adventure said that the hike is only 1.5 miles total.  I think this is definitely wrong, considering my FitBit said otherwise.  I don't remember the exact distance, but I'd say more like double what my research said.  It is an easy hike on a paved path, but all uphill and in the heat can get a little exhausting.  I did do this in sandals, so not too strenuous, and worth the views you get.

The actual Lighthouse is nestled into the side of the hill.  I'm not sure you can access the path that leads to it, but you can view it from above.  Like the whole hike, there are multiple look outs, positioned at the most scenic areas, that are nicely paved and are a great place to take a rest on the way up.

Once you see the Lighthouse, keep going up!  There are many more lookouts with beautiful views and ends at a spot overlooking the coast and small islands.  The colors here are unbelievable!

SIGHT 2: Valley of the temples

Standing in front of the Byodo-In Temple In the Valley of the Temples transports you to another time and/or another era. You will quickly find yourself forgetting that you are in Hawaii instead of Japan.  The serenity and peace felt here is truly what gives it its appeal.  The temple is tucked away in the lush green Ko'olau mountains with low fog hovering over top making it ever so picturesque. Even driving through the Memorial Park to get to the temple is awe-inspiring with beautiful gravestones and the greenest grass you can imagine.  A quick visit to this site is a great change to the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and Waikiki.


A visit to Waimea Bay is not solely for the views of this beautiful beach on the North Shore of Oahu.  Most people come here because it is one of the best beaches in Oahu.  The reason I went here was solely to jump of the giant rock.  Cliff jumping has quickly become one of my favorite adrenaline-junky sports.  One of the many things I have done lately that has incited a little surprise with my family and friends to say that growingly popular phrase, "Shannon Did What?!" Although, this is not the first cliff I have jumped off of.  The jump is roughly 35-40 feet. The day I went I was told the water level made it about 11 feet deep.  Good thing I'm only 5'1", plenty of space!  Put this on your bucket list if you're not faint of heart.  

When you make it to Oahu, make sure to put these 3 sights high on your list and create your own Oahu island tour.  It's hard to prioritize which places to go to especially when you're on a schedule or have limited time, but I promise these places won't disappoint.  And if you're feeling extra adventurous, jump off that rock at Waimea Bay!  It is such a rush!

Yours Truly // Shannon